Bullenhuser Damm memorial

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School Bullenhuser Damm in Rothenburgsort (2013)

In the street of the same name in the former Hamburg district of Billwerder Ausschlag (today part of Rothenburgsort ) is the former school building Bullenhuser Damm , in which on the night of April 21, 1945 the SS committed a cruel end-of-war crime: Twenty children were killed together with their carers in the basement of the building, which during the war as a subcamp of the Neuengamme concentration camp had served murdered. The school reopened in 1948 and named after Janusz Korczak in 1980 . A memorial has existed there since then, and the building has not been used for school purposes since 1987. Today the former school building serves as the kindergarten of the Finkenau Kindergarten Foundation .

Subcamp of Neuengamme concentration camp

The former school building was made available by the city of Hamburg to the SS company “ Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke GmbH” to accommodate concentration camp prisoners. Probably towards the end of November 1944, the building was converted into a satellite camp and then put into operation. At least 592 prisoners, predominantly from Poland and the Soviet Union, were used to manufacture stone slabs from the rubble, as well as to carry out construction and clearing work. The camp leader was SS-Oberscharführer Ewald Jauch , his deputy SS-Unterscharführer Johann Frahm . This satellite camp was closed between April 9 and 11, 1945 and the inmates were evacuated to the Sandbostel reception camp .

The crime

Josef Mengele , notorious camp doctor in Auschwitz concentration camp , had received instructions from Berlin to send twenty Jewish children to Neuengamme concentration camp for medical experiments . There they were to be made available to SS doctor Kurt Heissmeyer for human experiments to develop vaccines against tuberculosis .

Neuengamme concentration camp

On November 27, 1944, the children from the Auschwitz concentration camp were brought to the train station, accompanied by three Polish nurses and a doctor. After arriving at Neuengamme concentration camp two days later, two Dutch inmate attendants, Dirk Deutekom and Anton Hölzel, and French professors Ren Quenouille and Gabriel Florence looked after the children. The three Polish nurses who had accompanied the children were hanged five days after their arrival by the report leader Wilhelm Dreimann in the bunker of the Neuengamme concentration camp. The Belgian doctor Paulina Trocki was transferred to the Neuengammer satellite camp in Beendorf .

Heissmeyer, who worked in the Hohenlychen sanatorium , had already carried out human experiments on tuberculosis on Soviet prisoners of war in the Neuengamme concentration camp since June 1944, together with the pathologist Hans Klein . There was no formation of antibodies. This was already known, as publications already existed about unsuccessful attempts that Heissmeyer had either not read or ignored. As early as October 1944 he had to realize that his experiments on the Soviet prisoners of war had failed; Nevertheless, he asked the twenty children for his experiments, which began in mid-January 1945. The prisoner Herbert Kirst had to cut the ten boys and ten girls - in addition to fourteen Poles, a pair of Dutch brothers, two French, a Yugoslav and an Italian - in the chest and rub the bacterial solution into the wound. After two days the children developed a high fever. The children, who were severely weakened by the injuries and the influence of the bacteria, were subjected to a second, very painful series of tests, in which he pushed a rubber tube through the windpipe into the lungs to pour a solution with tuberculosis bacteria directly into the lungs with a cup. This often resulted in injuries and bleeding of the children's lungs. To complete the experiments, the Czech inmate doctor Bogumil Doclik had to remove the children's lymph glands. The children were only given a local anesthetic with novocaine and after two weeks the lymph glands on the other side of their body were removed. Hans Klein found again that no antibodies had formed in these experiments either.

School Bullenhuser Damm

When British troops had already reached the Hamburg city area, the order came from Berlin to eliminate the children in order to cover up the traces of this crime. For this purpose, the children and their carers were taken to the cellars of the empty Bullenhuser Damm school late in the evening of April 20, 1945. The SS doctor Alfred Trzebinski gave the children an injection of morphine , whereupon SS-Unterscharführer Johann Frahm put ropes around their necks and hung them on two hooks in the school's boiler room . That same night, 22 French doctors, two Dutch nurses and 24 Soviet prisoners of war were murdered there.

“Frahm picked up the 12-year-old boy and said to the others: He's going to be put to bed now. He went with him into a room maybe six or eight meters from the lounge, and there I saw a noose on a hook. Frahm hung the sleeping boy in this noose and hung himself with his whole body weight on the boy's body so that the noose would be tightened. I have already seen a lot of human suffering during my time in the concentration camp and I was in a sense numb, but I have never seen children hanged. "(Alfred Trzebinski)

What happened to the bodies of the murder victims could not be conclusively clarified: the bodies were probably brought back to Neuengamme and burned there.

