II. Buildings Integral to the Former Life and/or Persecution of Jews in Hamburg - Eimsbüttel/Rotherbaum I.
© Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-jüdische Gesellschaft Hamburg.
11. No. 23 Sedanstraße.
On 10.01.1886 the Altenhaus der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde (Old People's Home of the German Israelite Community) was opened in the former Louisenstraße, renamed Sedanstraße in 1899, between the former Casernenweg (today Monetastraße) and Grindelallee. The architect was Seelig.
Following Isaac Hartvig's donation of capital in 1839 for the establishment of a home for elderly men, in 1883 Ephraime Edwards made a donation to the Jewish community in memory of his deceased wife Esther. Together the two donations made possible the building of an old people's home. One wing of the home carried the inscription Isaac Hartvig Stiftung von Jahre 1839, and the other wing the inscription E. Edwards Stiftung seiner Gattin zum Andenken.
In accordance with the specifications of the two donators the old people's home was to provide life-long free accommodation and keep for elderly Jewish men and women, with exceptions for cases specified in the statutes. There was to be a prayer hall established in "eternity", however, no one was to be compelled to attend the religious services. Men over the age of sixty, and women over the age of 55, who had been members of either the Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde (German Israelite Community) or the Portugiesisch-Jüdischen Gemeinde (Portuguese Jewish Community) for the previous five years, and whose state of health caused no concern that they were likely to become infirm within a short period or likely to become a burden to the other charges, were admitted to the home. By donating 15,000 Marks individuals acquired the right to donate a room in their name or some other name, and to decide who was to occupy the room. The room was to eternally carry the inscription of the name of the donator. Today the 19 original plaques are afixed to the wall on the left of the entrance hall of the Altersheim der Jüdischen Gemeinde in Hamburg at No. 27 Schäferskampsallee.
In 1888, the Hamburg Senat (executive) proposed the Hamburg Bürgerschaft (parliament) give their agreement that the public land, sites numbers 236 and 891 (see diagram above), on the corner of Louisenstraße and Casernenwegs, be sold to the Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde (German Israelite Community). The community wanted to enlarge the existing old people's home, allowing it to be restructured into two separate houses, one for men and one for women. In addition the two houses were to have sufficient grounds for a garden.
Between 1891-1895 the old people's home could accommodate a maximum of 23 charges. The extension of the building were not begun before 1898, under the direction of the civil architect Friedheim. The new building was planned as the central building. A wing was added on the right, the existing house being on the left. The prayer hall and dinning room were transferred to the central building, and 14 additional rooms were acquired in the original house through reconstruction. On 1.01.1924, the old people's home accommodated 45 charges, 27 women and 18 men. The men were expected, as far as their health permitted, to attend the synagogue service in which Kaddish was said for the deceased benefactors of the old people's home. Regular synagogue services were held on the Sabbath, and morning and evening services during the week, up until the house was closed in the Second World War. Numerous non-charges attended these synagogue services. The synagogue had seating for 52 men and 41 women.
Alfred Levy was the chairman of the board of governors of the old people's home for decades. Samuel Leibowitz was the first manager of the old people's home, assisted by his first and second wives. In 1916, he was succeeded by Hirsch Kahn, assisted by his wife Lilly. In 1936, on the 50th anniversary of the home, it was said that everyone who knew the Kahns knew what untiring work they did for their charges day after day. Hirsch Kahn, like his predecessor, fulfilled the role of prayer leader in the synagogue. Meals were taken communally in the spacious dining room, and on the veranda during the Feast of the Tabernacles, which was decorated for the Succoth Festival. There were day rooms and in good weather a spacious garden, which lay on two sides of the building.
The Kahns, and the caretaker Otto Joshua, aimed not only to treat the elderly people as
occupants of an institution in which it was their duty to provide for bed and board and other
essential needs, but also to facilitate them a peaceful, pleasant, fulfilling old age. In
1934 there were 54 beds available. The following example demonstrates indirectly
how the elderly people were cared for:
All the rooms were cosy. There was a day room for non-smokers, with piano and radio, open until 10 p.m., and a day room for smokers. Married couples had a living-room and a bedroom. All rooms, most of which overlooked the garden, had central heating.
The old people's home played a special role in the days following the so-called
Reichskristallnacht (Pogrom Night) of 9th/10th November 1938:
"In small side-streets, made reassuring by darkness and November fog, we slipped food and money into the hands of our men in hiding" (Frau W., Hamburg, 1983).
The old people's home at No.23 Sedanstraße functioned as a "Judenhaus" ("Jewish Building").
The address of the old people's home is often registered as the last address in the Gestapo
lists, especially those on 11.07.1942 to Auschwitz and 15.07.1942 to Theresienstadt. There are
92 such individuals listed on the two named deportation transports. Taking into account that
only eight years earlier only 54 beds were available in the home, the building must haver
been very overcrowded, especially considering that house personnel were also accommodated here.
Frau W., in October 1982 in Hamburg, gave the following account relating to the deportation
transport on 15.07.1942 to the ghetto in Theresienstadt:
On 31.12.1945 the building at No. 23 Sedanstraße was returned to the re-established
Jüdische Gemeinde in Hamburg (Hamburg Jewish Community) and regained its former function.
After the war the synagogue was used on High Holidays to hold a parallel service to that held
in the Synagogue
in the Oppenheimer Stiftung, Nos. 22 and 24 Kielortallee, as there were insufficient places in the
Following the opening of the new Altersheim der Jüdische Gemeinde (old people's home) on
18.05.1958 on the former site of Nos. 25, 27 Schäferkampsallee, the building at No. 23
Sedanstraße was sold to the Franciscan Order. Despite the major changes made to the building in
accordance with its new function as a students hostel, substancial sections of the original building,
both inside and outside, remain recognizable. The former synagogue is today the chapel of the
Am 10.1.1886 wurde hier - ermöglicht
Im Juli 1942 wurde mehr als neunzig
ERINNERUNG IST DER WEG
Bezirksversammlung Eimsbüttel 1986.
German text: Dipl.-Pol. Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-Jüdische Gesellschaft, Hamburg.