I. Buildings Integral to the Former Life and/or Persecution of Jews in Hamburg - Neustadt/St. Pauli.
© Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-jüdische Gesellschaft Hamburg.
23. No. 35 Karolinenstraße.
With the building of the school at No. 35 Carolinenstraße in 1884 the two existing Jewish schools
for girls, the Israelitsche Mädchenschule, established in 1798 and the
Armen-Mädchenschule der Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeinde, established in 1819, were
combined as the Israelitsche Töchterschule (Israelite Secondary School for Girls).
The school was built
by the architect von der Heyde and officially opened in 1884. A generous donation from
Markus and Sarah Nordheim mostly financed the building.
The Armen-Mädchenschule der Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeinde, founded in 1818, was, from 1843,
situated in a building of the former hospital of the Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeinde (German Israelite
Community), the former hospital of the Wandsbek Jewish community in Hamburg, at No. 52 Bei den
Parents had to make a written commitment that their children remain in the school until they were 14 years old. The daily school hours were from 08.00-12.00 and 14.00-18.00 hrs. The needlework lessons were divided into two classes, while a third class covered the remaining subjects. In 1865 the school had more than 100 pupils. Dr. G. Salomon taught religion. Louis Heine and Dr. M. Isler had headship of the school.
After Frau Mathilde Lippmann's death, in 1899, Frau Mary Marcus, known by her first name Mary, became sole head of the Israelitische Töchterschule at No.35 Carolinenstraße. She retired in 1924 at the age of 80. She came originally from the Israelitsche Mädchenschule, established in 1798. Dr. Alberto Jonas succeeded her. He had taught, for a short period, prior to this in the Talmud-Tora-Realschule at No. 30 Grindelhof. He was qualified to teach Hebrew, Latin and Greek. He reformed the school so that, in 1930, it obtained the status of Realschule. In 1930 it took the title Mädchenschule der Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeinde (Volks- und Realschule) (German Israelite Community Girls' School, Primary and Secondary School).
Initially, after 1933 teaching was allowed to continue relatively undisturbed, as Jewish pupils were being educated separately in their own school. However, the school suffered badly due to the large fluctuation in both pupils and teachers. At first the number of pupils rose due to the admission of non-Jewish pupils, but then sank following "Auswanderung" ("migration"). In November 1935 there were 730 pupils, while in November 1938 there were only 470. After the enactment of "(Reichs-)Erlaß des Reichsministers für Erziehung und Unterricht über den Schulbesuch jüdischer Kinder" ("Decree of the Reich Minister of Education concerning the school attendance of "Jewish" children") of 15.11.1938, all "Jewish" children were excluded from attending German schools. These pupils were admitted to the school. Among these pupils were a number of non-denominational or baptised children, whom the Nazis classified as "Rassejuden" ("racial Jews"). From this time on, these and other Jewish school children moved to Hamburg from all over prewar Germany. Some of these children lived in a childrens' home at No. 13 Kielortallee.
In April 1939 the school was merged with the Talmud-Tora-Schule, as it was named by the Gestapo in July 1939. Arthur Spier was the head of this school, formerly the Talmud-Tora-Oberrealschule. For several months boys and girls attended the school buildings at No. 30 Grindelhof, and No. 38 Grindelhof (a former villa next door). The school building in Carolinenstraße stood temporarily empty, as the planned transfer to this building of the Israelitische Krankenhaus (Israelite Hospital) did not take place.
Already by July 1939 the Reichsstatthalter (Reich Governor for Hamburg) Karl Kaufmann had ordered the school building at No. 30 Grindelhof to be put at the disposal of the Hochschule für Lehrbildung (Teacher Training College). At the same time he ordered the entire transfer of the school in Carolinenstraße, that was closed in September 1939. Only the building at No. 38 Grindelhof was permitted to be used further, until April 1940. During this period, from December 1939 onwards, the school had to carry the title "Volks- und Oberschule für Juden".
All further education and other events for Jews, that until now had been held in Grindelhof, continued, as well as could be managed, in the school in Carolinenstraße. The school was especially concerned with the preparation for Auswanderung (emigration). There were training workshops in metalwork and carpentry, a training course for gardeners, a technical college for dressmaking, a school for household management, as well as language and commercial courses. Teaching and administration meant a lot of additional work for the teachers.
The last Abitur (school leaving exam and university entrance qualification = GCE A-levels) pupils were Oskar Judelowitz from Latvia, and Rolf Levisohn from Hamburg, who, at the beginning of 1940, passed the exam at the Volks-und Höhere Schule für Juden. In the previous years, from 1934 onwards, 14 girls had passed their Abitur at the Talmud-Tora-Oberrealschule. Oskar Judelowitz had wanted to return to Latvia; he was probably murdered there. Rolf Levisohn, severely physically disabled, was arrested by the Gestapo in the street and imprisoned in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, where he remained for six weeks. Following this experience, in depair, he sought emigration. His efforts were in vain. He was one of the deportees in the first transports to Lodz on 25.10.1941.
The last principal of the school in Carolinenstraße was Dr. Alberto Jonas. The last principal of the Talmud-Tora-School Arthur Spier remained in New York while on a journey in the USA in summer 1939, on instructions from the head of the Judenreferat (Jewish Department), Richard Göttsche. In October 1941 the school in Carolinenstraße had a roll of 343 boys and girl pupils.
