Louis Georg Hagen - Client of Ziebell's Black Market Passport Business
Another blog in my series focused on the black market passport business run by Jürgen Ziebell in Berlin during the Second World War. I highly recommended that you read my earlier blog for an overview of the sale of black market passports to Berlin Jews, as related by Josef Jakobs and Frau Lily Knips. Another key blog reviews the characters involved in the business which had several strands including Finnish and Irish passports. I am currently writing a blog series about the Jews who purchased forged Finnish passports via the Finnish smuggler, Algoth Niska. It was only in late September 1938 that Niska apparently made a deal whereby Ziebell purchased a batch of forged Finnish passports for his Jewish clients. As it turns out, Niska was selling forged passports to unsuspecting Jews all through July and August 1938 telling them that he was an official of the Finnish government or a Finnish policeman or... He was none of those things and you can read more about Niska in an earlier blog.
A key source for these stories is the 2009 Finnish thesis by Jussi Samuli Laitinen which I roughly translated with the help of Google Translate. It provides names and birth dates of Niska's clients which has been invaluable in tracing these individuals with certainty. Another key document was the MI6 report on Niska's activities, contained within one of the Security Service files on Josef Jakobs. These documents and a variety of genealogical sites form the backbone of the stories...
Individuals with a birth date are generally traceable, but not always. Part of the problem lies in the limits of genealogical resources which are rich for the UK, USA and, to some extent, Germany and Austria, but less so for other countries. For example, there isn't much online genealogical information for France, Switzerland, Palestine, Cuba, the Balkans or the Nordic countries. If Jewish refugees took any of these paths to freedom... they don't leave much of a trace. In many instances, no news is actually good news.
I am going to begin each individual story with the information from the Laitinen thesis and the MI6 report, as these provide a factual leaping off point.
Today, we are looking at two of Jürgen Ziebell's clients who purchased forged Finnish passports from him in late September or early October: Louis Georg Hagen and his wife Viktoria Gertrude Hagen. In the case of the Hagen's, we also have some supplementary information from Josef Jakobs who had met Louis Georg Hagen.
Laitinen Thesis, MI6 Report and Josef Jakobs
Laitinen Thesis: In late September 1938, Algoth Niska was trying to offload the last passports he had in his possession. After selling a couple of passports to the Falkenburgs, Niska met Dr. Jürgen Ziebell, a Berlin lawyer. Ziebell told Niska that he had several customers who wanted to buy Finnish passports. Ziebell then provided Niska with the personal details and photographs of the customers and paid Niska the agreed price. Niska made the fake passports, handed them over to Ziebell who, in turn, passed them on to his customers, for a profit of course. According to Laitinen, Niska forged at least eight passports for Ziebell. Niska was paid somewhere between 6,000 and 7,000 German Marks for each passport.
One of the eight passports went to Dorothea Schachtel whose story we have already uncovered. Of the seven remaining individuals, Laitinen states that none of them escaped from Germany. In the fall of 1938, likely after the Ziebell ring had been busted in mid October, all seven were arrested by the Gestapo. Two of those individuals were Louis Georg and Viktoria Gertrude Hagen. One Finnish document notes that on 28 October, 1938, the Gestapo sent Louis Hagen's false passports to the Finnish State Police for further investigation. Laitinen seems quite pessimistic on the fate of the Hagens but... we have a bit more information yet to come.
MI6 Report: Simply lists their names Louis Georg Hagen and his wife Victoria Gertrude Hagen.
What Josef Said: Josef Jakobs was interrogated about his involvement in Ziebell's black market passport ring. After MI5 received the report on Niska, and the list of passport clients, from MI6, they questioned Josef about the individuals. He didn't know many of them but the name Louis Georg Hagen rang a bell.
