II. Buildings Integral to the Former Life and/or Persecution of Jews in Hamburg - Eimsbüttel/Rotherbaum I.
© Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-jüdische Gesellschaft Hamburg.
1. No. 38 Altonaer Straße/No. 120 Schanzenstraße.
In 1883/84 a twin secondary school, separate for boys and girls, was built in Altonaer Straße, on public land north of the railway line connecting Hamburg with Altoner, and officially opened in 1884. In 1886, a gynasium was added, and in 1891 an extention was built.
In the school's register of enrolement between 1884 and 1919 the vast majority of children are recorded as being of the Protestant, Lutheran faith; and only rarely does the faith Jewish (mosaisch) appear. From 1919 onward, as far as records exist, the religion of the children no longer appears.
A document from 1942 records a shameful incident in the history of the school.
On 2nd April 1942 the former Volksschule No. 105 Schanzenstraße/No. 58 Altonaer Straße, in a letter to the Hamburg Education Authority, cited "serious" reasons for not making the planned transfer of the "Judenschule" (Jewish School) into the classrooms on the third floor of the school. The acknowledged "good" reputation of the established Mädchenvolksschule (Girl's School) Schanzenstraße would be destroyed should the Jewish children be accommodated in the school building at No. 105 Schanzenstraße/No. 58 Altonaer Straße. The floor of the building proposed for the Jewish children, and the schoolyard at No. 58 Altonaer Straße are conspicuously in view of neighbouring families. The school neighbourhood is not accustomed to Jewish inhabitants. There is only one girl "Mischling zweiten Grades" ("half-caste grade 2" = one Jewish grandparent, quarter Jewish) in the school. Neighbourhood provocation and other disagreeable incidents would make unnecessary demands on the already overburdened staff. The air-raid shelter at No. 105 Schanzenstraße is authorized for only 200 people; an additional 120 Jewish children would cause an unavoidable closeness. In the Third Reich a proximity between Aryans and Jewish children must be completely avoided. In addition, in the event of fire, or fire practice, one half of the girl pupils would have to use the same staircase used by the planned Jewish school at No.58 Altonaer Straße. Furthermore, repairs and complaints, that would inevitably arise due to the old heating system, would lead to necessarily "unpleasant" discussions between the head of the Jewish School and the head and caretaker of the Schanzenstraße School.
In conclusion the school argued that the reasons cited would seriously disturb the quiet composure of school life and that the deterioration in the accommodation situation would seriously effect the care and education of the children. For these reasons they urgently requested a re-examination of the proposed move.
The "judische Schule in Hamburg" was ultimately not transferred to the School Schanzenstraße.
Dr. Max Plaut who since 2.12.1938 had had the sole responsibility for the management of the affairs of the Jüdische Religionsverband (Jewish Religious Association), names the school in his report as a "school adjacent Sternschanze station."
The reports below establish that the school referred to is the School Schanzenstraße/Altonaer Straße and that this school was an assembly centre for the deportation of Jews on at least two occasions, namely on 15.07.1942 and 19.07.1942. Both transports went to Theresienstadt (Polish, Terezin), in Czechoslovakia, formerly in the Protectorate of Böhmen. The first transport, being the sixth to leave Hamburg, numbered 926 deportees, of whom 881 were later murdered. The second transport, being the seventh to leave Hamburg, numbered 801 deportees, of whom 668 were later murdered. Theresienstadt was designated "Reichsaltersheim der Reichsvereinigung" ("Reich old peoples home in the Reich Confederacy"). It was possible to correspond with people in Theresienstadt, and the Jüdische Religionsverband (Jewish Religious Federation), or the "Bezirksstelle Nordwestdeutschland der Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland" ("North-west German regional office of the Reich Confederation of Jews in Germany") could send food and medicine with each transport. A part of the workshop equipment was also sent via inland waterways, also two pianos, books, etc.
