Anne and Fritz Degginger, Fine Women’s Underwear (./. BHR)

The merchant Fritz Degginger, born in Regensburg in 1884, travelled all through Europe as a commercial agent for the high-end textile market. He was in Milan when he was taken by surprise at the news that the First World War had broken out. He travelled back to Germany through Switzerland and would receive a serious head injury while he was a soldier in Serbia. After the war, Degginger worked mainly in the women’s clothing branch, and in 1932, working alongside his wife Anne, and became independent through his shop at Kurfürstendamm 220 – a fashionable address directly opposite the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

Postcard, Poto of M. Krajewsky, Berlin ca. 1933, Entschädigungsbehörde Berlin, 251682

It was doubtless a coincidence that the photographer Hans Schaller happened to photograph Degginger’s business on the day of the blockade (labelled by the Nazis as a “boycott”) on businesses, doctor surgeries, and law firms regarded as Jewish. His picture shows a woman being turned away by an SA guard with a friendly smile.[1]

More than 20 years later, Fritz Degginger remembered how “3 Nazis in uniform” called on him to close his shop. After consulting the police, Degginger refused, resulting in the men returning to threaten him “with the words, that they would beat me on the head with their clubs until brain splattered the ceiling”.[2] Even though Degginger dated these events vaguely at the time after Hitler seized power, it can be assumed that they refer to the 1st of April 1933. The photo was probably taken after the return of the SA men. It can be seen how the curtains across the door are drawn and the shop within is closed. What is unclear, is whether one of the perpetrators perhaps deliberately posed as a friendly guard for the camera.

As the “situation against the Jews continued to escalate,” Fritz and Anne Degginger decided to specialise exclusively in women’s lingerie and moved a couple of doors down to the corner of Kurfürstendamm/Meineckestraße – an area which at this time would develop into a central location for institutions dealing with the emigration of Jews. The business developed very well. However, on the 10th of November 1938, the business was completely destroyed, and many wares were stolen.[3] Just like the other business owners that had been victims of the attacks, Degginger was forced to pay for the repairs to his shop himself. The Retzlaff glazing company sent him a bill of 485 RM on the 19th of November 1938 for changing the windowpanes. It is common knowledge that Jewish retailers were not allowed to reopen their shops after the pogrom. The remaining stock was sold off without the cooperation of the Deggingers, and the shop was rented out to somebody else.

Bill for the replacement of broken windowpanes, 19th of November 1938, Entschädigungsbehörde Berlin, 251682

In the weeks after the pogrom, Fritz and his son Roy Degginger were forced to go into hiding to avoid being transported to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In May 1939, the family succeeded in fleeing across the green border to Belgium. Finally, after months of waiting, they were able to emigrate from Antwerp to the USA at the end of 1939. Why the company was not entered into the commercial register, despite having a yearly turnover amounting to more than 250,000 RM remains unknown.

Mert Akyuez & Christoph Kreutzmüller – with warm thanks to the family of Anne and Fritz Degginger!


[1] Photo by Hans Schaller, 1st of April 1933, bpk 30005414.

[2] Solemn oath by Fritz Degginger, 22nd of December 1954; CV of ritz Degginger, 1st of December 1954, Resititution Office of Berlin, 251682.

[3] Ibid.


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.

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.

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