S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Hannover Berliners Page keywords = Berliner Hanover Hannover Berlin Emile Joseph Jacob Cora Clara Carbon Microphone Gramophone Gram-O-Phone phonograph transmitter disc disk Gesellschaft RCA Victor Talking Machine Nipper His Master's Voice Seagram Polydor Polygram HMV Hackethal Alcatel kabelmetal

Updated:   08 Mar 2014; 10:00  ET
[Page created 20 Nov 2004; converted 08 Mar 2014
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]

URL:  http://sbiii.com/berlhann.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/berlhann.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's

Hannover Berliners


[NoteHanover is the English spelling of the German city, Hannover.]

Limitations on size of any single page forced me to split off the
Emile Berliner (and family) story and this Hannover history from the Berliner page,
as well as other notable Berliners.

disclaimer - What follows is about a world and culture quite foreign to me,
rather different from that of my distant ancestors in Posen/Postdam/Berlin,
but immensely interesting and informative.
I am NOT related in any way to the persons portrayed herein.
  new (08 Mar 2014)

FURTHER - I am NOT related to Emile Berliner in any way
and do not claim to be!
  rev (08 Mar 2014)


    Berliner Families
    Long Island Berliners
    Author's Lineage
    Berliner Miscellany

Emile Berliner
Additional Berliners of Note


Other German Berliners.
(moved from main Emile Berliner page on 22 Nov 01)
    Emile Berliner, inventor of the carbon microphone,
disc gramophone, and helicopter! (following)
    Nipper, "His Master's Voice", and a surprise!
    Emile's Biography and annotations in my copy
    Milk and Sanitation
                                                                   (Image du Musée des Ondes Emile Berliner à Montréal)

EMILE BERLINER and FAMILY - continued:
    Other German Berliners.

(moved from main Emile Berliner page on 22 Nov 01)
    Museums covering Emile and Henry Berliner, et al., and their Work.
(moved from main Emile Berliner page on 22 Nov 01)
    Emile (and Henry) Berliner Links and References.
    Emile (and Henry) Berliner Bibliography.

Emile and Henry Berliner Aviation Page (this page - 20 Nov 2004)
    Henry Adler Berliner - aviation, helicopter, autogyro,

Berliner-Joyce, Ercoupe/Aircoupe, etc.
    (moved from the main Emile Berliner page on 20 Nov 2004)

    Other German Berliners - following.
    "The Berliners of Hannover 1720 - 1997".

Im Hannover Centrum on 25 Sep 1987, I spotted this street sign:

Berliner Allee Hann Centr 9-87
(25 Sep 1987 photo by and © 1987 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

(Of course, it almost certainly refers to the city, not the family.)

Other German Berliners:

Ca. 1988, I had the pleasure of seeing a notable display about another Berliner (who turns out to have been Emile's brother, Joseph) in the Hanover city museum; he was a leading civic light before WWII and his daughter, Clara, was lost at the Theresienstadt camp in the Holocaust; Cora, the daughter of one of Emile's other brothers, Manfred, who had her Ph.D., was an economics professor and a heroine of the Holocaust, although eventually also lost.  I wrote to the museum for more background.  If you happen to be in Hanover, the museum is the Historischen Museum Am Hohen Ufer (the Historical Museum on the Upper Bank) at Pferdestrasse 6 and well-worth visiting.  Well, they sent me (Jul 1997) a reprint of the cover and pages 76 through 81 of the "100 Jahre Schallplatte - Von Hannover in die Welt, Beiträge und Katalog zur Ausstellung vom 29.September bis 10.Januar 1988 im Historischen Museum am Hohen Ufer, Hannover", covering the Berliner family (remember - it's NOT mine)!  See an educated German- American's translation, below.  It's a world and culture quite foreign to me, rather different from that of my ancestors in Posen/Postdam/Berlin, but immensely interesting and informative.  And, I might add, a lot more informative than my original halting reading auf Deutsch!

