II. Buildings Integral to the Former Life and/or Persecution of Jews in Hamburg - Eimsbüttel/Rotherbaum I.
© Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-jüdische Gesellschaft Hamburg.
4. No. 78 Bundesstraße/Gustav-Falke-Straße (Emilie-Wüstenfeld-Gymnasium).
In 1897 the board of trustees of the Emilie Wüstenfeld Stiftung (Emilie Wüstenfeld Trust) resolved to establish a girls' secondary school that was to be called "Emilie Wüstenfeld Schule", in memory of Frau Emilie Wüstenfeld's work in the field of public charity and the tuition of girls. The school was to consist of a three year elementary, and a six year secondary school. The Central Hotel at No. 72 Zweite Durchschnitt was rented, for a period of 10 years, from the Finance Deputation (An institution peculiar to Hamburg that goes back to the early democratic development of the Hansa city. A Deputation consisted of the responsible Senator and 15 "burgerlichen" members. A Deputation was elected by the Hamburg Bürgerschaft (parliament) and held office until the next election. Its function was to give informed advice to civil service departments. Each department had such a Deputation.), to accommodate the school. It was initially intended to open the school with three elementary classes on the second floor of this building in October 1897. The school was to emulate the Paulenstift school. Bertha Itzho was assigned the headship. The school board included Dr. Emma Rée and Anna Wohlwill.
The address of the Emilie Wüstenfeld-Schule from 1897-1923.
A quarter-yearly school fee was levied according to the financial circumstances of the parents, to enable children of less well-to-do parents to acquire a secondary education. The school opened with 40 girl pupils. It was soon necessary to occupy the first floor, then the ground floor, and finally the third and fourth floors of the former hotel. In 1907, after 10 years, there were 551 girl pupils on the school roll, and it was necessary to make use of the third floor of the adjacent publically owned building at No. 70 Zweite Durchschnitt. Gradually, the entire adjacent building was rented. In 1910, the school became an independent Trust. Before this, the school was a girls' secondary school with the same role as a state secondary school. There were sufficient numbers of girl pupils of Jewish parents for the school board to introduce religious education relevant to them, apart from the majority religious education in Protestant-Lutheranism. The school accepted girls of every denomination. This, and the fact that the fees did not exceed those of state secondary schools, ensured a continuous healthy intake of pupils. In 1913 the school had a roll of 612 girl pupils.
The school stood in good repute with the Hamburg Education Authority. The School Inspectorate
(Revisionen) commented on the high standard of teaching at the school, so that it was no surprize
that in 1912 it received state recognition as a secondary school. From its inception the school
employed teachers of the Jewish faith.
Over 25 years the trend in the number of Jewish pupils attending the school altered ten times, however, there was an overall decline in the percentage of Jewish pupils. The highest percentage of Jewish pupils, 14%, occured in the first year of the school and the lowest percentage, 4%, in the last year of the private school. The greatest number of Jewish pupils were registered in 1905 when 53 Jewish girl pupils attended the school.
Back row: (left to right) Bodenburg, Tiedemann, Behrend, Schwencke.
Middle row: Rohde, Kuhn, Jacoby, Dammermann, Kunzendorff, Junck, Dieckow, Krüger, Satz, Gemberg, Alevell, Schmidt.
Front row: Dittmer, Ossowski, Grack, Itzko, Harmsen, Riepenhausen, Schlee.
On 1.04.1923, the Hamburg Education Authority took over the running of the school. This school was then amalgamated with the "Lyzeum auf dem rechten Alsterufer" under the name Emilie Wüstenfeld-Lyzeum, in a new school building in Bundesstraße. This amalgamation of the two schools was a temporary decision as with 1,000 pupils in 32 classes and more than 50 teachers it became the largest school in Hamburg. For years the school had to accommodate itself in an unfinished building, with huts, until 1927 when the girls' school was moved to Curschmannstraße, on the other side of the Alster lake (right bank). Already in 1915, the Hamburg Education Authority had concluded a contract with the Emilie Wüstenfeld-Schule board to build a new school, following the allocation of a site in Bundesstraße and the construction of a new road north-west of Kippingstraße. The firm Distel and Grubitz were the prize-winning architects. The plan was to include a large playground and was to conceal the rear of the neighbouring buildings. The building was to have a gymnasium and an auditorium attached. The classrooms, laboratories, etc. were to be of a size to accommodate 40 pupils.
