The history of the Haas department stores' began in 1869 when the Jewish merchant Hermann Haas opened a small haberdashery at Neustraße 97. At the age of 14, Haas had come to Trier from Ürzig on the Moselle, where he served an apprenticeship at the Josef Marx department stores'. In 1871 he married Berta Levy and they had two sons, Max and Albert. In 1886, the family suffered a blow of fate when the company founder died at the age of 40. The young widow continued the business with Albert, who was only 13 at the time. In 1898, a new building was erected at Fahrstraße 1-2. In 1926, the company expanded to include a branch at Brotstraße 38/39, taking over the Jewish department stores' S. Löwenstein & Co. But the business was still successful.
However, the success of the house called the envious onto the scene, and boycott measures were taken against Jewish business houses in Trier at an early stage, including the Haas department stores'. On 13 May 1933, the two brothers were placed in so-called "protective custody". They were taken to the prison in Windstraße. Jeanne Haas, Max's wife, put an end to her life only a few days later because she could no longer withstand the psychological pressure. The two brothers were released from prison, but Albert died a few months later at only 59. Max and his children, Walter and Ilse, emigrated to Argentina, and Albert's children, Lisbeth and Fritz, went to Palestine. The business houses were "Aryanised" in 1935/36, which means: the Jewish property passed into the hands of so-called "Aryan" owners through boycott and coercive measures. It was Günther Moritz and Alfred Senger who took over the house at Brotstraße 38/39. It existed under the name "Moritz and Senger" until 1995. The business house in Fahrstraße was "Aryanised" by Franz Duhr and renamed "Insel". Duhr was a wine wholesaler and president of the IHK.
After 1945, the descendants successfully obtained restitution proceedings. A chance meeting of Sonia Edna Haas, Fritz's daughter from Israel, and the American filmmaker Juan Mandelbaum, from the Argentinian branch of the Haas family, in 2017 at the Jewish Museum in Berlin, where Edna had handed over her father's documents for the archive, helped to ensure that the history of the Jewish Haas department stores' will not be forgotten.
Author: Jutta Albrecht
Editorial staff: Prof. Dr. Frank G. Hirschmann