100 Jahre Schallplatte

Von Hannover in die Welt

Beiträge und Katalog zur Ausstellung
vom 29.September bis 10.Januar 1988
im Historischen Museum am Hohen Ufer,

Unter Mitarbeit von
Peter Becker, Odette Heyne, Uwe Lencher,
Joachim Popp, Kurt Schäfer, Peter Schulze, Dieter Tasch,
Wilfried Zahn, Franz Rudolf Zankl

Die Berliners -
eine jüdisches Familie in Hannover (1773-1943)

Peter Schulze

all of which is to say:

100 Years of the Phonograph Disk

From Hanover to the World

Description and Catalog of the exhibition
from 29 September to 10 January 1988
in the Historical Museum on the Upper Bank,

Under the Collaboration of
Peter Becker, Odette Heyne, Uwe Lencher,
Joachim Popp, Kurt Schäfer, Peter Schulze, Dieter Tasch,
Wilfried Zahn, Franz Rudolf Zankl

The Berliners -
a Jewish Family in Hanover (1773-1943)

Peter Schulze

The technical discoveries and successful enterprises of the three Berliner brothers, Jacob, Emil, and Joseph, have made their family name known in the history of technology and industry.  Less familiar is the significant position of the Berliner family within the Hannover Jewish community, in the historical evolution of which they were deeply involved for over 170 years; from the time of the pre-enlightenment "Protected-Jew" through the period of legal equality and the possibilty of social elevation to the more recent menace under the antisemitic movement before and after the first World War and the persecution and mass murder of Jews under the rule of national socialism.

Six generations of the Berliner family lived in Hanover.  The founder of this exceptional tradition was Jacob Abraham Joseph, who settled in Hannover-Neustadt (New town) in the early seventies of the 18th century; within the Jewish community he was called "Jokew (Jacob) Berlin", according to his place of birth.  His son Moses took on the name "Berliner" and kept it in 1828, when the Hannover Jews had to choose permanent family names.  Jacob's settling in Hannover was approved in 1776 by the government, and against payment of 20 thalers per year he was granted a letter of protection (Schutzbrief) for 10 years.  It is not known in whose services he had been previously, and how he had made a living for himself and his family - consisting of his wife Dina Friedberg, his daughter Bella Betty, born 1778, his son Moses, born 1786, and initially his mother and a sister.  The "Protected Jews" were guaranteed their life and property and the free exercise of their religion; however they were permitted to make their living only in small retail and money trade.  Under these circumstances Jacob and Dina had a hard life.  Government had to take account of this.  Starting in l787, on account of poverty, the annual protection money was reduced to 10 Reichsthaler; the food money, a kind of communal tax for residents without real estate, was cancelled altogether with the reason that "he was poor and not doing any support" (er treibt keine Nahrung) which means that Jewish inhabitants of Hannover, even in the time of bourgeous revolution, were not admitted to any craft or business guild.  Jacob and Dina lived on their "Jewish Cooked Food Kitchen" which means that they offered a kosher lunch table at their house at Langestrasse 27. They also sold lottery tickets.  Within the Jewish community Jacob was one of the faithful of special, actually ascetic piety, and he as well as his wife were known to be particularly charitable, in spite of their poverty.  Jacob died in 1811, Dina in 1840; they were buried in the old Jewish cemetery of Hanover.  So were their children eventually.

Their son, Moses Berliner, became independent early on and operated a small fabric business at Bergstrasse. He was helped by the temporary freedom of business during the French occupation.  His business flourished; he had to hire employees and, in 1833, he moved into a public house in the house at Lange Strasse 23, the purchase of which was allowed as an exception for a Jew in 1821. There, for 30 years, Moses Berliner conducted his "cut and yard goods business" where he sold English, French and German cloths and fabrics. In 18ll, he married Friederike Enoch from Celle, with whom he had six children.

The respect for this family in the Jewish community must have been unusually high; in 1812, it elected the only-27-year-old Moses Berliner, who, in addition, was the son of someone not born in Hanover, as the president of the prestigious "Charity Association".  As president he held a not merely representative post; he was personally responsible for relief for the poor, help for the sick, care of the dying, and ritual burial of the dead; duties honorable from a jewish-religious point of view.  For 42 years, Moses Berliner, carried by the confidence of the other members, remained in the leadership of the association; he had to leave it for reasons of health in 1854, shortly before his death.

The tradition of responsible work in the service of the Jewish community was continued by Moses Berliner's oldest living son, Samuel, born in 1813, and again later by his children.  Samuel Berliner, who, like his father, was in manufacture, later in linen goods - while his younger brother Meyer was in the business of dyeing and washing of silk and wool fabrics - was elected in 1863 by the congregations of the Hanover area rabbinate district to the office of treasurer of the area rabbinate; he held this office until his death in 1872.  In 1846, after the Berliner family had already been living in Hanover for three generations, he was the first member to be able to acquire Hanover citizenship, first for himself, then also for his wife.  Through the removal of the oppressive Jew protection laws four years previously, the external discrimination against the Jews had been eliminated; trade and business now were open to them.

