The Anna-Siemsen-Schule is a state trade school for textiles and clothing. In 1982 the building was listed as a historic building. It was built in 1915 by the architect Fritz Schumacher.
A plaque commemorating Dr. Anton Rée, headteacher of the former Israelitische Freischule, is situated left of the entrance.
He was Gründer des Vereins zur Förderung der Gewissensfreiheit and Kämpfer für Toleranz
und für soziale Gerechtigkeit.
In March 1830, the 1815 founded Israelitische Freischule purchased the building formerly occupying this site, and moved into its own premises here from Schlachterstraße. The school was established by private initiative for the education of children from Jewish families without means. The wealthy community members who founded the school were associated with a movement Moses Mendelssohns had begun and disseminated through his school in Seesen on the edge of the Harz Mountains, in Lower Saxony.
Left is Neuer Steinweg and Hütten.
In 1821 the curriculum included German, Hebrew, Arithmetic, Matematics, Writing, Geography, Natural History, Technical Drawing and Singing, "instruction in letter writing, book-keeping, etc for the requirements of a tradesman and craftsman, and for those wishing to study for a higher qualification Commercial Arithmetic and Accounting, and Religious Education". The board of the community supported the foundation of the school. There were reservations in certain affluent circles.
All girls and two thirds of all boys of well-to-do families who were able to pay for schooling attended non-Jewish secondary schools. The Israelitische Freischule was regarded as a school for the poor to which very few well-to-do parents sent their children. Dr. Anton Rée (1815-1891), 12 years member of the Hamburg Bürgerschaft (city parliament) (1859-1871) and 4 years member of the Reichstag (Parliament) (1881-1884) was head teacher of the Israelitische Freischule from 1850 onwards. He endeavoured to open the school to other religious denominations. A first step in this direction was to make Religious Education an optional subject. This ultimately lead to the school becoming inter-denominational (Simultanschule).
The first discussion whether to accept christian pupils took place in 1844. In 1852 a christian father requested his son be admitted to the school, which revived the discussion. The school board decided to admit the boy. The community board however forbad further admittance of christian pupils. When in 1858 another christian pupil registered the school board again decided to admit the pupil. The only condition of admittance was that christian pupils should pay school fees so that the financial position of the school was maintained. The attendance of chrisian pupils attracted well-to-do Jewish families to register their children and accelerated the aspiration for social equality. In 1871 there were 272 Jewish pupils and 305 christian pupils. Later the proportion of christian children increased still further in relation to Jewish pupils. Understandably the community board sought to stop this rapid development of an inter-denominational school. Already in 1864 the community board had claimed financial and administrative control of the school. It also put pressure on the school by discontinuing its annual subsidy. The school board fought for the school's autonomy and took legal action against the community board. In 1880 all demands of the community board were conclusively dismissed by a decision of the German supreme court.
In 1869 the school board increased existing tension by applying to the Hamburg Senat to change the school's name from Israelitische Freischule to Stiftungsschule von 1815. The community board objected. The conflict ended in a compromise. The school was called Israelitische Stiftungsschule von 1815. Shortly thereafter the school omitted the adjective israelitische in school announcements and from examination certificates. Only in 1889 did the Oberschulbehorde/ Education Authority raise an objection. Rée used this opportunity to make a new application for a change of school name. This was accepted in 1890 against the will of the community board.
Parallel to this Rée worked for educational reforms. In 1871 the Stiftungsschule von 1815 was one of the first schools in Hamburg entitled to award the einjahrig-freiwilligen certificate, i.e one-year volunteer's certificate (comparable to the first public examination in secondary schools i.e. English O-Levels). In 1892 the school had 745 pupils. This number remained relatively constant until 1915. However, the proportion of Jewish pupils decreased still further: in 1889 it was 33%, and in 1915 only 9%. The number of hour lessons devoted to Hebrew, and Jewish lessons sank to two a week. During the First World War the school got into financial difficulties. In 1920 the school was taken over by the City of Hamburg Education Authority and named Anton-Rée- Oberrealschule.
What follows is a short history of the school:
In October 1817 Dr. Eduard Kley was engaged as Dr. Hanno's successor. A year later, following
the official opening of the (first) Temple, Kley also became its preacher. Kley portrayed the early
days of the school so:
The school did not consider its responsiblity to its pupils totally fulfilled by merely giving them an education. The founders of the school also endeavoured to provide school leavers with respectable employment. Together with the teachers they undertook the difficult task of placing school leavers with craftsmen. This being generally unsuccessful school leavers had no other choice but to find work with small traders.
In 1823 Immanuel Wohlwill, (1799-1847) from Leipzig, was engaged as a teacher. He became very popular. Like Kley , Wohlwill was also a writer. He left Hamburg in 1838 to take up the position of head of the already prestigeous Jacobsonschen School in Seesen.
In March 1820 the building in Zeughausmarkt was bought and in addition to the required four classrooms there were rooms for Wohlwill and the caretaker. Kley lived next door to the school. Rée succeeded Wohlwill. His class was like a family circle with him as father. He made no distinction between school and leisure hours.
In 1870 the school was again enlarged as there were now eight classes. The extension did not offer any improvement in working conditions, but this was no different to most other schools in Hamburg at the time.
German text: Dipl.-Pol. Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-Jüdische Gesellschaft, Hamburg.