Rudolf Erwin Cohn was the second son of Benno Cohn and his wife Anna. He became a textile merchant, like his father. In 1923 he married Eva Margarete Brasch with whom he had a daughter, Frieda-Lore. From 1925 the family lived at Vionville Strasse 21 in Steglitz.
Rudolf Cohn left his textile business to his younger brother and became a tax and organization adviser. He gave classes in bookkeeping, became treasurer of the “Jewish children’s aid” and was responsible for the accounts of the B’nai B’Brith home for the elderly.
From 1933, Rudolf Erwin Cohn helped organize the emigration of German Jews, including his younger brother Erich, who went to Ecuador. His daughter Frieda-Lore was able to leave for Palestine in 1938 with the Youth Aliyah organization. Here, she participated in founding the Gesher kibbutz.
In the same year, Rudolf Cohn’s sister Irma moved in with him and his wife in Vionville Strasse. Irma’s three children had also managed to leave the country and eventually arrive in Palestine.
Rudolf and Grete Cohn’s plans to emigrate were hindered by the outbreak of World War II. Apparently they finally received emigration permits and tickets for a crossing to Palestine in 1939 but gave them to a couple from Vienna who could not find any accommodation in Berlin. They hoped to be able to travel with the next ship but this was no longer possible after the war had started. Later, their daughter met the Viennese couple in Israel.
From July 1941, the Cohns lived together with Irma Cohn at Knesebeck Strasse 70/71, a so-called “Jew house”. Rudolf Cohn performed forced labour, at first in the armaments industry and later at the river port Westhafen. His sister Irma was deported to Auschwitz in late 1942.
In the last message Rudolf and Grete Cohn sent to their daughter via the International Red Cross Committee on 4 March 1943, they wrote of their imminent deportation: “We are following Irmi today. Stay calm, even if you don’t hear anything for a long time. You were nothing but joy to us. Trust in God’s will! Until, God willing, we see each other again.”
Rudolf Erwin Cohn and his wife Eva Margarete were deported on 6 March 1943 from the assembly point at Levetzow Strasse to Auschwitz and killed.