previous chapter

main page

next chapter

The Jewish Community of Laupheim and its Annihilation

Book Pages  312 - 323

KAHN, Emil, livestock trader,


64 Kapellenstrasse



Translated by: Domenico Aloisio, Lilla Pinter, Marie Gross, Pamela Vasileva, Sheila Strazzeri
Supervisor: Dr. Robynne Flynn-Diez,

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg,
Institut für Übersetzen und Dolmetschen Englischabteilung


Emanuel, better known as Emil Kahn, born June 5, 1879 in Buttenhausen, deceased April 12, 1940 in Laupheim, OO Sara, née Wertheimer, born March 1, 1882 in Kippenheim, deported on November 28, 1941 from Laupheim to Riga,
- [Heinrich, born May 4, 1920 in Laupheim, deceased  May 4, 1920 in Laupheim,]
- Julius, born  July 5, 1921 in Laupheim, deported on November 28, 1941 from Laupheim to Riga.
Sara Kahn’s sister:
Emilie Wertheimer, born May 1, 1879 in Kippenheim, deported November 28, 1941 from Laupheim to Riga.

Emanuel Kahn was born on June 5, 1879 in Buttenhausen as the ninth and last child of butcher Isaac Kahn and his wife Fanny née Bernheimer. He grew up in the Jewish rural community Buttenhausen and attended the local Jewish elementary school.  However, little is known about his further course of life. Emanuel was better known by the name Emil, which he even used for signatures. He is listed under this name in the official records of the Laupheim registry office, which has butcher as his documented profession. According to that, it is likely that he initially learned his father's craft. Later he worked as a cattle dealer.1


There were several Jewish cattle dealers in his birthplace Buttenhausen, such as Max Marx and the Löwenthal brothers whose trade contacts extended to Bavaria and the Rhineland. It is possible that Emil Kahn had already worked for one of the local cattle dealers. They may have even offered the young man some exciting travel activities which led him from the remote rural community Buttenhausen to the Swabian Alps. However, the first evidence of contact between Emil Kahn and cattle dealer Salomon Löwenthal from Buttenhausen was in 1935.2


On August 22, 1904 the 26 year old Emil Kahn married Frida Guggenheim born August 22, 1877 in Laupheim, where they also lived. Frida died within their first year of marriage, on February 8, 1905 due to complications during childbirth. It is assumed that the child also died but there are no records to verify this. Frida was then buried in the Jewish cemetery in Laupheim (plot 21/2). Emil Kahn stayed in Laupheim and married Sara Wertheimer from Kippenheim on September 3, 1906. His second marriage remained childless for 14 years.3 On August 21, 1916 at the age of 37 he was enlisted to serve in the army as a driver for the German Empire in the First World War. On March 1, 1918 he was discharged from military service in Geislingen.

(Photo: K. Neidlinger)


The house at 64 Kapellenstrasse


On June 30, 1917 Emil Kahn bought a house at 64 Kapellenstrasse from Berthold Friedberger. The property was 686 m2 (approx. 7,384 ft.2) and included building no. 64 i.e., a residential house, hop warehouse and farmyard. The photo shows the hop warehouse purchased by Emil Kahn, the last one still existing in Laupheim. The missing framework on the right side indicates that there had originally been a hop kiln. The feeding troughs on the outer sides of the ground floor suggest that it served as a horse stable. A central corridor separated the horses.

The 226 m2 (2,432 ft.2) vegetable garden behind the hop warehouse also passed into his possession. As is still common today, Emil paid the purchase price of 18,500.00 Mark partly through mortgages.


There is a declaration of special interest concerning this that Emil Kahn gave to the land registry on July 22, 1924, saying that he “owes Karl Lämmle, movie producer in New York, a loan in cash of 1,200.00 US Dollar. As of August 1924 an interest of 7 per cent is to be paid biannually on August 1st, and February 1st, beginning on February 1, 1925. The loan is refundable on August 1, 1925 in US American currency.”4


The loan was preceded by previous years of crisis and inflation which had reached their climax in 1923, putting the city of Laupheim and its citizens under serious financial pressure. In 1920 with a capital stock of 100,000.00 Reichsmark, Karl Lämmle had already set the ground for a charity foundation. By 1922 he had collected and donated 400,000.00 Mark. In 1923 he appealed in America for donations of clothes for people in need. In the following year, he funded a public bath in Laupheim that was named after him. Taking these activities into account, it becomes clear why Emil Kahn received a low interest rate.