Availing themselves of the new possibilities and social opportunities became the task of the young, fourth generation of the family.  Samuel Berliner and his wife, Sally Friedmann, had 13 children: Hermann (1848), Jacob(1849), Adolph (1850), Emil (1851), Manfred (1853), Franzisca (1854), Rebecka (1855), Moritz (1856), Johanne (1857, died after a few weeks), Joseph(1858), N.N. (1859, died after a few days), Rahel (1864) and Else (1869).  All the daughters, with the exception of Franziska, married out of town and left Hannover; of the seven sons, four, at any rate, remained in their native town until the ends of their lives.  Jacob and Joseph attended the Hanover Non-Classical High School, Emil the Samson school in Wolfenbuettel, a Jewish boarding school.  After their school time all brothers completed a business or banking apprenticeship, so they possessed good general, as well as business, knowledge; several brothers were called for military service.  Acquiring Hanover citizenship (Adolph in 1873, Jacob 1879, Manfred 1881, Moritz and Joseph 1888) turned out to be useful to the brothers when they finally - each separately - established themselves as businessmen: Jacob with a skin and leather trade, Adolph as broker and banker, Manfred as founder and leader of "Berliner's Higher Business School", and Moritz as auditor and business expert as well as owner of a Jewish store for books and ritual articles.

The first industrial project within the family was founded in 1881 by the youngest brother, Joseph: the "J. Berliner Telephone Factory", which would produce and introduce in Germany the invention of the older brother, Emil, who had succeeded, particularly through the construction of a microphone in 1877, to make a significant contribution to the realization of the telephone.  Emil had left Hanover after his apprenticeship at the Behrend clothing store, and had emigrated to the U.S.A. in May 1870; there he supported himself as traveling salesman, laboratory helper, and bookkeeper.  He studied problems of physics on his own; through the example of the Bell Telephone he was inspired to further developments of his own, which made possible connections over longer distances.  For the application of his patents, he entered into contracts with the Bell Telephone Company.  On Emil's invitation, his brothers Joseph and Jacob Berliner, through several years of study in the Bell laboratories and factories, made the new communications method their own.  The success of the new Hanover enterprise was guaranteed by the interest of government institutions such as the postal service, and the business florished under the technical leadership of Joseph Berliner, while Jacob Berliner, who had become a partner in 1883, functioned as business director.  The 25 year anniversary publication of the Berliner Telephone Factory refers with pride to the continuous favorable development of the enterprise - incorporated since 1898 - and the establishment of branches in Vienna, Berlin, Budapest, London, and Paris.

In the meantime further projects had been begun by the brothers in Hanover.  For the commercial realization of Emil Berliner's second great invention, the disk record and gramophone based on {sic} T. A. Edison's cylinder phonograph for which a patent was applied for in 1887 for America and Germany, the "German Gramophone Company" was established in 1898.  This firm (Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft), under the leadership of Joseph Berliner, accomplished great success in a short time.  So did a third enterprise, the "Hackethal-Draht-Gesellschaft" (Hackethal Wire Company), founded by Emil* Berliner, which took up the production of improved electrical wire and cables in 1900.  The founding of three important Hanover enterprises by Jacob, Emil, and Joseph Berliner emphasizes the position of the family in the economic development of the town.  The unique feature was not only the common endeavors of the brothers through several decades, but also how all three - originally educated for small business - proved themselves as technicians and businessmen simultaneously and grew, with great self-confidence, into the rôle of manufacturers.

{* - see contrary detail below.}

The Berliners became wealthy, but it is questionable how far their success in business went along with social recognition for the manufacturers Jacob and Joseph Berliner, the school director Manfred Berliner, and the book dealer and auditor Moritz Berliner and their families.  The initial resistance which Joseph Berliner encountered for his efforts to obtain the title of Business Alderman brought to light considerable reservations.

The continuing engagement of the Berliners within the Jewish community and its multiple associations has already been indicated.  The first of the brothers to become prominent was Jacob; in 1885 he was elected to the leadership of the charity associaton.  There, following the example of his grandfather, he remained until his death in 1918; from 1900 on, he was responsible for burials in the community.  But he also was a member of the leadership committee, and for many years had partial responsibility for the services.  Moritz, Manfred, and Joseph also became active, but it is noted that they only accepted duties in the various committees at advanced ages, obviously after stabilization of their success in business, partly as retirees.  Manfred Berliner was active principally in education, and over the years was involved in the leadership of the Israelite school of gardening in Ahlem.  Moritz Berliner was active in the Jewish teacher education institute, and was a board member of the Talmud-Torah association.  Joseph Berliner, finally, was called to the boards of various organizations; in 1919 he became a member of the board of the Synagogue parish, and took on its leadership as Board chairman from 1921 until his death in 1938.  The wives of the four brothers also were active in various honorary jobs.

