Thursday, August 12, 2010

Katz Street

Katz Street

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Katz Street or Lebuh Katz is between Jalan CY Choy(Bridge Street) and Jalan Gurdwara(Brick Kiln Road). It was named after the importing agents, Katz Brothers, established in 1864 or it may be named after its founder, Hermann Katz. The Chinese called it lak-tiau-lor(6th Street) from the Prangin Ditch or Prangin Canal.
The area was a working class neighborhood; there was no German community in the area. Katz Brothers did not operate in the area. The street however, was named after Katz just merely for remembrance.

German Community in early Penang
Penang had been attracting German traders from Germany and Swiss. They formed an early German community in Penang, even have their own club. Some of the famous at Weld Quay waterfront in early Penang were Schmidt, Kustermann & Co, Behn Meyer & Co; Co, Schiffmann, Heer & Co, Behr & Co etc. The earliest German in Penang was Paul Kellner, a police magistrate who was appointed in November 1805. but he resigned in August 1806 due to charge of bribery and wrongful punuishment against him. He left Penang in disgrace. In 1808, another German, a mariner arrived in Penang and settled as resident. Among the famous German were Rev Johann Georg Bausum or John George Bausum , he was a missionary who was involved in educatiuon in the Penang island and Province Wellesley. He come in 1837. Captain George Felix Gottlieb, his German name was Felix Henri Gottlieb, the first habour master of Penang in 1830s. Gottlieb Road was named after him. Katz is also the early German family in Penang.

The surname of Katz
Katz is a common German surname. It is also one of the oldest and most common Ashkenazi Jewish surnames. Germans with the last name Katz may originate in the Rhine River region of Germany, where the Katz Castle is located. (The name of the castle does not derive from Katze, cat, but from Katzenelnbogen, going back to Latin Cattimelibocus, consisting of the ancient Germanic tribal name of the Chatti and Melibokus.). As a Jewish surname, Katz is an abbreviation formed from the Hebrew initials of the term Kohen Tzedeq (כּ״ץ), meaning "holy priest." It has been used since the seventeenth century, or perhaps somewhat earlier, as an epithet of the descendants of Aaron. The collocation is most likely derived from Melchizedek ("king of righteousness"), who is called the priest ("kohen") of the most high God (Genesis xiv. 18), or perhaps from Psalm cxxxii. 9: Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness ("tzedeq"). The use of the abbreviated and Germanicized "Katz" likely coincided with the imposition of German names on Jews in Germany in the 18th or 19th centuries(source: wikipedia). From the information provided, Katz family is German Jewish family. It was reported that THE OLDEST SURNAME IN WORLD IS KATZ (INITIALS OF THE TWO WORDS KOHEN TSEDEK). EVERY KATZ IS A PRIEST DESCENDING IN AN UNBROKEN LINE FROM AARON THE BROTHER OF MOSES 1300 B.C. BOOK 1(

German Jews in Frankfurt am maine
After the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), Germany began to modernize and throw off its feudal remnants, as intellectual and cultural life flourished. Prussia grew in power, and consolidation reduced the number of separate states to 39. These states were enrolled in an Austrian-led German Confederation. Nationalist sentiment led to the unsuccessful 1848 March Revolution. Unification was achieved (excluding Austria) with the formation of the German Empire in 1871 under the leadership of Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. The Reichstag, or elected parliament, had only a limited role in the imperial government, which was dominated by Prussian Junkers and the aristocracy. Unification was followed by an industrial revolution. By 1900, Germany's economy was by far the largest in Europe (and second only to the U.S. in the world). The nation engaged in colonialism in Africa and the Pacific, and engaged in a naval race with Britain. In alliance with the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires it fought the First World War against Russia in the East, and the British, Canadians, French and Americans (after 1916) in the West. Defeated, Germany was humiliated at Paris in 1919 and forced to pay reparations over many decades that would repay the entire cost of the war borne by the Allies. It lost its overseas colonies and areas that had been seized from Poland and France in previous centuries. The Empire was ended and the aristocracy lost power

The incorporation of Frankfurt in Napoleon's Confederation of the Rhine (1806) and the constitution of the grand duchy of Frankfurt (1810) gradually changed the status of the Frankfurt Jews, bringing them nearer emancipation. In 1811 the ghetto(Ghetto was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live) was finally abolished, and a declaration of equal rights for all citizens expressly included the Jews, a capital payment of 440,000 florins having been made by the community. However, the reaction following Napoleon's downfall brought bitter disappointment. The senate of the newly constituted Free City tried to abolish Jewish emancipation and thwarted the efforts made by a community delegation to the Congress of*Vienna. After prolonged negotiations, marked by the "*Hep-Hep" anti-Jewish disorders in 1819, the senate finally promulgated an enactment granting equality to the Jews in all civil matters, although reinstating many of the old discriminatory laws (1824). The composition and activities of the community board remained subject to supervision and confirmation by the senate.