The people who were deported to Theresienstadt generally had to conclude a "Heimvertrage" (contract on entering an old peoples' home) with the Reichsvereinigung, and surrender their entire property, which was administered perpetually for them. The money had to be transferred to a special account, for example the Bankhaus Bassermann (Bassermann Bankers). The completion of "Heimvertrage" for "Gemeinschaftsunterbringung" (communal accommodation) were based on the announcement of 30.06.1942 made by the Reichsvereinigung on instructions from the "Aufsichtsbehörde" (Gestapo). Following this it was necessary to complete "Heimeinkaufvertrage" (contract for the purchase of a place in a home) at regional offices of the Reichsvereinigung or Jewish religious associations, when there were liquid assets involved, which included securities and shares, that amounted to at least 1,000 RM. The Reichsvereinigung reserved the right to accommodate people in "any" communal accommodation even outside the "Altreich" (Germany with its 1937 borders). The transfer of assets to the Reichsvereinigung was executed "with great haste."
The School Schanzenstraße/Altonaer Straße functioned as a deportation assembly centre at least for the two large deportation transports in July 1942, i.e. on 15.07.1942 and 19.07.1942.
From these transports only the following representative number of the greater total are here recorded:
Only a few of those named survived; the vast majority died in the ghetto of Theresienstadt, or other concentration camps and death camps.
The reports that follow are accounts of the deportation transport on 15.07.194 from the Volksschule Schanzenstraße/Altonaer Straße to Theresienstadt.
In telephone conversations, in April 1983 and January 1984, Frau R. from Hamburg gives the
On the morning of 15.07.1942 Frau R, with other inhabitants of the house, was driven to the school
in Schanzenstraße in a covered lorry. She was accompanied by her daughter. They were discharged
from the lorry in front of the school. She no longer remembers the school entrance. There was no
large gathering of people in the schoolyard. She does not remember there being arrivals of other
lorries bringing people to the school. This did not occur particularly early in the morning.
Among the many people present in the hall she in fact met, among others, her parents Felix and Anna Caroline Schönfeld, as well as her aunt, Franziska Corten with her daughter Rosi. After some time other lorries arrived into which they had to enter. She does not remember there being ill-treatment. As far as she can remember they were driven to Kaltenkirchener station (today the Niederlassung Briefpost, Hamburg Zentrum Kaltenkirchener 1 = Hamburg Central Letter Sorting Office). It was said that troops usually embarked from here. They entered normal railway carriages. She remembers that at least once during the journey the train was coupled, but does not know if this was, for example, at the Hannoverscher station.
After a long journey they were disembarked before arriving at Theresienstadt. She then had to walk at least 5km to Theresienstadt carrying the luggage she had been allowed to take.
Later, in October 1944, she and her husband were transported to Auschwitz in a cattle wagon. Here, her husband was, immediately on arrival, "selected" to be gassed. She can remember precisely how she, being in the women's queue, had turned round and caught sight of her husband linked in the arms of two friends, Herbert Kaufmann and Ernst Haas. This turning round had saved her life as at that moment Dr. Joseph Mengele (the "Angel of Death". Nazi doctor at Auschwitz extermination camp (1943-45), who directed the operation of the gas chambers and conducted medical experiments on inmates in pseudoscientific racial studies) waved her from the line and she was flung to the side. Shortly thereafter she and others had to break the gold from the teeth of gassed victims in front of the gass chambers of Auschwitz II (Birkenau).
Later, she was deported to Salzwedel via Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and Neuengamme concentration camp. (Salzwedel: Nazi satellite camp of Neuengamme Concentration Camp situated in the former town of Salzwedel, south east of Lüneburg. It existed from July 1944 to april 1945. At the end of March 1945 there remained more than 1,500 female prisoners in the camp. They were employed in the production of land-mines.) There she suffered terrible experiences working in a munitions factory, until the American forces liberated the camp.
At the beginning of June 1945 she was brought back to Hamburg by relatives. Frau R's daughter also survived and now lives in the USA. She corroborates her mother's account of the transport to and from the school Schanzenstraße.
In telephone conversations, in February 1982 and in March 1984, Frau H. from Hamburg gave
the following account:
After her mother-in-law had completed the formalities of surrendering the flat, Frau H's husband,
who was not required to wear a Judenstern (Star of David, compulsorily worn as identification)
as he lived
in a "mixed marriage", took his mother to Schanzenstraße. Frau H. had the impression that
practically the entire inhabitants of the house were deported. Frau H's husband
visited his mother in the school Schanzenstraße
on the following day. Without going into details he reported that it had been awful.
