II. Buildings Integral to the Former Life and/or Persecution of Jews in Hamburg - Eimsbüttel/Rotherbaum I.
© Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-jüdische Gesellschaft Hamburg.
9. No. 13 Kielortallee.
In the second half of the 19th century there was a rapid influx of East-European Jews that emigrated via Hamburg. The persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe, and the allied economic problems, led hundreds of thousands of Jews to emigrate and seek a better future in Western Europe and the USA. Numerous Jews from Poland came to Hamburg and Altona. After the First World War, the internal revolution in Russia, and persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe started a new wave of emigration. These poor Jews from the East were not welcomed by the affluent Hamburg Jews, but the Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeinde (German Israelite Community), as an integrated community of all Jews in Hamburg, saw it their responsiblity to assist these immigrants.
The western tradition of the synagogue service was alien to these East-European Jews. The prolonged request for a synagogue of their own could not be indefinitely denied, and in 1925 the community purchased a villa at No. 13 Kielortallee. The large hall on the ground floor could seat 150 men and 50 women. The first floor housed the "Rosch Jeschiwah" (yeshiva = a traditional Jewish school devoted chiefly to the study of rabbinic literature and the Talmud), and the flat of Rabbi S.J. Rabinow. He and his family had previously lived at No. 2 Bieberstraße, the former yeshiva, and meeting place of the East European Jews. The private school, the Unger'sche Privat- Mädchenschule mit Knabenvorschule, later the Unger'sche Höhere Mädchenschule mit Knabenvorschule, that occupied the building refused to vacate the building. The community took the case to the county court. The school asserted that they had occupied the building since 1913, and that the classrooms had been totally renovated in 1924. Circa 170 children and 8 teachers would be turned out following notice of eviction. They argued that the community had sufficient synagogues in the area. The community, that in the meantime had concluded a contract with the Ostjüdische Verein "Adas Jeschorim" e.V. Hamburg, prevailed in the case, but with the proviso that satisfactory alternative accommodation be found for the school, or that the community pay the school 10,000 RM in compensation.
Alfred Levy, chairman of the board representing the community, at the request of the court, reported that services were held according to German, Portuguese, and Orthodox ritual in Hamburg synagogues, but that a group of around 200 community members, who wished to worship according to Spanish ritual, still had no suitable building.
The religious purpose of the building restricted the choice of property to detached, commercial buildings. The property at No. 13 Kielortallee was also ideally situated in regard to where the congregation lived.
In a letter dated 4.06.1929, the Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeinde informed the association of East European Jews, "Adas Jeschorim", that an agreement had been made with the school, and that they had agreed to vacate the building. The building was converted, and consecrated on the 3.10.1929.
Rabbi Rabinow, strictly only the rabbi for the East-European Jews in Hamburg, became surprisingly popular with other Jews, and especially with the youth. His discourses were so popular that the spacious study halls and synagogues in which they were held were unable to contain all those who wished to hear him. People often consulted him, also concerning Halacha questions (Jewish religious law), knowing that his decisions regarding religious law were reliable, but also relevant to the modern world. Although he spoke exclusively in "Jargon" (a contemptuous reference to Yiddish, the language spoken as a vernacular by Jews from Eastern Europe), in both conversation and discourses, this did not prevent him from being admired by Hamburg Jews. Dr. Joseph Carlebach, chief rabbi of Altona, had "discovered" him, having met him during the First World War, in Lithuania. After the First World War, in orthodox communities there arose a desire for, and establishment of, yeshiva (a traditional Jewish school devoted chiefly to the study of rabbinic literature and the Talmud). This was the case in the orthodox community in Hamburg. Dr. Joseph Carlebach untiringly recommended the "Licht aus dem Osten" (Light from the East), in the person of Rabbi S.J. Rabinow to the initiators of the yeshiva. Rabinow's success in Hamburg was later constantly referred to with gratitude as one of Chief Rabbi Dr. Joseph Carlebach's major achievements for the community.
In the mid 1930's, Rabbi Rabinow received a position as acting chief rabbi in Antwerp, in the Netherlands. A large section of the Hamburg Jewish community fought to retain the "Meister" ("Master") in Hamburg, the city he so loved. In Adar (March) 1937, he moved to Antwerp, where he was greeted and honoured "wie ein Furst" ("like a prince").
In 1938, the Verband polnischer Juden Groß-Hamburg e.V. (Association of Polish Jews in Greater Hamburg) occupied a room on the first floor of No. 13 Kielortallee, in which it held regular consultations.
Following the deportation of Polish Jews on 28.10.1938, to Zbaszyn, in Poland, it was necessary to find a new use for the building. (On 28.10.1938 the security police and Gestapo arrested 1,000 Hamburg Jews of Polish nationality and deported them from Hamburg, and brutally forced them over the German-Polish border near the Polish town of Zbaszyn. The fate of the majority is unknown. In the first half of 1939, a minority were allowed to return to Hamburg under the condition that, within the following few weeks, they acquire ratification of "emigration" from the financial department and other government departments, and then immediately "emigtrate". Many did not achieve this within the set time limit, and were transported to Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp by the Gestapo. There are a total of 355 established victims of the original deportation transport on 28.10.1938, to Zbaszyn in Poland. The total number of victims is unknown).
Girl pupils, who came to Hamburg from all over Germany to attend the Israelitische Töchterschule (Israelite School for Girls), at No.35 Karolinenstraße were temporarily accommodated here, after the "(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") was enacted on 15.11.1938. This decree excluded all "Jewish" children from attending German schools.
In 1941, the Beth Noar Children's Home was established on the ground floor of the building
at No. 13 Kielortallee.
The deportation transport lists from July 1942 reveal at least 7 people, of whom 5 alone were deported to Theresienstadt on 15.07.1942, whose last registered address in Hamburg was No. 13 Kielortallee.
Dr. Joseph Norden was one of these deportees. In 1937, he was member of the Beth Din of the Israelitische Tempel-Verband (Israelite Temple Association), having succeeded Chief Rabbi Bruno Italiener, when he emigrated in 1938. (Beth Din = A rabbinical court, consisting of at least three dayanim, and having authority over such matters as divorce and conversion, and other communal ecclesiastical matters such as Kashruth. It may also try civil disputes with the consent of both parties). Apart from Chief Rabbi Dr. Joseph Carlebach, Dr. Norden was the only other rabbi in Hamburg who was deported. His last address in Theresienstadt was No. 15 Berggasse.
No. 13 Kielortallee was sold in 1942, and today is privately owned.
German text: Dipl.-Pol. Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-Jüdische Gesellschaft, Hamburg.