History of Germany & Frankfurt am maine
Frankfurt am Main commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany. After Napoleon's final defeat and abdication, the Congress of Vienna (1812–1815, redrawing the map of Europe) dissolved the grand-duchy, and Frankfurt entered the newly founded German Confederation (till 1866) as a free city, becoming the seat of its Bundestag, the confederal parliament where the nominally presiding Habsburg Emperor of Austria was represented by an Austrian "presidential envoy". The Frankfurt Parliament was at St. Paul's Church in 1848

After the ill-fated revolution of 1848, Frankfurt was the seat of the first democratically elected German parliament, the Frankfurt Parliament, which met in the Frankfurter Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church) and was opened on 18 May 1848. The institution failed in 1849 when the Prussian king declared that he would not accept "a crown from the gutter". In the year of its existence, the assembly developed a common constitution for a unified Germany, with the Prussian king as its monarch.

Frankfurt lost its independence after the Austro-Prussian War as Prussia in 1866 annexed several smaller states, among them the free city of Frankfurt. The Prussian administration incorporated Frankfurt into its province of Hesse-Nassau. The formerly independent towns of Bornheim and Bockenheim were incorporated in 1890.

Kartz Brothers加兹兄弟公司(1864- 1928)

KATZ BROTHERS LTD. The firm was co-founded in Singapore in 1864-5 by Hermann Katz, a naturalized Englishman. Their company, Katz Brothers Ltd was active in all of SE Asia, large and influential. It had its own ships, both passenger and freight. manufacturers of metal wire, agent for steamer, insurance, pepper trade etc

1864 - Sole Proprietorship
Herman Katz, found Kartz Brothers in 1864 in Penang, come to Singapore in 1865 to set up Katz Brothers, cannot be a limited company?. Note: Indian Companies Act only introduced in 1866, which introduced limited liability Companies to Strait Settlement Singapore and Penang.

Established Kartz Brothers as partnership in Singapore(pg 95, Singapore Directory 1877)

1873 Partnership
Katz Brothers, established in 1873

The Dutch colonial government declared war on Aceh (at the northern tip of the island of Sumatra) on 26 March 1873. Katz brothers secured a supplies contract to Dutch army for 3 years. They chartered vessels from Khoo Tiang Poh for the purpose. As the local traders were embargo from the Achehnese pepper port, Katz Brothers had the control over the supplies of peppers from Acheh. The company based in Singapore become prosper and opened branches in Penang, Sumatra, London and Frankfurt.

It was reported in the Singapore Directory, Strait Settlement 1877, that Katz Brothers, Katz H, was reported as warehouseman,located at Osborne Villa, Singapore(pg 11). In Penang, Katz H, was reported as shopkeeper, located at Northam Road, Penang(pg 24). Another E Kartz was a Chinese interpreter in Lieut- Governor office, he may related to Karz Brothers Ltd.

Pg 95, however reported Katz Brother in Singapore had 2 partners, H Katz and A Katz. Located at Raffles Place, branch in Penang.

Pg 101, however reported Katz Brothers in Penang was a trader, the partners are Hermann Katz, Aaron Katz,Aususte Huttenbach; located at 18, Beach Street, Penang. Branch office, Katz Brothers, Singapore(source: The Singapore directory for the Straits Settlements 1877 pg 101). This evidence proved that Katz was a Penang based firm, not Singapore based firm, as far as Katz Brothers, partnership was concerned.

The partners in 1880 were Herman Katz in Frankfurt am maine, August Huttenbach in Penang, Max Behr in Singapore; Meyer Behr, Joseph Heim, Heinrich Huttenbach as Assistants.
Herman Katz had lived almost entirely in Europe since 1880, only occasionally come to the Strait Settlement. It was the the general rule of the European merchants that the senior partner will be in Europe, and junior partner in Singapore. For Katz Brothers, Hermann Katz was at Frankfurt am maine, Germany. But this pratice allow the junior partner or assistants to branch out on their own. For Katz Brothers, the founding partner Aususte Huttenbach branch out on his own, Meyer Behr was an ex-partner of Katz Bros

The Straits Times, 8 May 1880, Page 4 an advertisement dated 15-3-1880 on received of Martini Rifle. Katz Brothers, still mentioned as a partnership.

The Straits Times, 16 September 1886, Page 1, an advertisement by Katz Brothers(still a partnership) dated 3-5-1882, announced the appointment as general insurance agent by Prussian National Insurance Company of Stettin(established in 1845).

There were two new partners, Meyer Behr in Singapore, Ludwig Huttenbach in Penang; and two new assistants Louis Katz, Sigmund Katz.