In the transition from the fourth to the fifth generation of the Berliner family in Hanover, a much higher mobility of these descendants becomes evident.  The brothers and sisters living there had a total of 24 children (Jacob 6, Manfred 5, Franziska Friedberg née Berliner 5, Moritz 4, Joseph 4) of whom 4 died in childhood.  Mostly they spent only their childhood and school years in Hanover, and went to college at out- of-town universities; this made for a tendency of dissolution of the tight connection with Hanover.  All ten sons left the town after completion of their education, to settle elsewhere; partly abroad, partly in Berlin.  There were 4 engineers, 4 businessmen, 1 medical doctor, 1 economist.  Four of their sisters also settled there, among them Manfred's daughter Cora, who had completed studies in government and social sciences and at first worked for the Jewish youth movement, and beginning in 1919 at the German Economics Department.

The First World War also separated the families.  All men fought in the German army with the exception of Martin, who was living in England, and was interned for the duration of the war.  Siegfried, who was working in Tokyo as a teacher, volunteered for military service at the then-German colony of Tsingtau.  Jacob's son Semmy and Joseph's only son, Felix, also a volunteer, were both killed in 1915.  It is reported that Felix' sister Clara took care of 40 soldiers by sending several weekly packages to each.  So the family was an exemplar of the patriotism of German Jews during the war years.

The inflationary devaluation of the time after the war destroyed the two charitable foundations founded by Jacob Berliner in 1913; the Anniversary Foundation for the benefit of long-time employees of the telephone factory, and the Family Foundation, for the support of family members, but also for purposes of support in the synagogue parish.  According to Jewish custom, Jacob Berliner had contributed to these foundations one tenth of his fortune.  Inflation also made impossible a foundation planned by Moritz Berliner for the benefit of poor Jewish children.  The Jewish congregation, whose charitable activities had until then been financed essentially from gifts and donations, was confronted with serious difficulties, which were finally resolved by the reform of congregational taxes initiated by Joseph Berliner.  His initiatives as head of the synagogue parish consisted of the construction of a new cemetary in Bothfeld, the enrichment of work for youth by calling a youth rabbi and creating a youth home in the old synagogue building in the Bergstrasse, and finally the creation of a Jewish grade school.  Joseph Berliner wanted to keep the unified congregation of Hanover together; however, in the struggle with the small Zionist group and the "Volkspartei" (populist party), which already in the twenties pleaded for voting rights for the Eastern Jews living in Hanover, he proved to be an inflexible member of the majority party.

In 1933, the members of the large Berliner family still living in Hannover were Sara, widow of Jacob, and Ella, widow of Moritz; both died in 1940; Joseph, his wife Therese, and daughter Clara, as well as several children and grandchildren - a sixth generation - the Friedbergs (descendants of Franziska Berliner) and Goldmanns (descendants of Rahel Berliner).  In the spring of 1933, several family members were forbidden to practice their professions and lost their jobs, among them Cora Berliner, who had been professor of economics in Berlin since 1930.  In view of the national socialist policy against Jews, more and more family members left Germany, and, partly with support from relatives in the USA, emigrated, some to Palestine, some to America.  The last to flee were Paul and Blanka Goldmann, at the end of 1940.

Cora Berliner remained in Berlin, and Clara Berliner in Hannover, after the death of both parents (Therese 1934, Joseph 1938).  Cora had taken on responsible jobs in the Reich's Administration for German Jews, such as help in emigration.  Both cousins became victims of the National Socialist mass murder of the Jews.  Cora was transported to an unknown destination in June 1942, together with other leaders of the Reich's Administration.  Clara was transported on May 16 1943 to the concentration camp at Theresienstadt, where she died nine months later.  The Berliner house in Bruehlstrasse, where she had lived since birth, had, since 1939, become a refuge for Jewish families displaced from their homes.  In mid-1941, there were more than 40 people living there.  At this time there was already talk among National Socialist district leadership, treasury offices, high school, and town administration about expropriation of the house and its eventual use; the emptying of the building and the deportation of the inhabitants had evidently already been determined.  Clara Berliner was forced to sell; the State Finance Administration confiscated the largest part of the sales price.  The remaining part was extorted from her on the date of deportation.  The cold-blooded destruction of the material basis of life was followed by physical annihilation.  The history of the Berliners as a Hanover Jewish family was thereby ended in a cruel way.  The descendants surviving in the emigration did not return to Germany after 1945; they have found new homes in Israel and the USA.


