Fur-Confection Loeb & Sutheim (BHR A 44470 / A 94765)

The pelt confection and fur trading business Loeb & Sutheim was entered into the Berlin commercial register in 1916. The company was based in Jerusalemer Straße 63/64, then later in the 1930s, it could be found at Kommandantenstraße 5a, in the immediate vicinity of Dönhoffplatz and the main shopping street of the time, Leipziger Straße

Photo by an unknown Photographer, undated (around 1930), in private ownership of the family.

In 1930, the business partners of this general partnership company were the cousins Josef and Ludwig Loeb from Merxheim. The latter would be badly wounded in the First World War, leading to the amputation of his left arm.

Photo by an unknown photographer, undated (around 1930), in private ownership of the family.

For an almost classic owner portrait, the two bosses pose at a tidy double desk on which two telephones are on display. While Ludwig Loeb looks to the camera, Joseph Loeb studies the industry magazine “Die Pelzkonfektion” (Fur Confection). For another photograph, the two can be seen amongst a workforce of more than 20 employees in a well-stocked warehouse, in which even leopard pelts can be seen.

Photo by an unknown photographer, undated (around 1930), in private ownership of the family.

Like many other companies, Josef and Ludwig Loeb were able to successfully operate their business for a long time in an increasingly hostile environment. Then, in May 1938, the business would be publicly vilified by the vulgar anti-Semitic magazine “Der Stürmer.”[1] Aware that the National Socialist state would eventually heavily engage in a policy of “dispossession” (“Entbesitzung”) which was proceeding at a creeping pace in Berlin, the Loebs decided to sell. Here, as a Dresdner Bank employee noted, they had a plan:

“During today’s visit to the company, Messrs Loeb [the business partners Josef and Ludwig Loeb; annotation by CK] informed us that they intended to aryanise their company. There are 2 longstanding employees available as specialists, one of whom works as a confectioner and the other as a representative, who, in the opinion of Messrs Loeb, certainly possess the skills and knowledge necessary to run such a business. Messrs Loeb then intend to take over the company’s purchases and sales from abroad, so as to guarantee the correct purchase of goods.”[2]

The business was transferred over to the company Kreuzberg & Kreuzberg. While Josef Loeb emigrated to London, Ludwig Loeb and his family fled to the Netherlands, from where many of his family members would be deported and murdered.

For more information visit Berlin Aktuell.

Thanks to the family who helped us with information and photos – and trusted us!

Christoph Kreutzmüller

(translated by Bethan Griffiths)


[1] “Aus der Reichshauptstadt“ [“From the Imperial Capital“], Der Stümer 16/21, May 1938.

[2] Brief der Depositenkasse 35 an die Zentrale der Dresdner Bank [Letter from Depositenkasse 35 to the head office of Dresdner Bank], in: HADB, 29997-2001.BE, Liste A.

From Database to exhibition into the Berlin History App

In 2008 the as yet unfinished database served as a starting point for an exhibition presented in the foyer of the Humboldt University. Made in cooperation with the Aktive Museum Faschismus und Widerstand, Berlin, “Final Sale. The End of Jewish owned businesses in Nazi Berlin” presented the fate 16 all but forgotten enterprises. As the participants of the working group – members of the research team as well as volunteers of the Aktive Museum – all could choose “their” business freely, the scope of businesses was wide; an art school was presented next to garlic product specialist and a Turkish carpet trader. By way of example not only the stages and processes by which Jewish business people had their rights withdrawn and livelihoods destroyed but also the counter-strategies they developed in response were shown.

Foyer of the Humboldt University, Photo by C. Kreutzmüller, 2008

The exhibition was a real success. After the presentation in the Humboldt University, it a was shown in the State Archive (2010) and Chamber of Commerce of Berlin (2013). When presenting the exhibition, both the district museum of Steglitz and of Pankow added more local businesses.

Leo Baeck Insitute, New York, Photo by B. Kubanek, 2010

In 2010 the exhibition was translated and subsequently shown in the Leo Baeck Institut in New York (2010); the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (2012) and in Boston University (2014)

In due time all these businesses were added to the Active Museum’s layer in the Berlin History App. Thus, today, any flaneur or tourist, who has this app installed on his mobile, can stumble across the fate of the Jewish owned businesses and find out more about their fate.

Christoph Kreutzmüller & Marion Neumann

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