Herman Katz was conferred the Dato’ Paduka Mahkota Johor in 1890. Katz Brothers only had Hermann, Louis and Sigmund Katz, all from the same family. But two firms formed by the outgoing ex-partners, namely Huttenbach & Co(Ludwig Huttenbach as partner in London,August Huttenbach in Penang, Joseph Heim as assistant , and Behr & Co(Max Behr as partner, and Meyer Behr as assistants)

A reception was held in the residence of Ungku Abdul Majid, (Sultan)Abu Bakar’s younger brother on 12 June 1895 to welcome Dato’ Sri Amar DiRaja Abdul Rahman Andak, and his wife Gustel Auguste Reis on their arrival from Europe. He had married the daughter of Herman Katz (spelt Cutts according to palace records) the proprietor of Katz Bros. Ltd. a department store in Singapore. Herman Katz was conferred the Dato’ Paduka Mahkota Johor in 1890 for services rendered to Abu Bakar on his trips to Frankfurt.(ref:’s family was involved in business with the Berger, Behr and Katz families. This was in Singapore during the 1870s.(

Herman Katz of Katz Brothers who ventured into car distribution. In 1896, Herman Katz of Katz Brothers, a general importer in Singapore, brought in a single-cylinder belt-driven 5hp Benz of 1894 manufacture for a Mr. B. Frost of the Eastern Extension Telegraph Company. Charles Burton Buckley, lawyer and author of “An Anecdotal Histo­ry of Old Times in Singapore, 1819-1867”, later purchased the car. Buckley's Benz, which was affectionately jeered at as the "Coffee-Machine" on account of its grinding, shaking and rattling action, has been acknowledged as the first imported motor-car in Singapore. Local Chinese quickly named such vehicles, "Devil Wind Carriages.”

Mid-day Herald, 9-9-1896, Page 2, advertisement still appeared as Katz Brothers. Katz Brothers was converted into a limited liability company in 1896.

1897 - Katz Brothers Ltd as Limited Company
Straits Observer (Singapore), 2 July 1897, Page 2, announced that Mannheim Insurance Company had appointed Katz Brothers Ltd as marine insurance agent for the insurance company.

Herman Katz had accompanied Prince Henry of Prussia brother of the German Kaiser on his second visit to Johor on 24 February 1898.

Katz Bros Ltd Vs Kim Hin & Co(1900-1901), a legal case in Singapore revealed Katz Brothers was now a limited company.

1906 - Herman Katz died
The Straits Times, 24 December 1906, Page 7, published an announcement that Herman Katz(b? - d 1906), the Chairman and founder of Katz Brothers Ltd passed away early morning at the townhouse in Frankfurt, Germany. The announcement that Katz Brothers Ltd was having branches in Singapore, Penang, London, and Frankfurt.

The Straits Times, 29 December 1909, Page 5 reported the company Katz Brothers, Ltd., declared deferred dividend of 10% , 8% for culmulated Preference shares for the financial year 1907. The company is a public limited company.

Kartz brothers Ltd, and Brinkmann & Co withdrawn from the British colony during World War 1(military conflict centered on Europe that began in the summer of 1914. The fighting ended in late 1918). The German merchant houses no longer provide a threat to British merchant houses. After the war, however some German merchant house returned to Singapore. However unexpectedly it was Japanese merchant houses with their Japanese goods that posed a challenge to British merchant houses in Malaya market during the inter-war period.

The Straits Times, 24 June 1915, Page 9, an advertisement shown that their Singapore Office was located at Raffles Place, Singapore; no indication of Penang office.

On 11 August 1919 the Weimar constitution came into effect, with Friedrich Ebert as first President. The later 1920s brought prosperity and a cultural revival.

In 1924, the name used in the advertisement in Chinese newspaper was still Kartz Brothers Ltd, with offices at Penang and Singapore. This indicated they returned to Malaya after WW1.

1928 - Henry Waugh Co Ltd, the fading of Katz influence
Mr Henry Waugh, one of the directors now owned Katz Brothers Ltd in 1928, he changed the company name to Henry Waugh Co Ltd.
Malayan Saturday Post, 27 July 1929 advertisement, the name was Henry Waugh Co Ltd(formerly Katz brothers Ltd).
The name was changed to Henry Waugh Co Ltd, 1931 (page 8) that states them as of Singapore, Medan, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Karz may had sold the business due to political development in Europe, and the coming of WW2, global military conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945 .

