Henri and Grete Falkenstein: personal papers

Scope and Content

This collection contains the personal papers of Henri and Grete Falkenstein, a German Jewish couple who emigrated together with their children to the UK in 1937. It includes correspondence and documents for emigration such as tax clearance certificate ('Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung'), Abmeldeschein, contract for the sale of Grete Falkenstein's inherited property, notice of departure, application for a naturalisation certificate; as well as correspondence and papers relating to the restitution claims by the Falkenstein and Sonneborn families.

Also included are a copy of 'Bundesgesetzblatt - Bundesergünzungsgesetz zur Entschädigung für Opfer der nationalsozialistischen Verfolgung' (18 September 1953), 'Dritte Durchführungsverordnung zum Bundesentschädigungsgesetz 1956 - Schaden im beruflichen Fortkommen' by K Friedländer (published by Association of Jewish Refugees in Great Britain, May 1957) (1720/4/24), and 'Die entgültige Regelung der Ansprüche der "Dritten Masse" - Bundesrückerstattungsgesetz' by Erst Schäfer (published by Association of Jewish Refugees in Great Britain, July 1957).

Administrative / Biographical History

Henri Jules Theodore Falkenstein was born in Paris in 1890 to a French mother and German father. The family moved to Hamburg in 1914. Henri Falkenstein married Grete Hannah Sonneborn (born 1899) in 1922. They had two daughters: Beatrice, born 1924, and Anita, born 1927. Grete Sonneborn was a daughter of Jacques Sonneborn, chief executive of mineral oil company Rhenania-Ossag (Royal Dutch Shell Group).

Henri Falkenstein worked in finance and was a self-employed banker between 1925-1937. He was also a member of the managing committee of the Verein für die Interessen der Fondsbörse. He emigrated with his family to the UK in 1937 to enter into partnership with his brother-in-law, Ludwig Karl Sonneborn, to manufacture chemical products. Henri's second brother-in-law, Edgar Paul J Sonneborn, also moved to England with his wife and son Paul to join the company, which traded under Sonneborn & Falkenstein. The grant of residence was only temporary. Henri Falkenstein was interned as a refugee in September 1940 for two months. During the 1940 London Blitz the company head office was moved to Bradford. He unsuccessfully applied for naturalisation in 1942. He settled down in the UK after the end of the Second World War where he died in 1983.


Chronological and by subject

Access Information

See Wiener Library access conditions at: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/usinglibrary/usingthelibrary.aspx

Acquisition Information

Donated by Beatrice Musgrave.



Geographical Names