By David Alexander and Rivka Alexander-Yahich

Although the date of the wedding is unknown, Lea Meschoulam’s first marriage was arranged by her family in Constantinople. She was widowed soon afterwards. Her second marriage – to Josef Jahisch, the man she had always preferred – was probably in 1912, and was certainly not arranged. To avoid scandal and family disapproval, the couple departed for Alexandria, where their son Muis was born on 6 August 1913.

Josef found no work in Alexandria. When they heard from Lea’s brother Isaac that he could find a job with a Greek tobacco company in Berlin, they set off once more. They arrived in the night of 1 January 1914. Fireworks were exploding all around. What kind of town was this, they wondered – a place of constant celebration?

Muis was nearly four months old. It is not known whether Josef found the job he had come for, or how soon the family settled at Ohmstrasse 1. But one thing is certain: they had arrived just in time for the First World War. Within two years, Josef had been given a choice: if you don’t enlist in the Turkish army, we’ll conscript you into ours. He chose the former, and was killed by a British bomb near Istanbul within a few months of the birth of Perla, his third child. His death set a precedent: his firstborn, Muis, would be the only member of his family to die of natural causes.

[photo 1: family gathering. Muis is the young man at right in the front row.] Though Muis remained stateless until he became a Belgian citizen in the 1950s, he had little difficulty in becoming part of the society his parents had brought him to. As a speaker of Ladino – the language of Sephardic Jews – he had to repeat his first year at primary school, but on one memorable occasion soon afterwards he was held up as an example to his classmates. After he and every other child in the class had been beaten for agreeing with the teacher’s statement Der Lehrer lehrt, he suddenly realised an essential distinction: Nein, der Lehrer lernt! The rest of the class was beaten for a second time for being too stupid to understand what the only foreigner in the class had understood.
As a young man, Muis worked with his uncle selling and repairing Persian carpets from a shop in Joachimthalerstrasse. And some years later, in Belgium, his ability to speak like a true Berliner would save his life. So, too, did the fact that the Nazis had no specific orders to arrest stateless Jews born in Egypt.

[Document 1: Sammel Lager Mecheln] Later, Muis inevitably looked back on Berlin with pain, but also with pleasure: it was his town, and had always accepted him. It was not a town of anti-Semites. Anti-Semitism came from outside: “It was Hitler who made me a Jew,” he said. After Kristallnacht, Muis realised he must leave Germany. By then, his mother had long had a new partner, a fellow Turkish Jew, Josef Mentesch, and five new children: Lisa, Rebeka, Rachel, Rosa and Albert. Did they, too, consider leaving? We will never know.

[Photo 2: Josef Mentesch, Lea Meshoulam-Jahisch and four of their five children: Rebeka at back left, Rachel at back right, Rosa at front left, Albert at front] Muis’s attempted departure came in January 1939. But he was betrayed by the Luxembourgeoise border-runner who had made the arrangements, and was arrested at the border station. She had advised him to carry very little money; if he were searched, he might be suspected of smuggling currency. He therefore carried a very small sum – which the Gestapo used to pay the taxi fare to the police cells.

In February or March, he arrived in Dachau. Luckily for him, he remained there only until May. He owed his release to his closest cousin, Rachi Meschoulam, who had been authorised to emigrate to Palestine, but then transferred her authorisation to him. She then left clandestinely from one of the northern ports. Her family laughed as they bade her farewell at the station. “You’re making a fuss about nothing – you’ll be back again before long,” they told her. She never saw them again.

Muis returned to Berlin in June 1939. On 6 June, the British embassy gave him a visa to enter Britain en route for Palestine, and the Belgian embassy granted him a transit visa “sans pouvoir y faire volontairement arrêt” – without the right to remain voluntarily on Belgian soil.

[Doc 2, Fremdenpass. pages 16-17] He left Berlin soon afterwards. Due to a body search on the German side of the border, he missed the connection to the train that would take him to the Channel port. He never got to England, and remained in Belgium for the rest of his life. But what of the family he left behind? While he received a few Postkarte from Berlin – all written by his sisters, as his mother could write no German – these could never reveal the full story.

[Doc 3, Letter from Rebeka Meschoulam, 16 August 1941]

[Doc 4, Letter from Perla Jahisch, 21 October 1941] On 21 October 1941 his sister Perla sent him a new contact address in Berlin. In all likelihood, they never stayed there: three days later, they were deported from Grunewald to the ghetto at Lodz (Litzmannstadt).

Muis received one more card, now lost. It was from his family, who had arrived in Lodz, and said they were well. They were allowed to receive parcels. Muis sent parcels, but never received a reply.

The remaining nine members of his family were murdered at the death camp in Chelmno (Culmhof) on 13 May 1942.

In June 1989, fifty years to the month since his departure from Berlin, Muis returned, hoping to discover where his family had died. He was unsuccessful. Until the end of his life, their fate was unknown to him.

[photo of family in windows, Ohmstrasse 1] For the last time, he also returned to Ohmstrasse – then still in the East, which required him to pass through Checkpoint Charlie. To disguise the fear he felt when confronted once again by police in green uniforms, he blamed his son-in-law for bringing him on a stupid trip which he hadn’t even wanted to make.

The house in Ohmstrasse was still standing, but was difficult to identify. As for Luisenstadt, it had changed almost beyond recognition. But the Jannowitz Brücke was the same as ever, and Muis was cheered to see that people still leaned on its railings, watching the green waters of the Spree flow beneath them, just as they always had.

