II. Buildings Integral to the Former Life and/or Persecution of Jews in Hamburg - Eimsbüttel/Rotherbaum I.
© Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-jüdische Gesellschaft Hamburg.
5. No. 59 Bogenstraße (Bismarck-Gymnasium).
- Former Realschule an der Bismarckstraße.
- Later Realschule an der Bogenstraße.
- Later Oberrealschule an der Bogenstraße.
- Later Bismarck-Oberrealschule.
- Later Bismarckschule, Oberschule für Jungen (Non-classical Secondary School for Boys).
Bismarck School entrance.
In 1906 the Realschule an der Bismarckstraße was opened, with one preparitary class and one
first form (Sexta). An old villa in Bismarckstraße was temporarily converted into a school building.
On the first day there were 57 pupils and three teachers. By 1907 there was insufficient room for
the increased number of classes and it was necessary to erect pavilions. Shortly thereafter the
pavilions became inadequate to accommodate the growth in the number of school classes, and finally
the neighbouring building had to be incorporated. In 1911, the Hamburg Education Authority announced
that the Hamburg Senat (executive) had resolved to transfer the school to Bogenstraße and to rename
it "Realschule an der Bogenstraße". In 1907, the Hamburg Bürgerschaft (parliament) ratified
the Senat's resolution and resolved that the Realschule was to be built on public land enclosed by
Bogenstraße, hoheweide, Goebenstraße and the Isebeckkanal (canal).
Bogenstraße and environs, detail, 1934, with the "Ob.-Real.-sch".
(Liliencronstraße is today Goebenstraße).
The school was opened on 19.04.1911
with 700 pupils. The building had the capacity for 1,100 pupils. The ceremonial opening took place on
27.01.1912. In 1933 the Hamburg Senat resolved that the 1923 named "Oberrealshule
an der Bogenstraße" be renamed "Bismarck-Oberrealschule". In 1938, it was given
the name "Bismarckschule, Oberschule für Jungen".
Records of the number and percentage of Jewish pupils in the school only exist between
1912 and 1920:
|Year ||Number of Pupils ||Percentage of Total
|1912 ||39 ||5·5%
|1913 ||48 ||6·1%
|1914 ||45 ||5·5%
|1915 ||46 ||5·4%
|1916 ||42 ||4·7%
|1917 ||38 ||4·2%
|1918 ||31 ||3·4%
|1919 ||33 ||3·3%
|1920 ||35 ||3·7%
The overall tendency, during this period, was a decline in the numbers of Jewish pupils at the school.
A correspondence between the head of the school and a political leader of the NSDAP
(Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) in Hamburg indicates that the proportion of Jewish
pupils at the school, at the beginning of the Nazi period, was relatively small. In his letter dated
3.12.1934 the NSDAP political leader wrote:
"As an ex-pupil of the former Realschule Bogenstraße I attended your benefit party held at the school
on Saturday 1st December. To my astonishment, I observed that there were numerous Jews present at a
charity evening of a German school. To my indignation, I further witnessed Jews dancing, uncensured,
with German girls. I was unable to take any action without having caused a sensation. However, as a
political leader of the NSDAP, I am impelled to express my astonishment. I had assumed that German
youth attending the the Bismarck-Oberrealschule were educated according to the principles of National
Socialism, consistent with the Party and government. When, however, the head of the school and the
organizer of the party permit Jewish boys to publicly dance with German girls this cannot be seen as
a consequence of a National Socialist education. It should have been the responsibility of the
organizer of the party to have prevented such a disgrace ..."
The head of the school replied on 5.12.1934:
The correspondent should not remain unaware that, unlike practically all other schools in Hamburg, the
Bismarck-Oberrealschule has a negligible number of non-Aryan pupils on its school roll. That these
pupils remain at the school is in accordance with the law. He disputes that large numbers of Jews had
attended the party. It was a fact that certain pupils, who looked Jewish, were of pure Aryan descent and
were even members of the NSDAP or S.A. (Sturmabteilung). If non-Aryans were present the reason would be
that it was not possible to demand proof of Aryan descent from every visitor at the entrance. It is
regrettable that German girls danced with Jews. Jews are naturally excluded from other events at the
school. Example: a musically highly talented Jewish pupil is not permitted to play in the school
orchestra. In conclusion, he stresses that the Bismarck-Oberrealschule sees its foremost duty as
being to educate the pupils entrusted to them to become genuine National Socialists and to handle
into practice the Jewish question in accordance with the views of the NSDAP.
