07 October 2019

Martin Goldstein & Emil Dochnal - Black Market Passport Business

Preamble to Dochnal, Rosenberg & Goldstein
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.

Introduction
Today, we are looking at three men who apparently facilitated the connection between Algoth Niska and Jürgen Ziebell. These men are: Emil Dochnal, Martin Goldstein and a Jew named Rosenberg. The men only receive brief mentions in Laitinen's thesis but Josef Jakobs gives more information in the MI5 interrogation reports. Finally, Frau Lily Knips, a German Jewess refugee who knew Josef Jakobs and considered purchasing a passport from Ziebell, shared some key information about Martin Goldstein.

Background Information from Laitinen, Jakobs and Knips
Laitinen Thesis: At the end of September 1938, Niska had a bunch of blank passports in his possession and wanted to unload them as quickly as possible. Niska apparently told the Finnish State Police (after his arrest) that he met two men in Berlin, Rabau and Rosenthal, who agreed to deliver two of the forged passports to their own contacts. Laitinen notes that the names Rabau and Rosenthal appear in none of the other archival documents and he wondered if Niska had perhaps altered the names of the men.

Later, when discussing the passports Niska sold to Ziebell, and the arrest of Ziebell's clients, Laitinen notes that Ernst & Clara David's passports were obtained by police when they arrested an unknown Jew named Dochnahl.

MI6 Report: No mention of any of the men.

What Josef Said: In describing the black market passport business, Josef Jakobs made a few comments about Dochnal, Rosenberg and Goldstein.

Josef said that he got to know Martin Goldstein through a Jewish lawyer named Dr. Schwarz of Königstraße 41. Goldstein was a man "in very comfortable circumstances". He had a large textile business and employed over two hundred workers. Josef said that he introduced Ziebell to Goldstein who placed his many connections at Ziebell's disposal, free of cost. Josef stressed that Goldstein was the only one who really worked idealistically for his beliefs and his fellow-race (i.e. the Jews).

Goldstein worked with a man called Emil Dochnal (an Aryan) of Prinz-Regentenstraße 77 who had agents in various countries. Dochnal, in turn, worked with a Jew called Rosenberg (no forename). Through Goldstein and Dochnal, Ziebell was able to put forward naturalisation applications for Cuba as well as visas for South America (primarily Uruguay and Paraguay). Dochnal was apparently friendly with the son of the Uruguayan Consul in Berlin.

Goldstein also facilitated the connection with Niska for Finnish naturalisations. According to Josef, the Finnish agents (Niska and another man) met with Rosenberg who then connected with Dochnal who connected with Ziebell. It seems a rather convoluted arrangement although much of what Josef had to say about the Finnish passports was gleaned after his own arrest and subsequent interrogation and trial.

Josef said that the only time he met Dochnal was after their arrest when the Gestapo confronted the two men with each other. Josef noted that nothing detrimental could be said about Goldstein or Dochnal. According to Josef, he and Martin Goldstein were released from the concentration camp on the same day. Goldstein emigrated to Russia in July 1940.

What Lily Knips said
Lily Knips was questioned by Special Branch and MI5 officers at the end of February 1941 regarding her connections with Josef Jakobs. She told the tale of how he had suggested she purchase a naturalisation through Ziebell. Josef had also introduced her to Martin Goldstein who apparently specialised in getting French passports.

In December 1938, Lily bumped into Josef's wife on the street and heard that he had been arrested by the Gestapo. Lily had not seen him since then but admitted that he did know her address in London - 9 Compayne Gardens.

She then told the officers that, since arriving in England in April 1939, she had received two letters under mysterious circumstances.

The first letter was incorrectly addressed to 29 or 19 Compayne Gardens but had shown up in her postal box. It arrived about two months after the occupation of Denmark (likely summer 1940) and had been postmarked "Nederland" or "Denmark". Lily could not read the signature and said the letter was badly written in German. The writer asked Lily to pay 40,000 Marks to an American bank, to the account of a lady, whose name Lily did not recognize and which she had since forgotten. The writer also asked Lily to go at once to Switzerland to meet them. Lily said she gave the letter back to the postman, saying that it must have been intended for some other person. MI5 later made inquiries at the Postal Office regarding the letter but there is no evidence that it was ever traced.

The second letter arrived just after Christmas 1940 and was correctly address to Lily at 9 Compayne Gardens. The letter was postmarked from Shanghai and was signed by a Frau Goldstein. The writer stated that she had been informed by Herr Jakobs that he had given Lily 40,000 Marks on Frau Goldstein's behalf and that Lily should send that amount to Frau Goldstein's bank in Shanghai. The writer noted that Herr Jakobs had already written to Lily concerning this matter. Lily then recalled the first letter and believed that it may have come from Josef. She had no idea who Frau Goldstein was although it did seem likely that she was the wife of the Herr Goldstein who had been associated with Josef in Berlin. The letter writer had said that Lily had met her husband with Herr Jakobs in Berlin and stated that Jakobs and Goldstein had been released at Easter 1940. Lily destroyed that letter.

