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Sigwart Cahnmann

Sophie-Stehle-Str. 12

Rheinbischofsheim, Kr. Kehl
Date of death:
Place of death:
Victim group:
Als Jüdinnen und Juden Verfolgte
Erinnerungszeichen (Stele)

Sigwart Cahnmann was born on February 9, 1872 in Rheinbischofsheim, Baden. Throughout his life he remained close to his younger sister Clementine. His grandfather Moses was still a simple hawker. Sigwart Cahnmann was the first of his family to attend high school and went on to complete training as a draper. In October 1901 he married Hedwig Schülein, who was born in Munich on July 22, 1882. Well read, she was from an upper-class family, some forefathers acting as so-called court Jews in Munich as early as the eighteenth century. As her son Werner would later write, her heroes were Moses Mendelssohn, Baruch de Spinoza, and Immanuel Kant. After marrying, Sigwart Cahnmann became part owner of the Isaria chemical factory. The company was so successful that in 1913 the family was able to purchase a 14-room villa in Sophie-Stehle-Straße 12. Sigwart Cahnmann served as infantryman in the First World War. In the Weimar Republic he was politically active for the left-liberal Deutsche Demokratische Partei (German Democratic Party) and also served as president of the B’nai B’rith lodge in Munich.
In the end, the dream of equal status for Jews remained a tragic illusion. After the National Socialists came to power, Isaria was “aryanized” and then, in 1938, the Cahnmanns were forced to sell their villa in Sophie-Stehle-Straße cheaply to the German Armed Forces. Hedwig and Sigwart Cahnmann had three daughters and three sons, all of whom were able to emigrate abroad, to the USA, Great Britain, and Israel. Werner Cahnmann was syndic for the Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens (Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith) in Bavaria. He was able to save important documents of the Jewish Community. In contrast to their children, Hedwig and Sigwart Cahnmann were unable to leave Germany in time. Sigwart Cahnmann died of stomach cancer on January 13, 1942. Three months later, Hedwig Cahnmann was deported to Piaski in occupied Poland and murdered there. The exact details of her fate are unknown. (text Daniel Ammann, editor C. Fritsche, translation Paul Bowman)

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