After 14 years of marriage Emil and Sara Kahn’s son Heinrich was born in this house (see photo) on May 4, 1920. Yet he died on the same day. In the following year on July 5, their son Julius Kahn was born. He stayed closely connected to his parents during his entire life.  


Horse Trading

As can be seen even today, the former hops depot on Kapellenstrasse was converted into stables, in which the cattle for trading was kept. Emil Kahn worked primarily as a horse dealer in Laupheim.


In 1923, the district court announced in the local newspaper Laupheimer Verkündiger that as of May 4, 1923 both horse dealers, Emil Kahn and Max Obernauer, had a general partnership as stockholders. Accordingly, they appeared together in the advertisements of that year. It is unknown how long they operated the horse trade under joint control. In 1929, 17 out of the 24 livestock dealers in Laupheim, including Emil Kahn, were Jewish. Livestock trade in Upper Swabia, in the Swabian Albs and in the Alpine uplands was essentially run by Jewish livestock traders, who conducted business with Catholic farmers and craftsmen. That was a common practice, going back to the middle of the 18th century. Apart from that, Jewish livestock traders were also present on the cattle market of Laupheim and the surrounding area.


During the hyperinflation of 1923, the Kahn and Obernauer company - along with other Christian or Jewish company owners and private persons – made donations for feeding Laupheim’s children. In 1923, thanks to financial, material and food donations, a soup kitchen was opened for 100 children and 94 elderly people, in order to collectively assist those in need.5



Class reunion meeting on August 25, 1929

In Laupheim class reunions have a long tradition uniting coevals and schoolmates from near and far. Even graduates who had migrated to Laupheim attended these events.

The following photo was taken on August 25, 1929 in front of the portal of the old elementary school during the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of people born in 1879. The photo shows 41 men and 33 women. Among them were Emil Kahn (at the very right of the fifth row), Ruth Steiner (2nd row, 6th from the left) and Max Bergmann (4th row, 5th from the left). This is clear evidence of the coexistence of Christians and Jews in Laupheim, which would shatter just a few years later.6



Personal background of the son Julius Kahn


After having spent his early years in his parents’ home, it is assumed that from 1928 to 1932 Julius attended the one room Jewish elementary school (Volksschule) on Radstrasse. Due to the reduced number of Jewish pupils, the school only functioned as a private school at that time. Beside Julius, there were only two other Jewish native Laupheim pupils from his age group, namely Nanny Einstein and Rudolf Einstein.


The photo, taken on February 21, 1929, shows the pupils from the Jewish Volksschule. It shows a group of children in costumes with their teacher, Mr. Einstein, celebrating the Jewish Purim festival. From the left, the photo shows in the first row from the bottom: Rudolf Einstein, Julius Kahn, Kurt Sternschein; in the second row from the bottom: Emil Obernauer, Nanny Einstein, Max Bach, Ruth Friedland, Hugo Obernauer; and in the third row: Gertrud Epstein, Lore Adler, Henny Laupheimer, Marianne Heumann and their teacher Hermann Einstein.7


From 1932 on, together with Rudolf Einstein, Julius Kahn attended the secondary school (Realschule) with a Latin department. On the class photo, Rudolf Einstein is sitting on the left and Julius Kahn on the right end behind the girls. Rudolf Einstein said that they had a good relationship with their Christian classmates and they felt accepted.8


The time after 1933


Due to the change of government in 1933 the relationship of Jewish pupils with some of their teachers and classmates changed.