Pupils of the Sexta (first form) with their teacher, probably Easter 1917.
In a letter to the responsible Oberschulrat (School Inspector), dated 12.12.1934, the head of the
school stressed that existing non-Aryan pupils, or those newly admitted under the current law, had
the right to be treated equal in every respect to Aryan pupils. Parents who pay school fees,
according to their financial circumstances, had the right that their children be treated equally.
It was the school's obligation to educate pupils in the individual classes into a sense of class
community, and to educate the
entire school into a sense of school community.
The following short correspondence, dated 24.08.1936, from the head of the school to the
Hamburg Education Authority, concerns the emigration of Jewish school children:
"The Jewish pupil Hermann Oppenheim voluntarily left our school today, to emigrate to Italy."
The register of admissions to the school between 1933-1939 only infrequently includes the religious
denomination of the pupils. Only one pupil is registered Jewish ("mosaisch"). This was
Peter H., born 29.03.1921, admitted to to the school on 21.06.1935. His father was a Hamburg
businessman. It is recorded that he left the school on 21.12.1935 to emigrate to England. His leaving
certificate registers one "very good" and five times "good".
In a telephone conversation, in July 1984, Herr L. from Hamburg, a former pupil of the school,
informed us of one other Jewish pupil he knew at the school, Kurt P.. The family were partners
in the Bata shoe company, who emigrated to India via Prague.
The school exists today in its original building and has externally hardly changed at all. For years,
the school has worked in co-operation with the neighbouring gymnasiuim schools (grammar schools),
Helene-Lange-Gymnasium and the Gymnasium Kaiser-Friedrich-Ufer, in the so-called "Eimsbüttel Model".
Bismarck-Gymnasium, No. 59 Bogenstraße, early 1960s, viewed from Mansteinbrücke.
The former Bismarck School and its gymnasium played a part in the home-coming of Hamburg Jews
liberated from Theresienstadt. These home-coming transports arrived in Hamburg on
30.06.1945, 1.07.1945 and 2.08.1945. On 30.06.1945 a total of 16 lorries
carrying Jews returning from Theresienstadt arrived. There were 212 Jews who had previously
lived in Hamburg or its environs, and 75 Jews from Bremen. Included among these home-comers were
Dr. Otto Eduard Arndt, former Senatspräsident of the Hanseatische Oberlandsgerichts, deported
on 19.07.1942, and Dr. Arthur Felix Goldschmidt, former Oberlandsgerichtsrat. The
majority of home-comers were more than 70 years old who had been journeying for 4-5 days, day and
night, seated on wooden benches in lorries or police vans. They had survived this stressful experience
relatively well as they had been well cared for prior to the journey, and because the Red Cross had
administered "exemplary" care throughout the journey. In Hamburg the home-comers initially arrived at
the Hilfsschule Finkenau (School for Backward Children) in the Barmbek-Süd district of Hamburg
they received food and drink. Finally they were "unloaded" in the Bismarckschule. Family and
friends came to meet them there. Here occured distressing scenes of reunion, and grievous news of
those people who had died either as a result of the deportations or, having remained in Hamburg,
who had been killed in air-raids. In many cases former dwellings had been destroyed during air-raids.
In these cases, the home-comers were accommodated in the Old People's Home at No. 217 Rothenbaumchaussee.
Frau M. gave the following written account of her mother's home-coming in Hamburg on 1.07.1945:
"We had not heard anything more from our mother after Christmas 1944. Up until then we had received
acknowledgement of receipt of the parcels that we regularly sent her. In the meantime, we had patiently
waited, but now the war was over we were restless with impatience for news of her. One day we heard
that empty lorries were to travel from Hamburg to Theresienstadt to collect the survivers from Hamburg.
But, when would they arrive here? Finally, we heard that the home-comers would arrive at the
School Bismarckstraße on Saturday morning. My older brother and sister travelled there on the
elevated railway but found out that they were not to arrive there but rather in the
Bismarckschule. They then hastened to Bogenstraße.