The names of the murdered 20 Jewish children

Memorial in Hamburg-Schnelsen
Memorial stone in the Italian war cemetery in Hamburg-Öjendorf to Sergio de Simone and the other 19 murdered children from Bullenhuser Damm.
  1. Altmann, Mania, seven years old, Polish
  2. Birnbaum, Lelka, twelve years old, Polish
  3. De Simone, Sergio, seven years old, Italian
  4. Goldinger, Surcis, ten to twelve years old, Polish
  5. Herszberg, Rivka, six years old, Polish
  6. Hornemann, Alexander, eight years old, Dutch
  7. Hornemann, Eduard, twelve years old, Dutch
  8. James, Marek, six years old, Pole
  9. Jungleib, Walter, twelve years old, Czechoslovak
  10. Klygermann, Lea, seven years old, Polish
  11. Kohn, Georges-André, twelve years old, French
  12. Mekler, Blumel, ten or eleven years old, Polish
  13. Morgenstern, Jacqueline , twelve years old, French
  14. Reichenbaum, Eduard, ten years old, Pole
  15. Steinbaum, Marek, seven years old, Pole
  16. Wassermann, H., seven or eight years old, Polish
  17. Witońska, Eleonora, five years old, Polish
  18. Witoński, Roman, six years old, Pole
  19. Zeller, Roman, twelve years old, Pole
  20. Zylberberg, Ruchla, eight years old, Polish


While some accomplices, including Trzebinski and Dreimann, were caught shortly after the end of the war and sentenced to death in the Neuengamme main trial on May 3, 1946 , Heissmeyer was able to continue practicing under his real name until the investigation was carried out in 1963 based on a publication in Stern from 1959 led to his arrest in Magdeburg ( GDR ). He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1966 and died there in 1967. Heissmeyer's accomplice Hans Klein was appointed professor at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg and died in 1984. SS-Hauptsturmführer Arnold Strippel , who was charged during the Curiohaus trials and imprisoned for other crimes was accused of complicity in the star in 1979 . He successfully sued against it and obtained a fine . The public prosecutor's office stopped the investigation several times. In 1983, the Justice Senator instructed the public prosecutor to bring charges against Arnold Strippel. The proceedings were closed in 1987 because the accused was unable to stand trial.

The journalist Günther Schwarberg , through his research, his magazine articles in Stern in 1979 and his book Der SS-Arzt und die Kinder vom Bullenhuser Damm, succeeded in saving the names of the children from being forgotten, denouncing the perpetrators and remembering them To keep crimes awake. For many years, Schwarberg was chairman of the Children of Bullenhuser Damm e. V.

From the crime scene to the memorial

After a short interim use as a marine weather station, the building was operated as a school again from 1948. Evidently since 1950 members of the association of those persecuted by the Nazi regime have been laying flowers in the basement to commemorate them. In 1963 a memorial plaque was placed in the stairwell, but it did not mention the Soviet victims.

On April 20, 1979, 2,000 people gathered in front of the school; Family survivors founded the Children from Bullenhuser Damm association, and display boards were put up in the basement. In 1980 the school was declared a memorial by the Senate and named after Janusz Korczak . Shortly afterwards, neo-Nazis from the German Action Groups exploded a pipe bomb in front of the entrance. The rose garden planned in 1982 was inaugurated in 1985. Roses were planted by visitors within sight of the building; Boards remember individual children and a memorial is also set here for the Soviet victims.

In 1986 a so-called “International Tribunal” met in the building to denounce the delay in the trial of the accomplice Strippel. Up until 1996, a public prosecutor tried to have the lettering on an exhibition board removed, which depicts failures in the processing and cited from a discontinuation order.

In 1987, school operations were discontinued due to the lower number of pupils in the catchment area of ​​the Janusz Korczak School.

On April 20, 1995, several streets in the large new building area in the Hamburg district of Schnelsen-Burgwedel were named after the murdered children. A memorial stele donated by citizens was erected on Roman-Zeller-Platz in 2001. In 2003 it was smeared. Commemoration events on the anniversary of the murder take place not only at the crime scene, but also in the Burgwedel district with the participation of the neighboring primary schools.

In 1996 a playground in Verona was named after one of the victims; in Paris a street bears the name of one of the children.