In an interrogation report dated 5 June 1941, Josef said that Louis Hagen had been imprisoned by the Gestapo for four months (October 1938 to March 1939), whilst Josef was also under arrest. They were held in the same prison in Berlin and Josef had only ever met Hagen in prison. After Hagen was released in March 1939, Josef never saw him again. Hagen never spoke to Josef about his wife.
|Louis Georg Hagen - born 1888|
(from the video on Raubkunst
on this German media site)
According to Josef, Louis Hagen was:
Age: about 50 [Hagen was born 1888 which would have made him 50 years old in late 1938]
Hair: black [later described as dark brown by Hagen himself]
Nose: slightly bent and pointed
Eyes: Dark [later described as brown by Hagen himself]
Josef said that Hagen was married with three children (two sons and one daughter). Josef did not know how old they were but believed that one was in England and the other two were in America.
In a follow-up interrogation the following day (6 June 1941), Josef said that Louis Hagen had a large private business in Berlin. He had a brother-in-law called David, who was now in England. David was very rich and had also ordered a Finnish passport from Ziebell, for which he was prepared to pay 5000 RM. In the end, David had left the country on a German passport accompanied by his wife.
Laitinen, MI6 and Josef have provided a fair bit of information and, as it turns out, Louis Georg and his family cut a fairly wide swath through history, leaving quite a few traces and markers.
Levy to Hagen
The story begins with the patriarch of the clan, Carl Levy who, at some point in his life, changed his last name to Hagen. Carl Levy was born 28 June 1856 in Köln (Cologne) and came from a banking family. In 1882, Carl Levy married Katharina Philippi (born 1864) in Berlin and the couple had four children:
- Margarete (Grete) - 1884-1968 - married Franz John Wiesner
- Hermann Hagen - 1884-1942 - died in Sachsenhausen
- Louis Georg Hagen - born 1888
- Clara Hagen - 1891-1977 - married Ernst David (we'll come to them in a later post)
|Villa Carlshagen in Potsdam, Berlin|
In 1905, Carl took the surname Hagen which was the maiden name of his brother Louis's wife. All of his children, who were born with the surname Levy, had their surnames legally changed to Hagen.
Carl operated the Berlin branch of the family banking business and then later founded his own banking house: Hagen & Co. in the Charlottenstraße in Berlin. The bank specialized in industrial financing and counted the Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) amongst its clients.
|Hagen Family tomb in Berlin|
graves of Katharina (Philippi) Hagen & Carl (Levy) Hagen
as well as their son Karl Victor Hagen
(from SteelToys site - opens as a pdf)
Carl died on 30 January 1938 at the age of 81 years. A few weeks previous, on 1 January 1938, the bank Hagen & Co. had been liquidated under the anti-Jewish laws of the Nazis. Their villa in Berlin-Tiergarten was also sold in 1938, bought by the Berliner Kindl Brauerei AG. The Villa Carlshagen in Potsdam was sold to the City of Potsdam.
Marriage and Children
Louis Georg Hagen was born Louis Georg Levy on 26 October 1888 in Berlin. A marginal note dated 8 July 1905 changes his surname to Hagen.
On 5 February 1912, Louis married Viktoria Gertrude Loewÿ in Berlin-Charlottenburg. Louis was resident at the Hagen family residence at Derfflingerstraße 12 in Berlin-Tiergarten while Viktoria was living at Kurfürstendamm 224, likely with her parents, businessman Leopold Loewÿ and Carolina (Lina) Lissa.
Louis and Viktoria had five children:
- Karl Victor Hagen - born 4 October 1912
- Katharina Nina Herta Hagen - born 14 or 15 June 1914
- Louis Edmund Hagen - born 30 May 1916
- Hans Peter Hagen - born 6 August 1918
- Caroline Victoria Carla Hagen - born 22 April 1922
In 1934, one of Louis and Viktoria's sons, Louis Edmund (known as Budi to friends and family), sent a postcard to his sister on which he had written an anti-Nazi joke: "Toilettenpapier ist jetzt verboten. Nun gibt es mehr Braunhemden" (Toilet paper is now forbidden. We now have more Brown Shirts [reference to the Nazi SA]). The Nazis didn't have much of a sense of humour and Louis Edmund, age 15, was arrested and imprisoned in the Schloss Lichtenburg concentration camp. His father appealed for help to the father of one of Budi's school friends. The father was a high-ranking Nazi, and Louis Edmund was released after four months. In 1936, Louis Edmund emigrated to England, joining his youngest sister, Caroline. Their three siblings would ultimately join them in escaping Nazi Germany, settling in America before the outbreak of the war. Their parents would cut their escape rather fine.
