A chain of coffeehouses destroyed by the National Socialists: More dishes from the Jewish confectionery Dobrin turned up – Berlin


First one, then two, then three, then … No, this is not about the Christ Child, although what is to be reported about already means a kind of gift giving. A gift that does not undo the crimes that occurred more than 75 years ago, which would be impossible. That is not able to smooth out the scars that have lasted for generations, but is a human gesture that at least symbolically compensates for the loss suffered a little.

Visually, the gift, actually a return, doesn’t look like much: parts of a coffee service, five jugs, three with lids, a milk jug, a tea strainer, everything is not exactly modern in shape, even quite worn. Nothing to do a business with at a flea market, but of inestimable value for the descendants of the previous owner, whose name is engraved on the chinaware: “Conditorei Moritz Dobrin”.

The once flourishing coffeehouse chain of the Jewish owner, who was persecuted by the National Socialists, would almost be forgotten in Berlin, where only two stumbling blocks in front of the villa at 19 Grunewalder Hagenstrasse remind of Moritz Dobrin, who survived the Nazi terror, and his wife Helene, who starved in Theresienstadt.

In the past few years, however, objects from the confectioner’s inventory have appeared again and again and were immediately returned to the descendants of the Berlin pastry chefs living in London by their current owners when they heard their story.

The last service parts that appeared were probably packed for decades and stored unnoticed in the cellar of a house in Birkenwerder. Martin Vater, grandson of the recently deceased owner, discovered the package while clearing out the clutter. Having become aware of the name of the confectionery, he researched the Internet and came across the painter and performance artist Rose Schulze, who lives in Zepernick.

Moritz and Helene Dobrin in front of their former home, Hagenstrasse 19 in Berlin-Grunewald.Thilo Rückeis

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A few months ago – the Tagesspiegel had also reported – while rummaging through old clutter, she came across a coffee pot and cream jug from the Dobrin confectionery – the second such find, after a coffee spoon appeared in 2014 when the two stumbling blocks were laid and the Londoner Branch of the descendants of Dobrin.

The former Moritz Dobrin confectionery on Kurfürstendamm.Photo: private

Rose Schulze referred 34-year-old Martin Vater, a marketing and sales representative in Nassenheide in northern Brandenburg, to the Stolperstein initiative for Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, which had already arranged the return of the first finds. And within a few hours he was in contact with London and knew where the seven dishes should go: back to Dobrin’s descendants.

Duo from Dobrins Café. The Zepernick artist Rose Schulze rediscovered the cream and coffee pot while tidying up.Photo: Rose Schulze

He doesn’t know how coffee pots, pots and sieves got into the possession of his late grandfather. The grandmother is still alive but can no longer provide any information. Father suspects the package was in the basement of the house when his grandfather bought it in the 1970s.

More decisive than the path the dishes may have taken is the destination of their journey, the joy that the news of the new find triggered: “What a truly wonderful email to receive.”

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