Rudolf Einstein remembers:

"Then we had a teacher, a very mean guy, a lecturer named Krug . . .  even back then he was quite an anti-Semite. Julius Kahn was a schoolmate. He got beaten all the time and always had swollen hands. . . . Julius was a poor guy, he was paddled with those things on his arse – Beg your pardon - and on his hands which were always swollen." 9


Today, it is difficult to tell whether the paddling had direct anti-Semitic motives since beating was essentially allowed and excessively used by some teachers. It is possible that out of the two Jewish pupils, Julius Kahn became the whipping boy due to his weaker social status. He was regarded as a quiet, somewhat phlegmatic boy who loved to read a lot. Above all from the school library he borrowed Karl May books, of which he knew every volume. Although Julius was not the most athletic boy, he liked to play soccer very much. Jewish students played at a private sports field at a street called New World. This was organized by the youth department of the Reichsbund of Jewish front line veterans, as recalled by Prof. Ernst Bergmann.10

In (the school year) 1935/36 Julius Kahn was assessed by his teachers as follows:

"He is strong but not very skillful in physical education. He lacks diligence, particularly observed in the disorganized way he takes notes. His manners are good, however, he cannot be moved up to the next class. Overall performance insufficient."11 As he did not pass, he was expelled on April 31, 1936. It is unclear whether it was truly poor performance that prevented him from being moved up. Nevertheless, in the assessment it becomes apparent that he was denied having so called “German values”. Julius Kahn had hardly any options for a future career. There were very few apprenticeship positions available to Jewish boys. At the company Menz at Judenberg, a Jewish housing settlement, he started a painter traineeship which he also practiced in the following period in Laupheim.


On September 5, 1939 he was granted a permit from the mayor, which allowed him to be on the street from September 5 to September 16, 1939 unlike other Jewish citizens, in order to do some painting work in the Jewish retirement home.12


Julius Israel Kahn, Laupheim, Kapellenstrasse, is – contrary to the general prohibition – allowed on the streets of the city of Laupheim due to painting work at the Jewish residential home. The permit is valid from September 5th to 16th, 1939.
This document is to be returned on September 16, 1939 to the mayor.
                Laupheim, September 5, 1939
                J.A. …


This permit for Julius Kahn is evidence of the harassment to which the remaining Jewish people from Laupheim were subjected. Without a special permit, they were no longer allowed to move freely in their hometown.

His father, Emil Kahn, worked as a horse and cattle dealer all his life and personally suffered under heavy restrictions, which were imposed by the Nazis on Jewish cattle dealers from 1933 onwards. The massive hate campaign against Jewish businessmen caused verifiable sales slumps in Jewish companies. This also affected Emil Kahn’s trading activities.

In 1933 he had to pay 830.00 Reichsmark (RM) trade tax, whereas in 1934 it was only 50.00 RM. The reduction of 780.00 RM indicates that his business was therefore threated to go bankrupt. In this way, the Nazi policy and propaganda successively deprived him and his family of their livelihood.13

According to an article in the news magazine Ulmer Tagblatt from January 25, 1935, eight Jewish cattle dealers, among them Emil Kahn, were charged by the criminal division of Münster in Westphalia for doing business with Dutch cattle dealers from 1931 to 1933, which involved the import of Dutch horses to Germany. This illustrates the international dimension of business of the Jewish cattle dealers. The article was published with the polemical title “Jewish currency profiteers in court”, as propaganda clearly had the aim to discredit Jewish cattle dealers. With a fine of 3,500 Mark (alternatively two months in jail) Emil Kahn´s penalty fell short of the prosecutor’s claims, which demanded eight months jail time and 20,000.00 Mark.14


Nevertheless, Emil Kahn continued working as a cattle dealer in Laupheim, just like Max Obernauer, Ludwig Stern, Berthold Friedberger, Julius Laupheimer, Max Rieser and Benno Ullmann. This was possible because of longstanding business relationships with local farmers. This is indicated by a letter from the Württembergian administration published in the local newspaper Laupheimer Kurier on February 13, 1936.

