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Textile Agent Felix Halberstadt

A Restituted Book from his Library

On November 27, 2015, representatives of the State and University Library Hamburg transferred a book that was previously owned by Felix Halberstadt on behalf of descendants of surviving family members to the library of the Leo Baeck Institute New York, as part of their Nazi Looted Assets Project.

Felix Halberstadt (1877-1942) was a sales agent for textiles in Hamburg. He lived a religious life and took an active part in various Jewish organizations including the Burial Society of Hamburg. Felix Halberstadt and his second wife Josabeth were deported on December 6, 1941 together with Hamburg’s prominent Rabbi Joseph Carlebach and his family who lived in the same apartment house at Hallerstrasse 76. They were all shot near Riga on March 26, 1942. The Gestapo confiscated his belongings like that of other deported or emigrated Jews. The book that was identified, a German translation of the Pentateuch, was handed to the State and University Library Hamburg by the Gestapo in 1943.

Felix Halberstadt’s son Helmuth Halberstadt (1911-2003) was able to emigrate with his wife Jenny Heckscher (1910-1994) to the United States via London in March 1939. In America, they changed their names to Howard and Jenny Hall. Their estate has been deposited with the Leo Baeck Institute New York as the “Howard and Jenny Hall Collection and includes extensive correspondence between 1939 and 1941 documenting their efforts to bring family members from Germany to the United States. Felix Halberstadt was related to the well-known photographer Max Halberstadt from Hamburg who grandson decided to transfer the book to the Leo Baeck Institute in order to connect it with the family papers.