Emil Dochnal & Rosenberg
I have found virtually no information on these men. The name Rosenberg is a bit too common to begin speculating on which one might have been involved in the passport business.

As for Emil Dochnal, he appears to have been born 3 May 1901 in Müschenbach, Westerwald, Rhineland-Palatinate (halfway between Bonn and Wetzlar). In the late 1930s, he apparently lived at Motzstraße 78 in Berlin-Wilmersdorf, but I have not been able to confirm that in the Berlin address books. There was an "E. Dochnal" living at Belzigerstraße 27 in Berlin in 1929. And in 1941 and 1943, there was a Frau Testa Dochnal living at Droysenstraße 6 in Berlin-Charlottenburg, but no E. Dochnal. Until further information comes to light... these two men remain quiet dead ends. We have, however, quite a bit more success with Martin Goldstein for one document gave his birth date as 6 July 1904 in Berlin and that is enough...

Parents of Martin Goldstein
Martin Goldstein was born on 6 July 1904 in Berlin to businessman Benno Goldstein and his wife Hulda (née Elend).

Martin’s parents were both Jewish and had been married on 12 September 1899 in Berlin. Martin’s father, Benno, had been born 8 November 1875 in Berlin to Moritz Goldstein and his wife Cecilia Guth, both of whom were still alive in 1899 and living in Berlin when Benno married Hulda. Benno was living at August Strasse 33a and his occupation was “Kaufmann” (businessman). His father, Moritz was a a Handlesmann????.

Martin’s mother, Hulda, had been born 9 February 1874 in Jutroschin (now part of Poland) to Louis Elend and ????? Samuelis, both of whom were still alive in 1899 and living in Jutroschin. Hulda was a Verkäuferin (shop keeper) and living at Reinickendorfer Strasse 8a.

The witnesses at Benno and Hulda’s wedding were 28 year old businessman Carl Goldstein (living at Brunnenstrasse 59) and 29 year old businessman Philip Elend (living at the same address as Hulda and possibly a brother).

Martin's father, Benno, passed away on 26 October 1918 at the age of 42 years. His death was registered on 18 November 1918 in Berlin but he passed away in Rastatt, a town on the current border of France and Germany, just north of Baden-Baden. It would appear that he died at a field hospital (Festungs Lazaratt I) and that he was a Kanonier (gunner) with Flakbatterie 73 (flak battery or anti-aircraft battery). His address in Berlin was Kommandantenstrasse 60 and both of his parents were deceased.

In 1918, Hulda was living at Kommandantenstrasse 60. In 1920, she was at the same address and her occupation was "Blusenkonfektion" - "ready-made blouses". In 1930, Hulda was still living at Kommandantenstrasse 60, but this time she is listed as a "Geschäftsinhaber" - "business owner". There is a second entry in the address book with her name highlighted in bold as if it is a business name. “Hulda Goldstein, Kleider u. Blusen” - "Hulda Goldstein, Dresses & Blouses". The address is Krausenstraße 40. Hulda would have been 56 years old.

A marginal note on Benno and Hulda's marriage registration states that Hulda passed away on 17 August 1939 in Berlin-Wedding. She would have been 65 years old.

Birth of Martin Goldstein
As for Martin, he was born on 6 July 1904 to Benno and Hulda who were living at Wilmersdorfer Strasse 12.

We then lose his trail for many years and pick him up on 21 October 1935, when he married Ruth Edith Küchler in Berlin. Ruth Edith was born in Alzey (Hessen) on 11 August 1913. On 16 July 1937, Martin and Ruth had a daughter, born in Berlin. Martin apparently had a lady's coat and suit factory with a partner which he had to hand over to his partner under the anti-Jewish Nazi regulations. This factory may have been connected with his mother's blouse business.

In 1939, Martin's name appears on a legal document I have for Josef which names the individuals - both scammers and victims - arrested for their involvement in the black market passport business. We know from Josef that Martin was released from the concentration camp at the end of March 1940, but what became of Martin and his family after that?

Escape to Shanghai
There were two key pieces of information which put me on the trail of Martin Goldstein and his family: Josef's statement that Goldstein had escaped to Russia in July 1940 and Lily Knips's revelation of a letter received from Frau Goldstein in Shanghai. As it turns out, Martin Goldstein's daughter is still alive and quite active in the Jewish community. She has given several interviews and even written a chapter for a book about Jewish refugees who escaped to Shanghai. I'm going to give a brief summary of the Goldstein family but those interested in the full story can visit the links below.

In November 1938, Martin Goldstein was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, and subsequently in Mauthausen concentration camp. He was released in late March 1940 and the family escaped Nazi Germany using transit visas issued by Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese vice consul in Kaunas, Lithuania. The family traveled across Russia on the Trans Siberian Railway but, upon arrival in Vladivostok, learned that their visas could not be used for entry to Japan. They were sent on to Shanghai where there was a significant population of Jewish refugees. Shanghai, as it turned out, was an "open" city and one of the few places in the world that accepted Jewish refugees. About 20,000 Jews would escape the Nazis and find refuge in Shanghai, the Paris of the Orient. At the time, Shanghai was under the control of the Japanese, with the exception of several foreign concessions.

