Julius Kahn, 1896-1965

Birth Name: Kahn
First Name: Julius
Date/Place of Birth
: 04 February 1896/Themar, Thüringen
Date/Place of Death
: 1965/Sydney, Australia
Age at Death:
69 years

We know more about Julius Kahn after he left Germany in 1939 than we do about the 43 years he lived in Germany. And what we know about the years in Germany, we have learned from Australian records kept as a result of Julius being one of Dunera Boys, sent to Australia from England as an ‘enemy alien’ in July 1940.

The record for Julius Kahn Australia 1940. Source: NAA: MP1103/2, E39864

What we now know is as follows:
Julius lived in Themar from 1896 until 1911, the end of public school. He trained as a master butcher, like his father, Josef, and it’s possible that he initially worked in the Kahn butcher shops in Themar. It also seems likely that he fought in WWI — he was 18 in 1914 — and a 1939 letter, written by Dr. Ernst Ledermann on behalf of Julius’s younger brother, Adolf, says that all the Kahn brothers fought in WWI.

Sometime in the 1920s, Julius moved to Nürnberg. He married Therese Hutzler, b.1904 in Forth (just north of Nürnberg and they had two daughters, Bella Betty, b. 1928 and Hannelore, b. 1929. Whether or not Julius was arrested in Kristallnacht, we do not yet know, but he was in Germany in November 1938, as he submitted the required name change form (adding the name “Israel”) on December 31, 1938 to the Themar city authorities. He left for England in 1939, while his wife, Therese, and the two daughters remained in Nürnberg.

On May 12, 1940, Julius was arrested in the first major round ups of Categories B & C of the alleged ‘enemy aliens’ of Britain. Interestingly, according to the Australian Military Forces, Report on Internee Julius Kahn, dated 18 September 1940, he was arrested in Kitchener Camp; this suggests that Julius may have already been resident in Kitchener as part of the pre-WWII efforts by Jewish organizations in both England and Germany to bring Jewish refugees to England. Arrested, Julius remained in Kitchener Camp until July when he was crammed on the Dunera.

When the English government recognized its error and began a process of repatriation of the refugees, Julius was not initially eligible; higher on the list were married men whose families were already in England. In March 1942, Julius enlisted in the Australian war effort in the Melbourne area, and in May 1943 he was granted a form of parole. His wife and daughters were trapped in Germany and deported to Izbica in March 1942; when Julius might have learned of their deaths, we do not know. Julius remained in Australia after the war, moving to the Sydney area, where he died in 1965.

The story of Julius Kahn doesn’t necessarily stop here as contact with the Australian historians of the Dunera story may lead us further. But for now, this is as complete a profile as we have of Julius Kahn.