In several telephone conversations, in March 1984, Frau S. from Hamburg gave the following
On the following day Frau G. sneaked into the now empty room. While doing this the Gestapo had sealed the door. Frau G. pulled out the rolled up Persian rug from under the bed that the elderly couple had stored following the compulsory evacuation of their former flat. As cautious as a thief she arrived in her flat in Alsterdorf with her valuable possession without being questioned.
On 19.07.1942, a gloriously sunny day, Frau S. visited her relatives in the school
Schanzenstraße. Her aunt and uncle were accommodated on the second floor of the school. There were
bunk beds installed, normally found in air-raid shelters. She found them calm although sad and
resigned to their fate. She had known they would never return. They were finally required to leave
the school. The staff of the Jüdische Religionsverband, who generally had free access to the
deportation transports, and who were here in numbers to assist the deportees, helped carry the luggage
below. Otherwise, the deportees had to carry their last possessions themselves. In the meantime,
police vans, furnished with benches, had arrived in the schoolyard. She had to witness how the
elderly people were kicked in the back when they were not quick enough in climbing onto the high
backboard of the vans. Frau S. had at that moment thought with there being so many windows, from the
surrounding houses, overlooking the scene there must have been witnesses to the event, and wondered
what they were thinking.
They travelled to the Hannöverscher station. (This station was formerly situated south-west of the Hauptbahnhof (City Railway Station) on the Grasbrook island in the river Elbe in the port, today Lohseplatz, named after the engineer of the river Elbe bridges. It was originally called Venloer station and then Pariser station, and finally in 1892 Hannoverscher station. It was the terminus of the north-south traffic. Today the station is almost forgotten wheras once it was Hamburg's southern railway terminus. Before the central (city) railway station with through traffic was built there were three separate, unconnected termini: the Berliner Station, the Lübecker Station and the Hannöverscher Station (independent Altona had its own Altona Station terminus). The Hannöverscher Station was built in the shape of a city gate and from 1872 was an important transit centre for Hamburg. Then the Elbe bridges and the central railway station (Haubtbahnhof) were built and in 1905 the Hannöverscher Station served only as a goods station. Perhaps it would have fallen into disuse of its own accord if the Nazis had not chosen this rather remotely situated station as the departure point for practically all the deportation transports of Jews in Hamburg to concentration camps and extermination camps. Today what remains of the building is used by a haulage contractor).
She was taken there, together with staff of the Jüdische Religionsverband, in a van provided by the Gestapo. Numerous Deutsche Reichsbahn (German Federal Railways) third class passenger carriages awaited them at the station (there were then four classes). The station was at that time a freight depot. The scene was filmed, Gestapo personnel, with cameras slung around their necks, took private photographs of pretty female assistants, scenes of misery on the platform, or of elderly people close to death being lifted into the carriages on stretchers. The situation proceeded with relatively little violence. Frau S. bid her relatives farewell. She and her sister, who was there as a member of the Jüdische Religionsverband, told their aunt and uncle that everything would be better by Christmas but that they must stick it out until then. She had said this with a "false" optimism. Uncle Emil answered that she and her sister would not be able to close their dead eyes. None of them had wept. The deportees were hardly able to wave goodbye being so tightly packed into the departments of the train.
In Theresienstadt the uncle had cared for his starving sister. He washed her laundry at the pump
in the yard, and cared for her until her death, on 8.11.1942, delivered her from this misery. Two
days later, on 10.11.1942, he took his own life.
In April 1984, Frau F. from Hamburg recounted the following reliable eye-witness account,
from an individual wishing to remain anonymous:
Frau B. in a telephone conversation from New York, in February 1984, recounts
her own deportation on 19.07.1942:
Frau M. from Hamburg recounts in the book "Schulterblatt", page 34:
Frau M. living in Bartelstraße in Hamburg recounts the following in the same book:
Today's School Altonaer Straße, which remains practically unchanged structurally, was, on
at least two occasions, an assembly centre for the group deportation of Jews.
German text: Dipl.-Pol. Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-Jüdische Gesellschaft, Hamburg.