Building began in the summer of 1919 and lasted for almost four years, the school being opened on
6.04.1923. The new building was regarded as one of the "most splendid school buildings in Hamburg".
On 22.04.1926, the Hamburg Education Authority officially named the former Lyzeum
the "Emilie Wüstenfeld-Schule, Realschule und Deutsche Oberschule für Mädchen". In 1933,
the school was named simply Emilie Wüstenfeld-Schule, and in 1938, it was named
"Emilie Wüstenfeld-Schule, Oberschule für Mädchen" (sprachliche Form).
Henriette and Gisela A. left the school, with a leaving certificate, on 31.03.1938 and 18.06.1938 respectively. Gisela's school leaving certificate gave her reason for leaving the school as departure for England. Ingeborg and Ilse G., Ursula P. and Renate A. were forced to leave the school on 18.11.1938, in accordance with the "Verfugung der Schulverwaltung" (order of the school administration) of the same date. Ingeborg's leaving certificate stated that she had participated in lessons with "interest". In her subject results she had 9 times "good". Ilse's leaving certificate stated that she participated in lessons with "attention and interest" and was intellectually "self-reliant and painstaking" in her work. In her results she had 6 times "very good" and 7 times "good". Ursula had "very good" for Biology and "good" for French and Music. Renate's leaving certificate stated that her quiet "friendly" manner was a "good" influence on the class, and that she had satisfied the required standards in all subjects. She received a "good" in French.
Ingeborg and Ilse G. and Ursula P. were not deported, whereas their parents were victims of the deportations on 15.07.1942 to Theresienstadt, and on 11.07.1942 to Auschwitz respectively. It appears that the three girls were able to escape Hamburg prior to the deportation transports, and are possibly alive today.
Renate A. was deported on 15.07.1942 to Theresienstadt, together with her mother. Both
survived, and today Renate lives in the USA. As Renate remains unable to talk about her
experience, in March 1984 in Hamburg, her mother, Frau A. has supplied the following details
of Renate's school career up until the time of their deportation:
Remarkably, at Easter 1939, Renate achieved the Mittleren Reife (school leaving certificate, 16), which was signed by the Oberschulrat (secondary school inspector) Dr. Oberdörffer. Renate then pursued a gardening apprenticeship, in Heim Wilhelminenhöhe, at No. 127 Rissener Landstraße, in the Hamburg district of Blankenese. Following this she, with the daughter of Dr. Alberto Jonas, the last head of the school in Carolinenstraße, had attended the Jewish school of domestic science at No. 70. Heimhuderstraße, in the Rotherbaum district of Hamburg, from where she and her mother were deported in 1942.
Two of the later women teachers, of the Jewish faith or of Jewish descent, who taught at the school were Martha Behrend and Gretchen Wohlwill.
Martha Behrend, born 3.12.1881, last lived at No. 23 Hochallee, with her two sisters Elsa and Helene. She were deported to Minsk from here on 18.11.1942, where she was later murdered. Martha Behrend was a member of the so-called Kindergesellschaft (children's society). The teachers Anna and Magda Rieper and Gretchen Wohlwill were also members of this circle, who met in the evenings.
Gretchen Wohlwill, born 27.02.1878, the granddaughter of Immanuel Wohlwill and niece of Anna Wohlwill, began at the school in 1907. Gretchen's birth certificate registered her, like her four siblings, as having no religion, her father having left the Jewish community when a young man. As an art teacher she was "exclusively" interested in the "gifted" pupils. She was not of the opinion that one should encourage the untalented. Frau Wohlwill later ran an evening course for art teachers, and was a member of the examination board for art teachers. In 1933 she was dismissed and pensioned. Shortly thereafter she was informed that her paintings, that had hung in the school, had been removed.
These paintings had been commissioned by Fritz Schumacher (1869-1947), architect and Oberbaudirector in Hamburg between 1909-1933. In the following years she devoted herself to her painting, without, unlike previously, exhibiting. She emigrated to Portugal in 1940, returning to Hamburg in 1952 and continued to paint until her death in 1962.
Today, the Hamburg Television Tower, dedicated to Heinrich Hertz, stands on the site of the former Central Hotel. The building at No. 78 Bundesstraße remains the address of the Emilie Wüstenfeld-Gymnasium.
German text: Dipl.-Pol. Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-Jüdische Gesellschaft, Hamburg.