Albert Rosenhain, Luxury and Leather Goods (BHR B 24987 (B 54916) and A 81633 (A 87112)

Albert Rosenhain was Berlin’s leading luxury and leather goods store. In addition to the flagship store on Leipziger Straße, at the time Berlin’s main shopping street, Rosenhain – like almost all major retailers – opened a branch on Kurfürstendamm in the 1920s. This store was located at Nr. 232 and was vis-a-vis the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

Entrance to the shop at Kurfürstendamm 232, photograph from the magazine „Sport im Bild” (Sport in Pictures), 24/1930.

Despite its standing, the house was subject to the brutal blockade of commercial enterprises considered Jewish on 1st of April 1933. Against the background of the economic ostracism at home, the company strengthened its export business. In 1933, the second eldest son of the family, Fritz Fürstenberg, opened the Revéillon. Het huis voor Geschenken (Reiwinkel. The House of Gifts) company in Amsterdam’s busy Kalverstraat. Almost at the same time, Fritz Fürstenberg’s six-year younger brother Helmuth also opened a branch in Alexandria.[1]

Parallel to this, the parent company in Berlin was restructured. In the summer of 1935, the old LLC (limited liability company) was converted into an open trading company and at the same time a new LLC was founded to take over the business of the Kurfürstendamm branch. The restructuring process was completed by the foundation of an independent Albert Rosenhain Export LLC. Quite obviously, the family tried to hold its ground in an increasingly hostile environment by doing business abroad and splitting up the business operations.

In September 1937, “Der Stürmer” reported in an absurd photo report on the allegedly untenable hygienic conditions in the company’s canteen.[1] In March 1938, Egon Fürstenberg and his son Paul, who had “always rejected the idea of selling the company,” decided to withdraw from the business.[2] On 5th of October 1938, Albert Rosenhain’s current business was acquired for far less than its value by the newly founded company Reiwinkel. Haus der Geschenke.[3] What happened next was summarised after the war by an involved accounting firm:

“Before the Aryanisation negotiations were initiated, an official audit of the Fürstenberg family businesses was carried out, which – as was often the case at the time with businesses still in Jewish hands – was carried out under the strictest interpretation of the tax law provisions, resulting in unusually high back taxes.”[4]

The ruins of the Rosenhain shop at Kurfürstendamm, photographed by Fritz Fürstenberg, 1947, Jüdisches Museum Berlin, L-2005/30/6030.

Fritz Fürstenberg, who had only narrowly escaped persecution, had himself naturalised in the Netherlands in 1948 and took the lead on behalf of the family in establishing restitution claims in Germany.[5] Apparently, in connection with this, Fürstenberg also visited his hometown of Berlin and photographed the ruins of the family’s business and private houses there. The restitution proceedings ended in a settlement in 1957.[6]

In Amsterdam, the Revéillon company remained, under Fürstenberg’s management, one of the leading houses until the 1960s. The family business tradition also lived on in Alexandria, Cairo, and Tel Aviv through the Rivolie la Maison de Cadeaux companies.

By Christoph Kreutzmüller; with thanks to Ronnie Goltz who provided information and the photograph from 1930!


[1] “Nachrichten aus der Reichshauptstadt“ [“News from the Reich Capital“], Der Stürmer 15/38, September 1937.

[2] Aktennotiz der Reichskreditgesellschaft [Memorandum of the Reich Credit Society], 18th of March 1938, BArch, R. 8136, 3390.

[3] Kaufvertrag [Purchase contract], 5th of October 1938, BArch B, R 8136, 2807.

[4] Brief der Berliner Revisions-AG an das Landgericht [Letter from the Berlin Revisions-AG to the district court], 10th of October 1953, LAB, B Rep. 025-06, 887/50.

[5] Gesetzesvorlage [Bill], 4th of June1948, Staaten Gerneraal, 4th of June 1948.

[6] Brief Hans-Georg Tovote an das Wiedergutmachungsamt [Letter from Hans-Georg Tovote to the compensation office], 5th of January 1956, LAB, B Rep. 025-06, 887/50.



[1] Exposé Reichskreditgesellschaft [Exposé of the Reich Credit Society], 9th of August 1938, BArch, R. 8136, 3390.

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search