II. Buildings Integral to the Former Life and/or Persecution of Jews in Hamburg - Eimsbüttel/Rotherbaum I.
© Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-jüdische Gesellschaft Hamburg.
8. Nos. 22 and 24 Kielortallee.
The former Oppenheimer Stiftung (Oppenheimer Housing Trust) was founded by Hirsch Berend Oppenheimer in 1868 at Nos. 16, 17, 17a and 18 Kraienkamp (today Krayenkamp), south of St. Michaeliskirche.
The trust was established to provide Freiwohnungen (subsidized flats) for needy members
of the Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeinde (German Israelite Community). Individuals who received
regular support from the community, or the city of Hamburg, or who were publically known as
beggars, were not accepted by the trust. Only orthodox Jews who observed Judaic law, and who
had led an "irreproachable" life, were considered by the trust. Individuals reduced to poverty
through no fault of their own were given precedence. Priority was given to males and
their families, however, a widow of a Freiwohner (subsidized tenant) received a small flat
for as long as she lived. A synagogue was established "for eternity" as part of the
trust and run according to strict orthodox Jewish ritual. The trust's tenants were obliged to
attend all religious services.
Hirsch Berend Oppenheimer, the founder of the trust, was only able to be involved with the evolution of his trust for a period of two years, as he died on 16.12.1870. He was born in Hamburg on 28.04.1794 as the eldest of five children. He was a businessman, and last lived at No. 63 Baumwall, in the Neustadt district of Hamburg. He was buried in the former Grindelfriedhof (Grindel cemetery), and in 1937 was transferred to a grave of honour in the Ohlsdorf cemetery. In his will, he designated funds for the maintenance of a private synagogue that existed at Nos. 63-67 Neuer Wall. It was likewise natural to him that the trust building in Kielortallee include a synagogue. When the original building in the former Kraienkamp was demolished as part of city redevelopment measures a five-storey building was errected in 1907-08, by the architect Ernst Friedheim, which contained a total of 23 two and three roomed flats, including that of the caretaker. The synagogue was housed at the rear and extended the length of the central part of the building, and to the height of the first floor. It was identifiable from the rear courtyard by a curved recess, with a small apse, and coloured, leaded windows. Above the apse there was a small, circular window with a Magen David. The synagogue had a flat roof and a small women's gallery facing the Torah shrine.
Apart from the trust's tenants, the synagogue was also attended by inhabitants of the neighbourhood (S.S. Rosenthal-Altenhaus at No. 23 Kielortallee, Max und Mathilda Bauer-Stift at No. 25 Kielortallee, and Theodor Wohlwill-Stift at No. 26 Kielortallee).
In 1928, the trust housed the Wallichs Klaus synagogue. (The Wallichs Klaus synagogue was named after Daniel Jechiel Wallich, a banker and jewel trader, who established the first synagogue in the Neustadt district of Hamburg, at former Nos. 2/5 Erste Elbstraße, through a donation left in his will. In 1888/89, a new synagogue was erected on the site). Evidently, the Wallichs Klaus synagogue was invited to use the Oppenheimer trust's synagogue. The rabbi of the Wallichs Klaus synagogue was Dr. Arje Leopold Lichtig. He assumed office in 1906. His learned sayings, full of talmudic wisdom, were of assistance to many people both on solemn and joyous occasions. For some he was a true spiritual counsellor. He was also teacher at the Hamburg Yeshiva (a traditional Jewish school devoted chiefly to the study of rabbinic literature and the Talmud), where he assisted many students in passing the examination to study to become a rabbi. When Chief Rabbi Dr. Spitzer died in 1934, Dr. Lichtig, with Rabbi Joffe, temporarily received the title of chief rabbi. He badly missed his three sons when they were forced to leave Germany. Three months before his death in 1937, he had the great joy of seeing all his children again, at the wedding of his youngest daughter, in Czechoslovakia. In accordance with his wish, his mortal remains were buried in Hungary, his country of birth. Many friends, including the chairman of the Wallichs Klaus synagogue, Nathan H. Offenburg, accompanied the body as far as the city boundary.
Rabbi S. Loewy was engaged as his successor by the Wallichs Klaus synagogue. The synagogue survived the "Reichskristallnacht" (Pogrom Night) of 9th/10th November 1938 practically intact. In 1942, the trust's property and buildings, which in the meantime had become the property of the "Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland" (Reich Organization of Jews in Germany), were compulsorily sold.
Before this occured Nos. 22 and 24 Kielortallee appeared in the deportation transport lists of the Gestapo as the last address in Hamburg of those individuals on the deportation transports on 11.07.1942 to Auschwitz, and on 15.07.1942 and 19.07.1942 to Theresienstadt.
Practically all Jews registered by the Gestapo had to be accommodated in the few buildings ("Judenhäuser") of the Jüdische Religionsverband before April 1942. There are at least 122 individuals, whose address was registered as Nos. 22/24 Kielortallee, listed on the transports of 11.07.1942, 15.07.1942 and 19.07.1942, of whom 61 were deported to Theresienstadt on 15.07.1942.