“Jewish Cattle Dealers! Ulm, February 6, 1936
When trading, the nuisance still exists that Jewish cattle dealers address German farmers informally with “Du“. With respect to the German peasants’ reputation, I feel obliged to prohibit this nuisance and I will prosecute each and every Jewish cattle dealer by reason of mischievous behavior if they address German farmers or their grown-up children informally.”
(signed) Dreher, Police director and chairman of Ulm's branch of the political police force of Württemberg.15

Due to the local town council’s resolution on April 9, 1937, the Jewish cattle dealers were assigned a separate place at the fairs in Laupheim. On March 12, 1937 the mayor declared that Jewish cattle dealers were no longer allowed on horse markets in Biberach.16 So, it was only a matter of time before this order would be applied to Laupheim, too.

When Emil Kahn sold his house in July 1938 he stated that already for a year he had not been trading horses anymore. He was working as a mediator for Ludwig Stern’s cattle and horse trade. However, he was still listed as the business owner.17


On March 17, 1938 a trade license was issued in his name which granted him the permission for cattle and horse trade for a period of 12 months.

In October 1938 according to the law from July 6, 1938, amending the trade law of the Third Reich (Reich Legal Gazette [Reichsgesetzblatt I], p. 823), he and the above mentioned cattle dealers were deprived of their trade licenses which were to be returned to the district office.

Emil Kahn’s trade license can still be found in the archive of the district office in Biberach. His passport photo (on the left) is from that document.

After that, Jewish cattle dealers were only allowed to buy and sell cattle on the trader’s property, meaning that buying and selling were prohibited on farms. This basically meant the demise of Jewish cattle dealers.18

The Sale of the House


Like most Jewish people, the Kahn family had to sell their home. Due to the restrictions imposed by the Nazis, it was surely difficult for them to earn enough to provide for themselves in the five years preceding the sale of their home. It is likely that Jewish people needed money for their livelihood and at the same time prepared for their emigration. On July 27, 1938 Emil Kahn sold his house for 14,000.00 RM to two horse dealers from Memmingen. In 1946, the city of Laupheim hired an estate agent who estimated the price to be 10,000.00 RM too low. It was contractually guaranteed that until September 1, 1939 the Kahn family had the right to use the flat on the first floor, with its four rooms and one kitchen. In return for the flat they were to pay a rental fee they had yet to agree upon. However, they probably lived there until their death or rather until their deportation in November 1941.19



Kristallnacht November 9/10, 1938 and “protective custody” in the Dachau concentration camp


While the synagogue in Laupheim was on fire early in the morning on November 10, 1938, Emil and Julius Kahn were dragged out of their house and forced to watch their place of worship burn down.

According to eye witnesses, before the Jewish men were brought to the local prison in Laupheim, those taken in custody were harassed by the Nazis who forced them to do various exercises, first at the synagogue and later at the grain market. Emil and Julius Kahn were counted among the 17 Jewish men who were committed to so called “protective custody” and held in the Dachau concentration camp. 

While her husband and son were in custody Sara Kahn remained in Laupheim. As was widely done in most homes of those in custody she had to endure a house search on November 30, 1938.

On December 29, 1938 the then 59 year old Emil Kahn was released. His son Julius, only 17 at the time, was finally set free on January 9, 1939. There are no personal records detailing what they experienced and suffered during their time in Dachau.


Documents preserved in the city archives of Laupheim show that Emil, Sara and Julius Kahn submitted an application for emigration. A letter from October 4, 1938 addressed to the district administrator states: "Julius Kahn intends to immigrate to France by 1939.” The reasons why the family’s attempts for emigration did not succeed can’t be traced back but several aspects such as Emil Kahn’s poor health, the family’s miserable financial situation, emigration barriers in the form of a lack of permits, Visas etc. probably played a role.20 On the "anniversary of Kristallnacht" in 1939, the Laupheim police, supported by SS men and the Reichsarbeitsdienst again arrested and held 13 Jewish men, among them Julius Kahn. He was then released on November 25, 1939.  

