The Jewish Museum Kaliningrad and Jews in East Prussia undertook an excursion to possible traces of Jews in Darkehmen. Local expert Andre from the company Velosplav for Eco-Tourism was able to support us and open many doors.

Darkehmen was called Angerapp in 1938-1946 and is now Ozjersk in the very south of Kaliningrad Oblast (Russian Federation) – a small rural town that always had a small group of Jews in it, even shortly after it was founded quite late. We are still looking for the cemetery and the possible address of a prayer room, but we were able to identify two textile stores belonging to Jewish families.

The family’s two daughters, Hella Grunwald and Käthe Cohn, née Rothstein, emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine.

Erich Sommerfeld was born in Ortelsburg (now Szczytno, Poland) and graduated from a tailoring academy in Berlin before opening a clothing store in Darkehmen. He was also the chairman of the Jewish community for a long time. At the end of the 1930s, he fled to Königsberg. From there, he and his wife Nanny were taken on the deportation train to Maly Trostinez near Minsk in June 1942 and murdered.

In the local museum collection, we came across clothes hangers with the advertising labels of the two fashion houses Isidor Rothstein and Erich Sommerfeld.