4 December 2012

In memory of Moucha Yahich
Alexandria 6 August 1913 – Brussels 29 December 2004
and of his family:

Josef Jahisch
who died in Turkey in 1917
and
Lea Jahisch
Josef Mentesch
Ester Jahisch
Perla Jahisch
Lisa Meschoulam
Rebeka Meschoulam
Rachel Meschoulam
Lisa Meschoulam
Rosa Meschoulam
&
Albert Meschoulam
who died at Chelmno on 13 May 1942

Bisher vergriffen, wir bringen`s wieder: "Die Luisenstadt"

300 Seiten Geschichte und Geschichten über einen alten Berliner Stadtteil

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Sa 2·Dez 2017 Führung: "Die Backstube" am Wassertorplatz

Altes Handwerk in der Luisenstadt

Bereits seit 1981 Jahren werden am "Wassertor" nahe des Luisenstädtischen Kanals in handwerklicher Tradition und im Kollektiv Brötchen, Kuchen und jede Menge verschiedener Brotsorten gebacken.
Fast ausschließlich mit frisch gemahlenem Vollkornmehl und mit anderen Zutaten aus ökologischem Anbau, die die Bäckerei direkt von Erzeugern aus dem Berliner Umland bezieht. So können die Preise für ihre erstklassigen Backwaren trotzdem erschwinglich bleiben, worauf das Kollektiv großen Wert legt. Der Verkauf findet direkt in der Backstube statt, es werden aber auch Kitas, Cafés und kleine Bioläden im Kiez beliefert.

Wir besuchen mit Ihnen die schön warme, weihnachtliche Backstube, ein Gründungsmitglied des Kollektivs führt uns herum. Bitte melden Sie sich gleich an ...

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Nov/Dez 2017: ecke köpenicker No. 7/2017 erschienen

Die siebte ecke 2017 informiert aktuell mit Hintergrund-Infos über diese Themen:

· Stadtforum am 20. November 2017
· Parkraumbewirtschaftung ab Frühjahr 2018
· Köllnischer Park wird doch saniert – Fördermittel jetzt freigegeben
· Neulich im Bärenzwinger Vernebelte Melancholie bei sequenziellem Rotieren
· Das böse A-Wort

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Eine neue Straße mündet in die Köpenicker: Der Wilhelmine-Gemberg-Weg

Zwischen den Häusern Köpenicker Str. 48 und 52 gibt es seit Oktober 2017 eine neue Straßenverbindung zum Spreeufer.

Sie verläuft knappe 100 Meter von der Köpenicker Straße zu den Wohngebäuden der Alten Seifenfabrik und der Genossenschaft Spreefeld.

Diese kurze Straße wird nur als Weg bezeichnet und führt zwischen dem Hochtief-Bürogebäude und dem Deutschen Architekturzentrum zur Spreefeld-Areal.

Ihr Name erinnert an die Gründerin der ersten Kinderbewahranstalt 1831 in der Luisenstadt: Wilhelmine-Gemberg-Weg.

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Filmarchiv: "Berlin - Ein Garten. Historisches Grün für alle"

Wer das Engelbecken und das gesamte Gartendenkmal Luisenstädtischer Kanal liebt, der mag auch die zahlreichen weiteren gestalteten Parks und Schmuckplätze Berlins bewundern.

Diese rbb-Dokumentation von Sabine Carbon aus dem Jahr 2011 haben wir für Sie aus unserem Archiv geholt. Der überaus interessante Film führt uns gemeinsam mit Klaus von Krosigk, dem damaligen Gartenbaudirektor Berlins, in einem Bus voll mit Freunden der Gartenbaukunst durch die Stadt zu zahlreichen grünen Welten der Erholung - jede für sich mit einem eigenen ästhetischem Konzept.

Erstaunlich, was in den 90er Jahren möglich war, als Grün-Projekte noch von heute auf morgen umgesetzt werden konnten.

Eingefügt in die Doku sind Szenen aus Interview-Nachdrehs sowie interessantes Archivmaterial. Auch unser Bürgerverein kommt zu Wort.

Sehen Sie sich hier den Film an. Und auch für weitere Informationen bitte ...

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Verkehrskonzept Luisenstadt: "Einbahnstraßen wären doch das Mindeste"

Am 12. Oktober 2017 veranstaltete der Bezirk XHAIN eine Auftaktveranstaltung zu einem neuen "Verkehrskonzept Luisenstadt". Mehrere Mitglieder des Bürgervereins nahmen daran teil. Volker Hobrack berichtet, auch mit eigenen Einschätzungen.

Sehr schön, dass die Luisenstadt auch in Kreuzberg ein Begriff ist. Nicht schön ist, dass die STATTBAU die "Luisenstadt" vordergründig nur für Kreuzberg okkupiert. Zumindest im Einladungsflyer zur genannten Veranstaltung. Erst aus dem Vorspanntext der Einladung ist zu entnehmen, dass ein Verkehrskonzept für das Untersuchungsgebiet Luisenstadt Kreuzberg gemeint ist.

Denn für die nördliche Luisenstadt liegt eine Verkehrsstudie bereits seit 2011 vor, an die sich Kreuzberg hätte anschließen können. Noch dazu mit geringerem Aufwand, weil die Kordonmessungen an den Kontrollpunkten Köpenicker Straße, Adalbertstraße und Heinrich-Heine-Straße ja die Ansatzpunkte für den Durchgangsverkehr Mitte nach Kreuzberg und in umgekehrter Richtung geliefert hatten.

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