His father Emil Kahn, however, was excluded from this process. His age probably hardly played a role since there were some significantly older Jewish men among the imprisoned, namely Edmund Adler, Julius Levy, Louis Löwenthal, Jonas Weil and Louis Stern. Thus, he must have had serious health problems. 21 His death at the age of 62 on April 12, 1940, only five months later, seems to confirm this. Emil Kahn was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Laupheim, plot N 28/9. 22



Emilie Wertheimer


On May 17, 1940 Ernst Moos, a Jewish lawyer from Ulm presented a request to the district office in Biberach concerning Emilie Wertheimer’s wish to move in with her widowed sister Sara Kahn. Despite intensive research, this letter remains the only personal testimony found about Sara Kahn.

“Emilie Wertheimer’s sister Sara Kahn from Laupheim was widowed last month and is suffering from poor health. Other than her only son who is currently working as a painting assistant, she has no relatives to take care of her. In order to have someone look after the ill woman it would be advisable to grant her sister permission to move in with her before Ms Wertheimer´s forthcoming emigration. Ms. Wertheimer can share rooms with Mrs Kahn, she doesn’t need extra living space.”

After the Gestapo had raised no objections the temporary move was approved by the head of the district authority of Biberach. Neither Emilie Wertheimer nor her sister and nephew Julius Kahn could follow her brother and immigrate to the US. Until their deportation in November 1941 they had all lived in their former home at 64 Kapellenstrasse.23



The deportation to Riga on November 28, 1941


Sara and Julius Kahn as well as Emilie Wertheimer were allocated to the first of four deportation trains leaving Laupheim. On November 28, 1941 the Jews were led to the West Railway Station under the pretence of “relocation” to the East. On the photo taken that day at the Laupheim West Railway Station, Julius Kahn can easily be identified since he is the only young man of 20 years.


The two women standing right next to him are presumably his mother and aunt. This is the last documentation of their lives. They were then taken to Killesberg in Stuttgart, where on December 1, a train with 1,013 deported Jews left from Württemberg, arriving in Riga on December 4.24


With that the further fate of Emilie Wertheimer, Sara and Julius Kahn remains uncertain and is not documented but they must have suffered a terrible end.

 Julius Kahn, on the left behind the baggage car.



1. Laupheim registry office. Family register vol. v.

2. Jews in Buttenhausen. Permanent exhibition in the Bernheimer Realschule Buttenhausen. vol. 3.

Publication series city archive Münsingen. Published in Münsingen 1994, p. 40-42. Ulmer Tagblatt (daily newspaper Ulm) from January 25, 1935, p. 5.

3. See note 1.

4. Laupheim land registry Nr.1296.

5. Laupheimer Verkündiger, 14.05.1923, 17.05.1923, 10.06.1923, 01.12.1923, 21.12.1923, 28.01.1924 and 21.03.1924.

6. Josef Braun: Alt-Laupheimer Bilderbogen (Old Laupheim pictorial broadsheet) vol. 2, Laupheim 1988, p.103.

7. Private.


8. Photo: Rudi Klaiber, Laupheim.

9. Interviews by Elisabeth Schick, Laupheim, with Rudolf Einstein, St. Gallen, 08.12.2001 and 16.12.

10. Email from Professor Ernst Bergmann to Dr. Antje Köhler Schmidt from
June 6, 2004.

11. Sigmaringen National Archive Wü 90 3a.

12. Laupheim
city archive.

13. Biberach Tax Office FL 9811-9899, Laupheim city archive.

14. Ulmer Tagblatt (daily newspaper Ulm) from 25.01.1935, p. 5.

15. Biberach district archive F 7613-27.

16. Ibidem.

17. See note 4.


18. Biberach district archive, inventory 034 Az 6104 / bundle no. 3, Laupheim city archive, advise from the Laupheim city council from April 9, 1937.

19. See note, Laupheim city archive.

20. Biberach Tax Office FL 9811-9899, Laupheim city archive.

21. StA Laupheim AR F 7613.


22. Metallurgist, N.: The Jewish cemetery in Laupheim 1998, p. 520.

23. Biberach district archive 034/18.

24. Hecht, Cornelia / Köhler Schmidt, Antje: Die Deportation der Juden aus Laupheim (The Deportation of Jews from Laupheim), 2003.



previous chapter

main page

next chapter