Clara "Cläre" Semmel née Bruck

Pacelliallee 19
Historical name
Stone was laid
24 February 2022
27 December 1879 in Neiße (Schlesien) / Nysa
1933 Schweiz / 1934 Holland / 1939 Chile /1940 USA

Clara (Cläre) Bruck was born on December 27, 1879 in Neisse, Silesia.
In 1901 she married Richard Semmel, who came from Zobten am Berge; both came from Jewish families.

They lived in their property in Berlin-Dahlem until 1933. They initially fled to Switzerland to escape Nazi persecution. Because they were unable to obtain a residence permit there, they fled to Amsterdam in 1934.

In July 1934, Semmels and her trustee sold the villa in Berlin-Dahlem for 170,000 Reichsmarks. In 1928 the unit value (!) of the property was 720,000 marks, in 1935 it was 377,100 Reichsmarks. The market value is therefore likely to have been significantly higher.

In 1939, after paying 20,000 Reichsmarks, Clara Semmel's husband was “waived” the remaining amount of 204,975 Reichsmarks for the Reich Flight Tax.

Shortly before the German invasion in 1940, the Semmel couple left the Netherlands to emigrate to the United States. After a long journey via Chile, they finally reached New York in 1941 and settled there. After his expatriation in May 1942 due to the Eleventh Ordinance to the Reich Citizenship Act, Richard Semmel's assets remaining in Germany were confiscated. His brother Jacob and his wife were killed in Auschwitz.

Clara Semmel died in New York on May 30, 1945, her husband Richard in 1950.

The restitution procedures in Germany were continued for a short time by Richard Semmel's heiress, Ms. Grete Gross. Since she died shortly after Semmel, her daughter Ilse Kaufmann became the beneficiary. However, South Africa had neither the knowledge nor the means to successfully complete the reparation process.