Escape to America
As we know from the Niska story, Louis Georg and Viktoria purchased forged Finnish passports from Ziebell in late September/early October 1938. They were arrested, along with many others, that same month. Louis Georg was imprisoned from October 1938 to March 1939, but then released.
Somehow, Louis and Viktoria made their way to Japan, likely via the trans-Siberian railway. On 30 October 1940, Louis and Viktoria boarded the SS Tatuta Maru in Yokohama Japan. They were stateless, formerly of Berlin, Germany and had been granted US visas on 28 October 1940 in Yokohama. Their contact in Germany was Margarete Wiesner (Louis's sister) living in Hamburg. They planned to move to New York where they had a son, Karl Victor Hagen, living at 14 East 58th Street. Louis had previously visited the US in 1911. Louis and Viktoria arrived in San Francisco on 13 November 1940.
The following year, Louis registered for the US draft. At the time he was living at 119 East 89th Street in New York. His family contact was his son-in-law, Dr. Max Jacobson (Katharina Nina's husband). Louis was self-employed and also resident at 1325 Madison Avenue, New York.
On 16 April 1941, both Victoria and Louis completed applications for naturalisastion. He was unemployed. Of their four children: Karl Victor Hagen and Katherina (Nina) Jacobson both lived in New York while Hans Peter Hagen lived in Los Angeles. Their other two children, Caroline Hagen and Louis Edmund Hagen, both lived in England. All five had been born in Germany.
Victoria passed away in 1962, likely in New York. Louis Georg Hagen passed away on 26 June 1977 in München according to a marginal note on his birth registration.
|Louis (Budi) Edmund Hagen|
(from Pegasus site)
|Karl Victor Hagen|
(from Spirit of Freedom site)
Katharina Nina Herta Hagen - emigrated to the USA in mid 1937 via France. She married Dr. Max Jacobson in 1941 and lived in New York. Nina passed away in 1964 and is buried in Flushing, NY.
Hans Peter Hagen - emigrated to the USA in 1938. He registered for the US draft in 1940 in Los Angeles and was naturalized in Texas in 1943. He is hard to trace but appears to have had three children and may have moved back to Berlin.
Caroline Victoria Carla Hagen - apparently went to the UK before her brother Louis Edmund, so 1936ish. Beyond that, I haven't been able to trace her all that well. In 1943 she went to the United States from the UK. She was naturalised in the US in 1949. In 1950, she went to Le Havre from the US. Her intended length of stay in Europe in 1950 was "indefinite". She sailed from Le Havre to the US in 1953. She made another trip in 1959 arriving back in the US on a flight from Paris in August. Her place of residence was New York. She may have passed away in 1964.
In some of the links listed under Sources (below), a Dr. Louis Hagen, grandson of Louis Georg Hagen, is interviewed regarding his family's art pieces which were acquired by the Nazis. Out of idle curiosity, I started trying to figure out his parentage. Was he perhaps a child of Hans Peter Hagen?
|Die Zitronenscheibchen by Jacob Ochtervelt|
- Charles P. Hagen - born 22 June 1956 in Orléans, France - (no further info found)
- Louis Hagen - born 15 May 1958 in Orléans, France
The three were traveling to 188 Sullivan Street in New York which was also the permanent address used by Caroline Victoria Hagen in 1953 and 1959. All three (Candida and the two children) were citizens of the United States. Candida had been naturalised in New York in 1957 and... that's it. Nothing else found on Candida.
Louis's CV states that in 1977 (he would have been 19 years old), he was working as a trainee at a German bank in München. All of his subsequent work experience is in Germany. The year 1977 was also the same year that his grandfather, Louis Georg Hagen, passed away in München.
