Many significant events occurred in Germany on the 9th of November, also known as the “Schicksaltag” (also known as the Date of Fate). On this day, Kaiser Wilhelm was dethroned in 1918 when Hitler began his infamous and unsuccessful Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, and 1989 the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. It was also the day in November, which was also the date for the Pogrom that took place in 1938, which is also called ‘Kristallnacht’ and”The Night of Broken Glass.
On the day of this event, Nazis of the SA, the SS, The Hitler Youth, and German civilians conducted a massacre against Jews in Germany. They attacked hospitals, homes, schools, synagogues, and other people throughout the country, destroying or damaging the property of 7,000 Jewish businesses. There were 3000 Jewish men detained and sent to concentration camps, over 100 being killed. It was a brutal and bloody prelude to the heinous crimes and the killing of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.
In November 1938, a house in the southwest corner of Rosenthaler Platz was ‘transferred to Aryan possession’ by the Jewish owners. This building is currently the home of The Circus Hotel. Since 1896, it has belonged to the Fabisch family, well-known throughout our neighborhood and the urban area of Berlin for their clothing shops. They enjoyed such fame that they even used it as an ideal backdrop for a scene from one of the very significant German novels in the 20th century. — Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin:
After a few days, it’s gotten warmer; Franz has hocked his coat and put on warm underclothing that Lina could find. He stands before Fabisch and Co. on Rosenthaler Platz, gentlemen’s outfitters. Quality work and low prices are the hallmarks of our business. Franz sells tie holders…
Phillip Fabisch was born in 1839 in Wreschen (today, Wrzesnia, Poland) and moved to the Prussian capital during the second quarter of the late 19th century to create his fortune. He established his first clothing shop in Rosenthaler Strasse 2 in 1871. Then, 15 years later, it was added to Rosenthaler Strasse 1, a more prominent position that looks at the square. Just a little further along the road, his family operated a shop for hats; there was another location in the city where the Fabisch family owned a wholesale and export business, a women’s coat manufacturing facility, and two stores in the outlying area of Schoenberg.
While Phillip Fabisch was relatively well-known for his accomplishments, he was a millionaire by the end of the 20th century, and little is understood about his personal life. He was a father to four children (one died during childbirth) and a prominent participant in the Posener’s Organisation ( Verein of Posener), An organization for those from the area of Posen. Phillip was also a part of and helped support the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies ( Hochschule fur die Wissenschaft des Judentums) located in Berlin, where numerous critical Jewish students were educated, studied, and researched.
Phillip Fabisch died in 1917 and was buried at The Jewish graveyard in Weissensee, where his grave is still buried until the present day. After the passing of his father, a set of heirs took care of his property and businesses over the next two decades, specifically his three remaining children, Margerete, Hulda, and Max, and the husband of Margerete, Max Cohn. The clothing store in Rosenthaler Platz continued to carry the Fabisch name.
After the transfer of property in November 1938, when Jewish-owned businesses were ruined and destroyed during the Pogrom or being subjected to transfers of property, The Phillip Fabisch GmbH was liquidated on the 5th of April 1939, the Nazi oppression and the ever-increasing persecutors ruined and destroyed the Fabisch family. Margarete, Hulda, and Max, the three remaining owners of the firm, were sent to the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp in 1942 following years of oppression and harassment in their hometown of Berlin.
The Nazis murdered Phillip Fabisch’s children in Theresienstadt. Nearly all his grandchildren were able to escape and migrate towards America. United States and survived the Holocaust. One grandchild who immigrated from France in 1936 was probably sent to Auschwitz, where he was executed.
During the years following the Second World War, the Fabisch building was used as a government-owned clothing store. After its fall, the Berlin Wall was used by many people renting it out until it was turned over to The Circus Hotel in 2008. The first thing we took on with the opening of The Circus Hotel was to study the building’s history and discover ways to present the story of the Fabisch family and those who were before us.
For those employed at The Circus, like many Berliners, our city’s history is not just a glimpse of the past but also teachings for our future. We are located at Rosenthaler Strasse 1 and welcome our guests from around the globe. We have a deep reverence for The Fabisch family and their accomplishments. We also remember their tragic fate. A memorial plaque is located dedicated to The Fabisch family at the exterior of the building of The Circus Hotel. Inside the basement, you can see an exhibit, which includes photographs and other objects that will help us continue to share the tale.