I. Buildings Integral to the Former Life and/or Persecution of Jews in Hamburg - Neustadt/St. Pauli.
© Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-jüdische Gesellschaft Hamburg.
19. Between and to the rear of Nos. 17 and 18 Kohlhöfen.
Either side are the two Israelitische Armenschule Talmud Tora school buildings.
The former main synagogue in Kohlhöfen of the German Israelite Community was built by the Jewish architect A. Rosengarten, and dedicated in 1859. The new, although limited, emancipatory rights of 1849 caused a large movement of Jews from the surrounding districts into the inner city so that the existing main synagogue in the Erste Elbstraße and the synagogue in Neuer Steinweg were no longer adequate.
The ground-plan of the synagogue was derived from that of Byzantine churches, the style reflecting the architecture of churches in northern Italy. The synagogue contained, among other rooms, a weekday synagogue and an assembly room. The new synagogue was the first in Hamburg that was not concealed in a rear courtyard. It was made more conspicuous by being situated opposite the junction of Kohlhöfen with the former Marienstraße, today Jan-Valkenburg-Straße, practically taking up its entire width. Left and right of the synagogue and directly fronting the street were the two former buildings of the Talmud-Tora-Schule (Talmud Torah School), at Nos. 19 and 20 Kohlhöfen.
In 1934 the synagogue was sold to the city for demolition, there being by this time very few Jews still living in the Neustadt district of Hamburg. Today nothing remains of the former synagogue, and with the later building of public authority housing in the street nothing now remains to indicate that these buildings ever existed.
The Kohlhöfen synagogue was built when Chief-Rabbi Anschel Stern (1820-1888) was in office. He worked untiringly to promote the welfare of the community. He became renowned principally through his work for charity and education. He had studied, among other places, at the University of Würzburg, had been a teacher and preacher in Homburg, near Frankfurt am Main, before, in 1850, he became the successor to Chacham Isaac Bernays. In opposition to the wishes of his community he acquired the cemetery in Langenfelde for "ewige Zeit" ("House of Eternity").
The procession circling the binah is being lead by the cantor followed by Chief-Rabbi Stern.
In 1869 the administration of the Kohlhöfen synagogue was taken over by the
Deutsch-Israelitische Synagoge-Verband (German Israelite Synagogue Association). The
establishment of the independent religious association within the
Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeinde (German Israelite Community) came about because:
The total equality of rights that Jews in Germany had fought for since the French Revolution were finally incorporated into the Hamburg constitution. It was now necessary for the Jewish community to bring its constitution into accord with the Hamburg constitution. A change was required principally to the still existing compulsory membership of one of the two communities: i.e. the Portugiesisch-Jüdische Gemeinde (Portugese Jewish Community) or the Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeinde/German Israelite Community. 169 members submitted a memorandum to the Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeinde (German Israelite Community) arguing that Jews should be able to obtain these citizens rights before becoming members of the Jewish community. They proposed that religious worship should be the responsibility of individual private religious communities, just as the city was responsible for public education. In contrast to other community members they argued to retain the status quo and "opposed the total dissolution of the community".
The board of the community basically agreed to the dissolution of the current community, as the changes in the Hamburg constitution had to be implemented. Instead of the obligatory community association an optional (voluntary) community association took its place.
In 1865 the Hamburg Senat enacted the constitutional law. It revoked compulsory membership of a communty. As a consequence two religious associations came into being. In addition to the already existing Temple Society, in 1868 the Deutsch-Israelitische Synagoge-Verband (German Israelite Synagogue Association) was founded. Henceforth both religious associations accepted that the Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeinde (German Israelite Community) had responsibility for the administration for the care of the poor, for burial and education.
German text: Dipl.-Pol. Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-Jüdische Gesellschaft, Hamburg.