In memory of the children from Bullenhuser Damm, singer and songwriter Hannes Wader published a song of the same name on his album Nach Hamburg in 1989 . In November 2018, “Pamietamy” (memory) for the children from Bullenhuser Damm, a piece for mixed choir, violin, cello and piano by Christine K. Brückner, was performed for the first time.

In May 2005, Finance Senator Wolfgang Peiner (CDU) published a "checklist" for the sale of 243 municipal properties, in which the Bullenhuser Damm 92/94 building was also mentioned. After protests, the responsible press spokesman denied the intention to sell.

The memorial

In 1999 the building was declared a branch of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial , renovated in 2011 and made accessible to visitors as a memorial. In the first room reports are given about the concentration camp satellite camp, the "medical experiments" on the children, the perpetrators and the murdered 20 children and 4 supervisors. In the second room historical documents, memories of contemporary witnesses and criminal prosecution are documented. Then there are the basement rooms where the children were murdered. At least 24 unknown Soviet prisoners were also murdered here.

Pictures from the rose garden


  • Willi Bredel : The Bullenhuser Damm children's concentration camp or who is actually polluting his own nest? In: Willi Bredel: Under towers and masts. History of a city in stories. Petermänken-Verlag, Schwerin 1960.
  • Fritz Bringmann : Child murder on Bullenhuserdamm. SS crimes in Hamburg in 1945, human experiments on children. Published by the Neuengamme working group for d. BRD eV, Hamburg. Röderberg-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1978, ISBN 3-87682-591-1 .
  • Iris Groschek, Kristina Vagt: "... that you know what happened here" - Medical experiments in Neuengamme concentration camp and the murders at Bullenhuser Damm Bremen, Edition Temmen 2012, ISBN 978-3-8378-2022-5 .
  • Günther Schwarberg : My twenty children (= stb 77). Göttingen, Steidl 1996, ISBN 3-88243-431-7 .
  • Günther Schwarberg: The SS doctor and the children from Bullenhuser Damm Göttingen, Steidl 1988, ISBN 3-88243-095-8 (awarded the Anne Frank Medal in 1988 ).
  • Maria Pia Bernicchia: If you want to see your mother step forward. The 20 children of Bullenhuser Damm. A hug for the memory, Proedi Editore, Milano 2012, Kindle edition excerpt
  • Lea Wohl von Haselberg: “Against Forgetting” - Cinematic memory in “Der Rosengarten” . In: Hamburg Key Documents on German-Jewish History, July 20, 2018, doi : 10.23691 / jgo: article-164.de.v1 .
  • Document VEJ 11/215 Diary entry on April 10, 1945. In: Lisa Hauff (edit.): The persecution and murder of European Jews by National Socialist Germany 1933–1945 (collection of sources), Volume 11: German Reich and Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia April 1943-1945 . Berlin / Boston 2020, ISBN 978-3-11-036499-6 , pp. 562-564

Web links

Commons : Bullenhuser Damm memorial  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Günther Schwarberg: Inferno and Liberation - Hanging twenty children takes a long time. In: The time . No. 15, April 6, 2005.
  2. ^ Commemoration for the children from Bullenhuser Damm. In: Hamburger Abendblatt , April 20, 2019, p. 12. Source dpa.
  3. Trzebinski's statement, quoted from: Günther Schwarberg: Inferno and Liberation - Hanging twenty children takes a long time. In: The time. No. 15, dated April 6, 2005.
  4. Dierk Strothmann: The children from Bullenhuser Damm. In: Hamburger Abendblatt , April 20, 2005.
  5. Thomas Schattner: Strippel's blood trail through Europe's concentration camps - it began 70 years ago here in Unshausen. ( Memento from July 23, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) In: Association for the promotion of the memorial and the Archives Breitenau e. V. Newsletter. No. 24, 2005, ZDB -ID 917090-x , pp. 57–62, here p. 60, (PDF; 107 kB) with photo by Strippel.
  6. Identification after 70 years www.kz-gedenkstaette-neuengamme.de
  7. The age information changed on June 13, 2013 and the first name Blumel were taken from the book “Street of Remembrance” (published by the Association for Children from Bullenhuser Damm eV ).
  8. ^ Homepage of the association ( Memento of November 3, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Deliah Cavalli-Ritterhoff: District remembers children from Bullenhuser Damm kirche-hamburg.de, April 16, 2015, accessed on June 17, 2019.
  10. Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial (ed.): Bullenhuser Damm Memorial. Branch of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial. Leaflet from April 2011.

Coordinates: 53 ° 32 ′ 31 ″  N , 10 ° 2 ′ 52 ″  E