Of these 122 individuals the following are representative:
The semi-detached building at Nos. 22 and 24 Kielortallee exists today in a good structural condition. It remained in the ownership of the Jüdische Gemeinde in Hamburg (Jewish Community in Hamburg) until 1960. It is now a private residential building.
The former synagogue is recognizable today from its external structure. It, and the rest of the trust buildings, survived the Second World War intact. The synagogue was reopened on 6.09.1945, for the around 80 member congregation, following a makeshift refurbishing. From the former circa 20 synagogues in Hamburg it was the only one after the war whose state of repair permitted the regular holding of services. It functioned as the sole synagogue in Hamburg until the new synagogue in Hohen Weide was opened in 1960.
Among the deportees, whose last registered address in Hamburg was building No. 22 Kielortallee of the former Oppenheimer-Stiftung, was Dr. Bernhard Aronsohn and his wife Ida Aronsohn, née Ostberg.
What follows is a detailed account of the fate of Dr. Bernhard Aronsohn, his wife Ida, and her brother Fred Ostberg.
Dr. Aronsohn and his wife Ida were deported to Auschwitz on 11.07.1942 and murdered there. Dr. Aronsohn's suitcase inscribed with his last address in Hamburg and his "Evakuierungs-Nr." ("Evacuation No.) was discovered in Auschwitz at the end of the 1970s (see picture).
Dr. Aronsohn moved to Hamburg from Rostock on 24.08.1939 and moved into a flat at No. 7 Lenhartzstraße, in the district of Eppendorf. He married Ida Ostberg in mid November 1941. The couple were forced to move to No. 22 Kielortallee ("Judenhaus") on 11.03.1942, from where they were finally deported.
Frau R., in a telephone conversation in April 1984, gave the following account of
As the married couple had no children, the boy was probably one of Frau Aronsohn's nephews, namely
Fritz Löwenstein, the youngest son of Ida's dead sister Else Löwenstein, née Ostberg.
Ida Aronsohn, née Ostberg, born on 8.05.1888 in Bocholt in the Ruhr region, was the youngest of six children. She initially attended the Jewish School and then the Girls' School in Bocholt, and later the business school in Düsseldorf. After the death of her mother in 1911 she ran the household for her father, and after his death in 1923 the household of her brother Fred. In 1927, she married Leopold B. in Bremen. It was a very unhappy marriage which ended in divorce after only a few months. Ida reverted to her maiden name. She opened a pension at No. 19 Isestraße in the Hamburg district of Harvestehude. Most of her guests left due to emigration. Presumably, following this she became Dr. Aronsohn's housekeeper.
The first letter addressed to her brother Fred with the sender's address being No. 7 Lenhartzstraße is dated 24.04.1941, and the last dated 4.08.1941. She wrote the name Ostberg as sender of the last letter.
Siegfried Ostberg, known as Fred, one of Ida's brothers, was, following the death of their father, co-owner of a factory that his grandfather had founded in around 1850. As a result of the economic depression at the end of the 1920s Fred separated from his partner, his uncle, and started his own cotton-waste wholesale business, which became successful. In 1937, his import permit was rescinded so that he was forced to sell his business at a knockdown price to a prominent National Socialist. This man introduced Fred to a senior Gestapo official who informed him of the imminent "Reichskristallnacht" (Pogrom Night). Fred's premises were not damaged on the night of the pogrom and he was released from prison in Bocholt, after three hours, on 10th November 1938; the other men were released after three or four days. Nobody from Bocholt was interned in a concentration camp as a consequence of this action.
Fred was married in 1927 and a son was born in 1928. His wife and son acquired a visa for the USA in 1937 or 1938. At the end of November 1938, they initially emigrated to the Netherlands, where a sister of hers lived. Fred remained in Bocholt hoping for a visa for the USA, which he had not acquired due to an injury sustained in a car accident. In January 1939, having not heard from the American consul again, and his situation having deteriorated, Fred emigrated to the Netherlands without an entry permit. He was placed in a camp there. He acquired a visa for the USA in March 1939, without further difficulty, so that he was able to leave for America, with his wife and child, that month. He has lived in a suburb of New York since then.
Ida's eldest sister, Else Löwenstein, née Ostberg, moved to Berlin with her husband
He was later murdered in a prison or concentration camp. Else had two sons and two daughters. She
died in childbirth in 1925.
Ida's other sister Paula Isidor, née Ostberg was married to Moses Isidor, and had five children. They lived in Sankt Goar, on the river Rhine opposite the Loreley. In 1939 or 1940, the family were forced to move to Koblenz. Two sons and two daughters were able to emigrate. Ida and Paula Isidor and the youngest daughter were deported and on entering a concentration camp were immediately sent to the gas chamber. One son, who had emigrated to Czechoslovakia, was murdered following the invasion of the country by the German army.
German text: Dipl.-Pol. Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-Jüdische Gesellschaft, Hamburg.