In late 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbour, Japan took over control of the foreign concessions and, with Germany's encouragement, corralled all post-1937 stateless Jewish refugees in the Hongkew area of the city. Life in Hongkew was a far cry from that of Berlin with poverty, disease and misery making the lives of the refugees exceedingly difficulty. Martin and his family survived the war and Hongkew, however, and were able to immigrate to the United States. The family set sale on the SS Marine Swallow on 16 January 1948 from Shanghai and arrived in San Francisco on 30 January.

Martin and Ruth settled in California and were naturalised in 1953. Their daughter was naturalised the following year and married in 1956. Ruth passed away in 1996 and Martin passed away in 1999, both in California.

Letters from Shanghai to Lily Knips
The letters Lily Knips received from a Frau Goldstein in Shanghai are a bit of a puzzle. Given the information included in the second letter, it would seem that the writer was indeed the wife of Martin Goldstein. While the evidence is tenuous... I did wonder if the following account from Lily and Josef might have relevance.

In 1938, Josef Jakobs suggested that Lily Knips could move some of her money out of Germany with the help of a Swiss man named Seiler. This man had purchased a Berlin clothing manufacturing business and needed operating expenses, but did not want to liquidate his Swiss capital. Josef suggested that Lily could make her funds available to Seiler who would then transfer an equal amount of funds to the account of Lily's son in England. In this way, Lily would be able to get a significant portion of her funds out of Germany.

Lily met with Josef and Seiler who assured Lily that he had the permission of the Devisenstelle (currency control) to buy Jewish capital. Lily reached an agreement with Seiler and, after opening a joint bank account with him, sold her shares and transferred 30,000 German Marks into the account. At some point, Lily became suspicious of Seiler and spoke with her bank manager who urged her to seek legal advice, which she did. Her lawyer wrote to the Devisenstelle inquiring about Seiler. In the meantime, Lily went on a trip to England to visit her son (early September 1938). While there, she received several phone calls from Josef, urging her to make the funds available to Seiler so the transfer could be completed. Upon her return to Berlin mid-September, Lily learned from her lawyer that Seiler did not have the permission of the Devisenstelle. The lawyer advised Lily to have nothing to do with Seiler and Josef.

Lily confronted Josef about Seiler and he admitted that he had met Seiler while both of them were in a Swiss prison. Seiler had apparently served a two year sentence for fraudulent bankruptcy. Lily retrieved her funds from the joint account and paid Seiler 600 Marks for his troubles.

The data points of interest are the following:
  • Swiss named Seiler who wished to purchase a Berlin clothing manufacturing business
    • Goldstein owned a clothing manufacturing business which he had to give up
    • the first letter writer urged Lily Knips to visit the writer in Switzerland (Seiler was Swiss)
  • Lily was going to exchange 30,000 RM with Seiler
    • the second letter writer from Shanghai - likely Frau Goldstein, wife of Martin Goldstein, former owner of a Berlin textile factory - requested 40,000 RM from Lily
Is it possible that the clothing manufacturing business Seiler had acquired was that of Martin Goldstein? And that Seiler talked a fast story with both Martin and Lily - promising to pay Martin under the table with funds that he would acquire from Lily Knips? And that in the turmoil of arrests in October/November 1940, word of the failed Knips/Seiler deal got lost? Perhaps the Goldstein's somehow believed that Lily Knips had received money from Seiler and that this was somehow owed to them? The monetary amounts do differ, however. It is just perplexing that Frau Goldstein would write to Frau Knips requesting such a large sum of money.

Conclusion
Of the three individuals who ostensibly helped Ziebell acquire forged Finnish passports from Niska, we can really only trace one, Martin Goldstein. The other two, Emil Dochnal and Rosenberg, are a complete mystery. I must admit to being quite relieved to be able to trace Martin Goldstein and his family from Germany, across Russia, into Shanghai and, from there, to America. I doubt I would have been able to trace him without those two bits of information from Josef Jakobs and Lily Knips. They were the clues that I needed.

We are almost at the end of this series on the black market passport business run by Jürgen Ziebell. There is only one more aspect requiring investigation: Irish naturalisations. Josef told the MI5 officers that Ziebell worked with two men in Holland, Roos and Wolpe, who were involved in securing Irish naturalisations for Ziebell's clients. Neither of these two men would survive the war.

Sources
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
Shanghai Remembered - Stories of Jews who Escaped to Shanghai from Nazi Europe - Berl Falbaum (ed) - 2005 - has a chapter by Ingrid Gallin
US Holocaust Memorial Museum - page on German and Jewish refugees in Shanghai
Remember the Holocaust - Ingrid Gallin
Congregation B'nai Israel - CBI Legacies - 37 minute interview with Ingrid Gallin

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