16 October 2019

Herr & Frau Reiwald - Berlin - Black Market Passport Business

Preamble
There are two final key individuals involved in Ziebell's black market passport business in Berlin: Herr & Frau Reiwald. Both individuals were mentioned by Josef Jakobs and Lily Knips, but the details we have on them are very sketchy.

Information from Josef Jakobs & Lily Knips
Josef said that he introduced many rich Jews to Ziebell, one of them being Herr Reiwald who had been a client of Josef's dental practice in the early 1930s. According to Josef, his wife's step-father had told him that Reiwald was interested in leaving Germany and wanted to become Dutch. Elsewhere, Josef said that Reiwald wanted to become French, but that this was found to be impossible and that he then wished to become Cuban. This could have been arranged by Ziebell except for the fact that the whole group was arrested in October 1938. Josef noted that Reiwald only wanted to get Cuban naturalisation and did not need any assistance getting money out of Germany as he had already made arrangements to transfer funds to a brother-in-law in Italy.

Finally, Josef noted that he had been introduced to Lily Knips in May 1938 by a rich Jewish family named Reiwald. Lily confirmed this stating that she had been introduced to Josef by a Jewish lady named Frau Reiwald. This lady told Lily that Josef was a very clever man who could help her in financial matters and in securing a passport to leave Germany.

That isn't a lot to go on - no first names, no birth dates, nothing. All we know is that Herr & Frau Reiwald were rich, Jewish and that the husband had a brother-in-law in Italy.

A Clue from Lily's Address Book
After MI5 questioned Lily at her home, the borrowed her address book to try and trace all of the individuals listed therein. On their transcribed list of entries, there is one relevant entry:
  •  Rewald       (Edg. 3815)
                    70 Mowbray Rd
Next to this entry there is a penciled note by an officer: P.F. 55000. This is likely a reference to MI5's Personal File series. Many of the other entries have N.T. next to them (no trace), but this "Rewald" entry arouse some interest. A note attached to the transcript from Lily's address book states:
Arthur Marcus Israel Rewald and wife Elsa Sara, German Jews
70, Mowbray Road, Edgeware, Middlesex.
Arrived U.K. 28.8.39

Was a well known general exporter in Berlin. In 1937 was forced by the Jewish boycott to sell his business and went to Vienna. In July, 1939, they returned to Germany to clear up certain outstanding business and obtain current passports.

They are supported in this country by Mr. William Sandover, British, senior partner of William Sandover & Co., firm of exporters with whom Rewald formerly did business. In return for this, Rewald writes letters of introduction on behalf of this firm to his connections abroad.

Rewald has a sister Alice living in Portugal. She is married to Martin Rosenberg and their address is Avenida Defensores de Chaves, 139-3, Lisbon-Norte. This brother-in-law asked Rewald to communicate with a German schoolboy, Otto Herschan, now in this country, saying that the latter's father was well and asking for news of the boy and his mother via Rosenberg. It was in this connection that Rewald came to notice.

Nothing recorded to his detriment.
This information is intriguing but does it refer to the Herr & Frau Reiwald known to both Josef and Lily?  On the face of it, it seems unlikely.

The last name is spelled differently: Reiwald vs. Rewald. One would expect the officers of MI5 to ask both Lily and Josef for the correct spelling of the surname. Unlike Wolpe and Roos where there was some doubt as to how the names were spelled, there is no evidence of this with Reiwald.

The couple also seem to have been in Vienna from 1937 to July 1939, and would not have been in Berlin in the spring/summer of 1938 to introduce Lily and Josef to each other.

In addition, if Rewald and Reiwald were identical, one would have expected MI5 to have gone knocking on the door of 70 Mowbray Road with a view to confirming or denying aspects of Josef's story. There is no evidence of such a visit.

On the other hand, the mention of a Rosenberg in connection with Rewald is intriguing as one of the men involved in brokering a connection between Niska and Ziebell was named Herr Rosenberg (no forename). But Rosenberg is quite a common name and again, there is no evidence of these two individuals being one and the same.

In the end, we are left dangling and there is no firm evidence as to who Herr & Frau Reiwald were. There are several possibilities in the Berlin address books, but without something more concrete, their identity will likely remain unknown.

Sources
National Archives - Security Service files on Josef Jakobs - KV 2/25

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