1929 - Great Depression
In 1929-33 the worldwide Great Depression hit Germany hard, as unemployment soared and people lost confidence in the government. The resulting polarisation of German politics led to an upsurge in support for the violently antidemocratic Communists on the left and Nazis on the right. In 1933, the Nazis under Adolf Hitler were elected a controlling minority in the Reichstag and promptly imposed a totalitarian regime that restored economic growth while removing Jews from good jobs and seizing control of universities and most private organisations

1934 - dead of Henry Waugh
The Straits Times, 8 March 1934, Page 12 reported Mr Henry Waugh, Head of Henry Waugh Co Ltd died on Tuesday(6-3-1934) in Standon Court, Tunbridge Wells, England, at the age of 58. He came to Malaya in 1897 to join Katz Brothers, and in 1912 he joined the board of the company, Katz Brothers Ltd. He become owner of the firm in 1928. he also owned a few tin mining companies, Taiping Tin,North taiping, South Taiping, Klang River, Rantau and Batu Cave. He has been the committee members of International Tin Committee from its inception. He also had share in Kedah Rubber Company. He left behind his wife Miss Christiansen, married in 1915(daughter of Capt Christiansen)and 3 sons.

After the World War 2
1961 - become subsidiary of Jardine Matheso
Jardine Matheson became a publicly traded company in 1961 and, with additional capital provided by shareholders, acquired controlling interests in the Indo-China Steam Navigation Company and Henry Waugh Ltd. and established the Australian-based Dominion Far East Line shipping company.Henry Waugh Ltd(formerly Katz Brothers Ltd become its subsidiary.

1969- Guthrie Waugh Berhad, short lived
In 1968/69 Guthrie of Singapore amalgamated with Henry Waugh Limited, a subsidiary of Jardine Matheson, Hong Kong, to form Guthrie Waugh Berhad, but it was short lived, Guthrie returned to its sole operation in 1973/1974.( ref: Currency, credit and commerce: early growth in Southeast Asia(2004), by Peter Joseph Drake, published by Ashgate Publishing, Ltd Pg 64)

1973 - Guthrie Bhd - the end of Katz's trace
In 1968, Guthrie Waugh Bhd was formed to take over the trading businesses of Guthrie & Co and Jardine Waugh. In 1972, Guthrie purchased Jardine Waugh's 50 percent interest and the company was renamed Guthrie Bhd in 1973. It was listed on the Main Board of the Singapore Stock Exchange in 1974 and functioned as the holding company for the Guthrie Group.

1974 - Jardine Matheson (Thailand) Limited
Jardines began its business in Thailand as a partner of the Henry Waugh Trading Company back in 1934 and later in 1960 the company expanded into the engineering business operating under Jardine Waugh until 1974, when Jardine Matheson (Thailand) Limited was founded

1983 - Mulpha(Singapore) Ltd
In 1983, Mulpha International Trading Corporation Bhd acquired the company, changing its name to Mulpha (Singapore) Ltd.

1988 -Guthrie GTS Limite
Then in 1988, the company was acquired by the Masagung family of Indonesia and the company name was changed to Guthrie GTS Limited. Since 2007, the Salim Group, one of the largest conglomerates in Asia, and Putra Masagung, jointly own a majority stake in the company.

Anyone know the background of Hermann Katz and his family, from Frankfurt am maine in Germany?

Adolf Katz (12-2-1861 to 15-6-1886 ), a German who was the member of Katz Brothers, which operated an import business in the 19th century. The Katz Street( 六条路)was named after Katz family firm. He died in 1886, and buried at Northam Road Prostestant Cemetery, Penang. He died at young age of 25 years. He may be the Penang born son of Hermann Katz?....

Related articles

1. More than Merchants: a history of the German Speaking community in Penang, 1800s-1940s(2006), by Salma Nasution Khoo, published by Areca Books, Penang
4. Katz,
6.All Things Katz,
7. Out of the ghetto: the social background of Jewish emancipation, 1770-1870(1998),
By Jacob Katz, published by Syracuse University Press
6. Old Match Box Cover HENRY WAUGH & CO.LTD - SIngapore, Penang, KL, Ipoh, Bangkok;


  1. Hi Boon, interesting facts u have here :) By the way, do you know anyone by the name of Lim Lian Hock of 59, Katz Street, Penang? His 1959 diary is with me :)

  2. Dear Boon Raymond,

    I am genealogist and I found the birth places of Hermann Katz, Adolph Katz and three more merchants in Singapore and Penang. They came from D-35315 Pohlheim-Garbenteich, 60 kms nothern of Frankfurt a. M. in Germany.

    I am interested, to get into contact with you.

    Hanno Mueller
    D-35463 Fernwald-Steinbach
    Obermayer-Award 2013

  3. Hi Boris,

    It is interesting that you are able to trace the Katz family in Germany. My understanding is that the Katz family left Germany and ended up in Rhodesia. They may still be there for all I know !!

    It is unclear when or how my grandfather Henry Waugh gained a majority shareholding in the firm. I have always assumed that when hostilities were commenced in 1914 the Katz shareholders had there interest in the firm suspended - assuming of course that they were treated as enemy aliens. By that point Henry Waugh was effectively General manger of the firm and was in a good position to buy the remaining Katz shareholders out.

    Any buyout might have taken place earlier.

    David Waugh