One other piece of information is a very brief obituary for Catharina Nina (née Hagen) Jacobson who passed away in 1964. Her obit states:
Nina Jacobson, devoted wife of Dr. Max Jacobson, loving mother of Jill Jacobson, loving dau of Louis Hagen, dear sister of Carla, Louis, Peter, Anne, Candida and Yvonne.Let's dissect this a bit. Nina was the sister of:
- Carla - likely her sister Caroline Victoria Carla Hagen
- Louis - likely her brother Louis (Budi) Edmund Hagen
- Peter - likely her brother Hans Peter Hagen
- Anne - possibly her brother Louis Edmund's wife - Anne Mie
- Candida - possibly the wife of Hans Peter
- Yvonne - likely Yvonne Forrest, widow of Karl Victor Hagen
Louis Georg Hagen and his wife Viktoria Gertrud must have been quite desperate to purchase forged Finnish passports from Ziebell. Like many, they probably thought that the documents were legitimate but were swept up by the Gestapo when the Ziebell passport ring was busted in mid-October 1938. Algoth Niska's forged passports were useless to them and actually got them into trouble with the Gestapo.
Luckily, Louis and his wife somehow managed to escape Germany in 1940 via the Trans-Siberian Railway to Japan. From there, they somehow managed to make it to the United States, likely helped by the fact that they had several children living there.
As for Louis Georg Hagen's siblings... as noted above, Hermann Hagen died in Sachsenhausen in 1942. Margarete Hagen managed to escape Nazi Germany and passed away in 1968. As for Clara Hagen, she married Ernst David and... they will be the topic of the next blog post.
Jussi Samuli Laitinen; Huijari vai pyhimys? Algoth Niskan osallisuus juutalaisten salakuljettamiseen Keski-Euroopassa vuoden 1938 aikana; Joensuun yliopisto; 2009 [Jussi Samuli Laitinen; Crook or saint? Participation of Algoth Niska in smuggling Jews in Central Europe during 1938; University of Joensuu; 2009]
Algoth Niska & J. Jerry Danielsson - Over Green Borders (1995) - English translation of Yli vihreän rajan published in 1953.
National Archives, Kew - Security Service files on Josef Jakobs - KV 2/24, 2/25, 2/26, 2/27
Ancestry - genealogical information
Geni.com - genealogical information
German Media site - 2014 01 16 - (in German) has an article/video about Raubkunst (Stolen Art) including in interview with a grandson of Louis Georg Hagen. Rather disturbing story about how German art museums are not thoroughly researching the history and provenance of art pieces, some of which were stolen from Jews.
AP Archive site - 2014 02 14 - (in English) has a video clip (with transcript) about the Raubkunst and the Hagen family
CodArt Site - 2014 08 05 - results of the investigation into a painting claimed by the Hagen family.
Pegasus Archive - bio of Louis Edmund Hagen and his part in the Battle of Arnhem
Wikipedia article on Louis Edmund Hagen
The Guardian - Obituary of Louis Edmund Hagen
Facebook - intro to republished book of Louis Edmund Hagen - Ein Volk Ein Reich
The History Press - Ein Volk Ein Reich - Nine Lives under the Nazis - by Louis Edmund Hagen
US Military Vehicle Club site - (opes as a pdf) - in German - has an article about the crash of the C47 aircraft on 8 July 1948 carrying Karl Victor Hagen
Steel Toys site - opens as a pdf - memorial for the crash the C47 that killed Karl Victor Hagen - in English but poorly translated from German - article seems to get Karl Victor's father and grandfather mixed up, so taken with a grain of salt.
Spirit of Freedom site - has an overview of the Berlin Airlift and pictures of those who died including Karl Victor Hagen
Wikipedia article on Max Jacobson (husband of Katharina Nina Hagen) - quite a character
Brief bio of Louis Hagen (a grandson of Louis Georg Hagen) - he is a financier in München
CV of Louis Hagen (grandson of Louis Georg Hagen)