Ernst Reizenstein

Ex libris of Ernst Reizenstein

The hop merchant and later private owner Ernst Reizenstein was born in Mühlhausen on June 27, 1866. He was married to Margarete "Grete" Reizenstein (1876-1935), née Hesselberger. Their daughter Luzie (Lucie, Lucy) Elisabeth was born in Nuremberg on July 1, 1897. The family lived intermittently in Behringersdorf near Nuremberg from 1895 to 1942. During the November pogroms of 1938, Ernst Reizenstein and his daughter were forced to leave their villa in Laufer Straße in Behringersdorf. Luzie Reizenstein divorced after a short marriage and moved back into her parents' house. The family was dispossessed. They then lived with Ernst's brother Fritz at Zum Brühl 9 in Behringersdorf. On July 6, 1942, father and daughter had to report to the Jewish nursing home (in German called "Lazarus und Bertha Schwarz'sche Altersversorgungsanstalt") at Johannisstraße 17, one of three collection points for Nuremberg Jews before their deportation. After Reizenstein's death, his daughter Lucie lived in the Jewish old people's home in Johannisstrasse until her deportation in September 1942.

Together with his brother Paul, Ernst Reizenstein ran the Hop merchant Ernst Reizenstein at Marienplatz 9 in Behringersdorf. The hop merchant's head office was at Marienplatz 11 and the company belonged to Reizenstein's relatives, the merchant and Royal Swedish Vice-Consul Max Leopold Reizenstein (1898-1973). The Swedish and French consulates were housed in the same building at Marienplatz 11.

One day before his deportation, Ernst Reizenstein took his own life at the age of 77 in the Jewish hospital in Fürth on July 6, 1942. Grete Reizenstein had already died in 1935. His daughter Lucie was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp on September 10, 1942. She was released through the help of the International Red Cross and reached Switzerland on February 5, 1945. She survived the Shoah and emigrated to the USA, where she died childless in Chicago in 1956.

The Reizenstein family was one of the city's respected long-established Jewish families. Among them were academics and businessmen. Ernst and Max Leopold Reizenstein were also the particular focus of Julius Streicher (1885-1946). Streicher published defamatory slanderous writings about the Reizenstein family in the Franconian daily newspaper Fränkische Tageszeitung and the anti-Semitic smear magazine Der Stürmer.

The ex libris was designed by the Nuremberg artist Otto Wirsching (1889-1919). Wirsching was married to one of Reizenstein's cousins. As an artist, Otto Wirsching was primarily known for his woodcuts. The ex libris was created around 1910. It shows strong historical and Art Nouveau elements. The Nuremberg lyricist and playwright Hans Sachs (1494-1576) can be seen against the backdrop of Nuremberg Castle - view from the Tiergärtnertor side. The Noris identifies him as an archetypal Nuremberger, the lyre as a poet. However, the lyre is also a symbol of the biblical King David, who is also known as a poet and as the author of the Psalms. An image of King David with a lyre in his hand can also be found on Nuremberg's so called Schönen Brunnen (eng. Beautiful Fountain).  A further link between the bookplate and the fountain on Nuremberg's main market square can be seen in the typography. Otto Wirsching based the font of the bookmark on the lettering of the Schönen Brunnen. Ernst Reizenstein felt a strong connection to the city, which was expressed in his ex libris.

The ex libris comes from the ex libris collection of the BStB, which had been compiled by a bookbinder since around the early 1980s and was handed over to the Provenance Research Department of the ZLB in the 2010s. In addition to the bookplate, the Zentral- und Landesbibliothek's collection also contains 16 books that could be verifiably attributed to Ernst Reizenstein. Each of these books contains the handwritten number of "Salvage Office 15", the former library of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) at Eisenacher Straße 11-13 in Berlin-Schöneberg. It can be assumed that the bookplate also comes from a book that was in the RSHA at a time unknown to us.

Additional information

The restituted objects at