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Fabrik Neumann

Gubener Straße 9, Hofbereich der Norddeutschen Bettfedernfabrik Sigfried Neumann, um 1925 ©Stadtarchiv

Bettfedernfabrik Siegfried Neumann, nach der Umgestaltung, 2022

One place to find evidence of Jewish commerce during the interwar period is the North-German Bedding Factory of Siegfried Neumann located at Gubener Strasse 9. Originally outside the southern gates of the medieval city, in the 19th century the Gubener Vorstadt developed into an area marked by its villas and factories.

The Factory until 1945

The building bearing the faded inscription “Norddeutsche Bettfedernfabrik Siegfried Neumann”, now located in the courtyard of a residential building, was home to several different production facilities since its construction in the second half of the 18th century. It was initially built as a malting plant and brewery. Here in the 1920s, Jewish entrepreneur Siegfried Neumann began processing raw feathers into bedding which he sold throughout the German Reich.

At the time, Siegfried Neumann was one of the most successful Jewish businessmen in Frankfurt (Oder). Together with his wife Frieda they had three children. Although they were of Jewish heritage, they did not practice their faith. Frieda and Siegfried Neumann rather saw themselves as German citizens of Jewish denomination. Their children were also raised as such. The family members regarded themselves as German patriots. During the First World War, Siegfried was decorated with the Iron Cross First Class.

One of the last Jewish factories in Frankfurt (Oder) the bed feather factory was seized during November Pogrom on 9 November 1938. Siegfried Neumann was taken away to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. After his release he returned a broken man and died shortly thereafter due to complications from a surgery.

Post 1945 use

After the Second World War, the Publicly Owned Enterprise (VEB) Bärensiegel moved into the factory. Up until the 1990s spirits instead of bedding were produced in the building. The VEB Bärensiegel’s only advertisement was a small logo on the gate and thus the inscription for Siegfried Neumann’s bedding factory is still legible on the factory wall.

Today the old factory site is called Ferdinandshöfe. The building complex sat empty for 25 years, until negotiations to find a new owner began in 2015. Two years later the city of Frankfurt (Oder) and an investor from Berlin reached an agreement to renovate the complex. Since 2020, the old factory complex has been home to university students.

Dorothee Ahlers and the Editors