The beginning of the end of German Jewry

1933

< 31 MARCH 1933
1 APRIL 1933 >

Saturday
1 April 1933

Boycotting the Bamberger & Hertz store

Munich, Kaufingerstrasse 22. Four members of the SA (Storm Troopers) are posting leaflets on the window of Bamberger & Hertz, a well-known shop for men’s and boy’s clothing. The leaflets warn the population not to patronize Jewish businesses. A crowd has gathered around the men and the only woman visible in the photo is clearly delighted. This was just one of thousands of public boycotts of Jewish businesses that took place nationwide on 1 April.

The Munich branch of Bamberger & Hertz, which opened in 1914, was the latest addition to the company’s chain, which included stores in Frankfurt, Saarbrücken, Stuttgart, Cologne and Leipzig. Bamberger & Hertz was owned by Siegfried Bamberger (1885–1976), one of the five brothers to take over and expand the business that their father had founded in Worms in 1876.

After the April Boycott sales declined at all the stores. The Saarbrücken branch closed in 1934 and a buyer was found for the Frankfurt store in 1935. The branches in Cologne, Stuttgart and Leipzig were forcibly sold or dissolved in 1938. In October of the same year Siegfried Bamberger managed to sell the Munich business to his trusted long-time employee Johann Hirmer. Although the transaction aroused the Nazis’ suspicions, it was carried out within the bounds of the law.

Siegfried Bamberger was the only one of the five brothers to survive the Nazi period and after the war Johann Hirmer offered to return the store to him. Since Bamberger did not wish to return to Munich, the two men agreed on a settlement and remained close friends in the ensuing years. The Hirmer men’s shop is still accommodated in the former Bamberger & Hertz building, now at Kaufingerstrasse 28.

Aubrey Pomerance

Categorie(s): boycott | merchants | Munich
The SA boycotts the Bamberger & Hertz store, Munich, 1 April 1933
Gift of Henry J. Bamberger

“The friendly gentleman”

Bamberger & Hertz used a wide variety of materials to promote its product line. They were designed for all the stores by Henry Ehlers (1897–1988), the in-house graphic designer at the Munich branch. Ehlers also created the company’s leitmotif and logo, the somewhat mysterious “friendly gentleman” dressed in a hat and long coat. The company’s boy’s magazine, launched in 1931, was named after him. The individual issues, which were given away, did not contain any advertisements but featured stories, articles, games, puzzles, craft activities, drawings and letters to the editor. The “reliable magazine for the Bamberger & Hertz boys” was discontinued after the April Boycott.

Cover of the boys’ magazine The Friendly Gentleman, vol. 2, no. 4, February/March 1933
Gift of Henry J. Bamberger 
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