Schuhaus Kahn, Brückstra?e
View of Brückstrasse, around 1900. The shop and dwelling house of the Kahn family can be seen at the corner of Lütge Brückstrasse (on the left)

Kahn’s shoe shop

Along with Hellweg, Brückstrasse counted up to the Second World War as the top shopping address in Dortmund. There was a whole succession of shops, and in most cases, the owners lived in the same building, on the floors above the business premises.

Around 1880, businessman Samuel Kahn ordered a four-storey commercial and dwelling house to be built at Brückstrasse No. 52, on the corner of Lütgebrückstrasse. On the ground floor, he kept a shoe shop, while the first floor was an emporium devoted to the sale of menswear; above that was the residence of the owner and his wife, with the top floor, finally, being the home of the owner’s younger brother and his family.

The history through the generations of this family is typical of a financial and professional development that could be observed in many middle-class Jewish families. Moving to the city from the country in the mid-19th century, the first generation worked there as butchers; the second then took advantage of the opportunities offered by the prospering industrial city to build a livelihood in the flourishing world of commerce, while the third pursued an academic education Dr. med. Walter Kahn – a doctor – and Dr. iur. Alfred Kahn – a lawyer – were representatives of the latter. In the Nazi era, they were able to flee with their families to the USA.

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