From 19.09.1941 they were also required to wear the Judenstern.
The Hamburg Education Authority requested the Gestapo to immediately make the building vacant. Göttsche agreed on the condition that alternative accommodation be found for the children. The Education Authority proposed a totally self contained wing on the third floor of the elementary school at former No. 105 Schanzenstraße, today No. 120, in the Sternschanze district of Hamburg. However, there arose such an angry protest from the school against the unwelcome quartering of Jews, that would severely threaten the "good reputation" of the school, that it was necessary to look for an alternative site.
In May 1942, the Sprachheilschule (School for Children with Speech Impediments), formerly at No. 7 Felix-Dahn-Straße, moved into the building in Carolinenstraße, as the building at No. 7 Felix-Dahn-Straße was required for teacher training. In May 1942, the last Jewish children and their teachers remaining in Hamburg were housed in the Israelitische Waisen-Institut für Knaben (Israelite Orphanage for Boys), at former No. 3 Papendamm. The building was unsuitable for use as a school, however, tuition recommenced in these cramped conditions. In the meantime, from June 1941 onwards, the school had to call itself "Jüdische Schule in Hamburg".
On 30.06.1942, the day all Jewish schools in Germany were closed, school reports were issued to the remaining 76 children. Strangely enough this last name of the school i.e. "Jüdische Schule in Hamburg" did not appear on these reports. A few days after the issue of the school reports most of these children and their teachers received the "Evakuierungsbefehle" (order for deportation) to Auschwitz or Theresienstadt. In December 1942 the school building at No. 35 Carolinenstaße and the gymnasium building at No. 62 Kampstraße were compulsorily sold.
Later the administration department of the Gestapo moved into the building in Carolinenstaße. A list of salary-earners from 7.08.1944 from the Gestapo Regional Headquarters in Hamburg listed 38 public employees from different departments.
Dr. Alberto Jonas-Haus:Dr. Alberto Jonas became principal of the Jewish community Girls' School (Israelitischen Töchterschule) in Karolinenstraße in 1924. His wife Marie Anna Jonas became the school doctor. In 1941 the family were evicted from their apartment at No. 5 Woldsenweg in Eppendorf and had to move into a so callled "Jew House" at No. 39 Laufgraben. On the platform at Hannoverscher Station, prior to being deported to Theresienstadt, the head of the Judenreferat (Jewish Department), Richard Göttsche, cynically assured Dr. Jonas there was a school waiting for him in Theresienstadt.
The school building remains today with the description Israelitische Töchterschule on the façade of the building, and an informative commemorative plaque. Today it functions as a crèche, and on 22nd May 1989 a Memorial and Education Centre was opened in the partly preserved schoolrooms. It is the aim of the centre to keep alive the remembrance of the children and teachers who became victims of the Holocaust. However, suffering and death are not the only themes. One of the permanent exhibitions is titled "Formerly at Home in Hamburg - Jewish School Life in the Grindel District of Hamburg" and presents a vivid impression of school life in the former German-Jewish Community. The centre organizes numerous seminars and individual events in an endeavour to keep alive the discussion about the National Socialist period in Germany.
The building is protected as an historic monument.
During the time the school was known as the Jüdische Schule in Hamburg (Jewish School in Hamburg) the following teachers were deported from Hamburg, and later murdered.
During the time the school was known as the Jüdische Schule in Hamburg (Jewish School in Hamburg) the following girls were deported from Hamburg, and later murdered.
The gymnasium in todays Grabenstraße, formerly No. 62 Kampstraße, of the former Jüdische Schule in Hamburg functioned as a collection centre for the personal belongings of Jewish women and children shortly before their deportation.
In Hamburg, in April 1982, Frau W. recounted the following:
The Gestapo were furious when they found sweets or chocolate that neighbours had given the children. They threw these in the laundry baskets. On asking what was to happen to these I was told they were to be given to the NSV (Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt) (National Socialist Popular Welfare). What disturbed me the most was how brusquely and roughly the SS people treated the women. What especially struck me was a young, pistol carrying, SS man who was especially brutal when elderly women started crying.
I repacked the cases and attempted to stuff some of the things in the laundry baskets back into the cases, when the SS or Gestapo people, who stood together in a corner, were no longer looking. I presume some people were later surprised to find other people's belongings in their cases, if they ever in fact received their cases again. I suddenly came to the attention of the Gestapo. One Gestapo man beckoned me over to him and asked me my name and why I was not wearing a "Judenstern". I explained that my father and mother, who was a Jewess, lived in a "privilegierte Mischehe" (priviliged mixed marriage). He further asked me, despite this, what I was doing there. I answered that I had family and friends there, and that it was a kind of labour of love that I wanted to show them. The brutal young SS man I mentioned before was encouraged to attempt to make a date with me that evening. I simply asked him if he could accept the responsibility as I was "Halbjüdin" ("half Jewish"). I said he should better help with the cases, which he immediately did."
German text: Dipl.-Pol. Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-Jüdische Gesellschaft, Hamburg.