Following a long period of waiting, several lorries drove into the schoolyard at short intervals to
each other. My brother and sister carefully scrutinized each lorry but our mother was not among the
arrivals. They were crestfallen! Where could she be? Finally, it was announced that two lorries had
not arrived, one having received a puncture, and the driver of the second lorry had not wished to
leave it behind alone. They were expected to arrive the next morning.
Early Sunday morning, 1.07.1945, my older sister and I made our way to the
Bismarckschule. After an anxious wait the last two lorries appeared. We soon found our mother. It
took a few minutes before she was able to alight from the lorry and embrace us. She had then
spontaneously said that our parcels had kept her alive. Neither she nor we had ever doubted we
would be reunited. We went quickly to the school gymnasium, where the returned luggage had
been displayed the day before. Then we hastened to the elevated railway. Arriving home my brother
and younger sister greeted her, before we sat down to the welcoming meal, with strawberries. She
then slept for two days."
The Bismarck-Gymnasium, with the gymnasium on the right, viewed from Hohen Weide,
On Wednesday afternoon on 1.08.1945 the second transport from Thesiesenstadt arrived in
Hamburg. The vehicles brought 80 women home-comers who were in "fairly good" physical
condition. The stressful journey had been alleviated through rest days. Thanks to the accommodation
of the British military administration they received "excellent" care. All home-comers were
"full of praise" for the care administered by the Red Cross. These home-comers also received food
and drink in the Hilfsschule Finkenau (School for Backward Children) in the Barmbek-Süd district
of Hamburg. They were then accommodated in the Old Peoples Home at No. 217 Rothenbaumchaussee,
in the Haus Neuerburg (hostel) in Wandsbek, and, when ill, in the
Versorgungsheim Barenfld (Nursing Home), and in the Jewish Hospital at No. 29
Schäferkampsallee. The delayed lorries of the second transport were expected to arrive on
In 1975, Frau S. from Hamburg gave the following account of her return journey from
On 28.07.1945, after having been more than two years in Theresienstadt, she departed the
Leitmeritzer gate. The vehicles were somewhat shabby, open lorries, that could be covered with
tarpaulin when required. There was a medical bus for the bedridden. On the return journey a bus
with the entire provisions for the journey was lost. The first puncture occured after the first few
kilometres. We reached Eger first. Beyond Eger came no man's land between Russian
liberated Czechoslovakia and American occupied Bavaria. Here we spent the night under the open sky.
They slept on the turned-down narrow flaps running the length of the lorry. The elderly women,
many over 70 years old, sat closely packed together with their luggage at their feet. Shortly after
passing the American Bavarian border the lost Red Cross lorry was found without its provisions.
They stopped for food and drink in a small villiage. They arrived in Bayreuth in the afternoon.
They slept on the wooden floors, on empty sacks as underlay, of a school for the blind. The next day
they reached Schweinfurt where they slept in an air-raid shelter. The next stop was to be
Hersfeld. The lorry broke down with a defective oil filter. It was late afternoon when they
arrived at the naval school where they were to stay the night. American women in uniform received
them and shook a quantity of powdered insecticide down each of their necks, and pressed a large
slice of white bread into their "weak" hands, "wonderful, fluffy" white bread. They also received
their first real coffee, their first sausage, and slept in bright halls in beds with white sheets.
The next day they reached Wenden in the Lüneburger Heide (moorland). There were many refugees
here. They forgot their hunger on seeing the long queues of people waiting for food. On
2.08.1945, (this was, therefore, the delayed section of the second transprt from
Theresienstadt), in the early afternoon sunshine, Hamburg came into sight. It had taken them five
days and nights to travel a distance of around 400 km.
In telephone conversations, in February and March 1984, Frau S. supplemented her account
with the following:
On her arrival in Hamburg, in Bogenstraße, she had sprung from the lorry and was very surprised
to see the man she was later to marry waiting to collect her. He had been arrested in November 1942
in Hamburg and taken to Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp and prison, and from there to Auschwitz, via
a police prison in Berlin. She remembers being lead to a school building where a speech ("sermon")
was given by a member of the Hamburg Senat (executive). Practically all her fellow home-comers were
accommodated, for several weeks, in the Old People's Home at No. 217 Rothenbauchaussee. She remained
there until around the middle of September 1945 in a room containing six beds on the second floor.
German text: Dipl.-Pol. Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-Jüdische Gesellschaft, Hamburg.