This work should give a first overview into the story of the Hanoverian Berliners.  I thank the family members in Israel and in the USA for their readiness, through oral and written reports, as well as through documents of the research into the story of their forbears, to help me.  Archival sources were dug out of city archives (Permanent Antiquities Department, Antiquity Register, and Main Registry, as well as Address Books and Synagogue Registers) and in the Lower Saxony Main State Archive of Hanover (Permanent Civil Chair).  As to literature, the best excerpts are from: Selig Gronemann, Genealogical Studies of the old Hanover Jewish Families, Berlin 1913, S. 148f.; Helmut Zimmermann, The Berliner Family, in: Life and Fate.  On the Beginnings of the Synagogue in Hanover, Hanover 1963, S. 88ff.; Esriel Hildesheimer, Cora Berliner. Her Life and Work, in: LBI (Leo-Baeck-Institute) Bulletin 67 (1984), S. 41ff.

Tombs of the Berliner family in Hanover are found in the old Jewish cemetary on the Oberstrasse (graves of Jacob and Dina Berliner as well as of Bella Betty, Moses and Friederike Berliner) and in the Jewish cemetary on the Strangriede (graves of Samuel and Sally Berliner, Jacob and Sara Berliner, Manfred and Hanna Berliner, Moritz and Ella Berliner, Joseph and Therese Berliner and others), where the family tomb stands.

(end of text)

An elderly Nürnbergerin friend, highly-educated, translated the document in its entirety; this is a high-quality translation and I have colloquialised it only slightly.  I hope it is of interest.

I wish to express my deep appreciation to the Historischen Museum Am Hohen Ufer for all their help and support.

In addition, a German correspondent, a Hannover journalist, Goetz Bucholz, added some more background on the Berliners:

Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft joined forces with Polydor to form the present (depending on Seagrams?) PolyGram.

Emile and his brother Joseph founded the Telephon-Fabrik J. Berliner (J. Berliner Telephone Factory), the first of its kind in Europe, in 1881.

Then they founded DGG in Hannover in 1898.

Next, Joseph* and his brother Jacob* and "telegraph-director" Louis Hackethal (born in Duderstadt near Hannover) founded the Hackethal-Draht-Gesellschaft m.b.H. (Hackethal Wire Co., Ltd.) in 1900.  Hackethal had developed the world's first durable insulation for electric wires; that factory still exists, under the well-known name kabelmetal.  Per Herr Bucholz, the old "kabelmetal" is now part of "KM Europe Metal AG", headquartered in Osnabrück (Lower Saxony), producing copper items.  The cable activities of KM, including the old "Hackethal-Draht-Fabrik" in Hanover, were separated from KM some years ago as "kabelmetal electro" and later sold to Alcatel.  Today, three firms reside in the old Hanover-factory: "Alcatel Kabel AG & Co.", "Alcatel Kabelmetal" and "kabelmetal electro GmbH" [apparently all are now (Jul 98) up for sale - sic semper gloria mundi!].

* - This last story, with Joseph and Jacob joining with Louis Hackethal
      conflicts with the Museum's version above.

The Berliners of Hannover 1720 - 1997

Philipp Goldmann (the grandson of Rahel Berliner, Emile's youngest sister) privately published "The Berliners of Hannover 1720 - 1997" in 1997 (LoC 96 78708).

He can be reached at 9 Island Avenue, Suite #2014, Miami, FL  33139

305-674-8367, FAX 305-534-3513, e-mail fips@icanect.net
  [* - In full:  "The Origin and History of the Branches of the Berliners of Hannover 1720 - 1997"]
    (one copy is in the "Emile Berliner Room" at the Smithonian Institution in Washington, D.C.)

disclaimer - What precedes is about a world and culture quite foreign to me,
rather different from that of my distant ancestors in Posen/Postdam/Berlin,
but immensely interesting and informative.
I am NOT related in any way to the persons portrayed herein.

FURTHER - I am NOT related to Emile Berliner in any way
and do not claim to be!

You might wish to visit my other Berliner pages noted on the INDEX, above.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

U.S.Flag U.S.Flag


THUMBS UP!  -  Support your local police, fire, and emergency personnel!

Contact S. Berliner, III

(Junk and unsigned e-mail and blind telephone messages will NOT be answered)

prevpage.gif    frstpage.gif    nextpage.gif
of this series of Berliner pages.

© Copyright S. Berliner, III - 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2014  - all rights reserved.

Return to Top of Page