BIOGRAPHIES IN ENGLISH
Bamberger, Simon

Bamberger, Simon Simcha
rabbi, born in Würzburg on July 21, 1871, died in Kirjath Motzkin (Israel) on April 13, 1961

B. came from a Würzburg family with rich tradition of rabbis. After he had qualified as rabbi in 1894, he started work in his place of birth. From 1899 on he had acted as rabbi and teacher of religious education in Hohensalza (Posen), where he met his wife Bertha, née Cohn. In 1902 he was appointed rabbi of the Jewish community in Prussian Wandsbek. His years of service were characterized by a continous change between integration and exclusion. A grand highlight of his career was probably the 25th anniversary of his ministry as rabbi which took place in 1927. On this occasion he was honored and congratulated by important members of Jewish and Christian communities as well as representatives of public authorities and politics. However, shortly afterwards, events based on anti-Semitism affected the family life. In 1930, the daughter Kela emigrated to Palestine and was followed in 1935 by her sister Male and Hella. B. went to see his daughters in Palestine in 1936. However, for the time being he returned to Wandsbek, where he was temporarily arrested after a nocturnal prayer service he had announced to the authorities beforehand. As chairman of the Henry Jones-Lodge he was taken into so-called protective custody sometime later. In view of the increasing anti-Semitic daily harrassments B. felt obliged to leave Wandsbek. For the time being he and his wife moved to Schlueterstrasse near Grindel, where he managed the museum for Jewish ethnology and the library of the Jewish community which was also housed there. In February 1939, the couple could leave for Palestine. Unfortunately, they could not take along the ample private library. They settled down in Kirjath Motzkin near Haifa, where B. lived until his death at the age of 90. B. left behind a legacy of a number of essays, articles and sermons. A memorial stone was placed on the Jewish cemetery Koenigsreihe as a reminder of the last rabbi of the Jewish community.

Astrid Louven
translator: Eva Gehle

German text-version out of: Das Jüdische Hamburg Ein historisches Nachschlagewerk, Hrsg. Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden, Göttingen 2006, S. 30-31 return

Heppner, Ernst

Heppner, Ernst
Physician, born on September 4, 1891 in Koschmin (Posen), died in Jerusalem on December 16, 1973

After his graduation as medical practitioner H. settled down in Hamburg. In 1929 he opened a medical office in Wandsbek. On April 1, 1933 he had to suffer from a boykott action. He documented the incident with photos in order to express his resistance. In Jue 1933, H. was defined a being non-Aryan. As a consequence he lost his medical license and thus his occupational existence. In September 1934, H. had to leave Hamburg together with his wife and his three children. He emigrated to Palestine and opened up a small medical office in Jerusalem. As his income from the practice was not enough to make ends meet, he temporarily worked as a ship’s doctor and also in various hospitals.
In 1939 he traveled to Belgium in order to get some relatives out of Germany with the aid of false papers and to raise money for the constitution of the Jewish State. However, he was arreted and deported to Palestine where he lived the following years under poor conditions without a comfortable income. After the end ot the war, H. learnt that his father and sisters together with their families had become victims of the Holocaust. He once again had to suffer from depression and from a relpse of a former heart disease which made it nearly impossible for himto earn his living. In 1955 H. returned to Hamburg for medical treatment. At about the same time he started to fight for compensation for the financial loss and the career damages he had sustained. In order to obtain a pension from the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Phsicians, he once again had to practice as a doctor in Hamburg – at the age of 65 and accompanied by his wife. In 1961 the couple returned to Jerusalem for good.

Astrid Louven
translator: Eva Gehle

German text-version out of: Das Jüdische Hamburg Ein historisches Nachschlagewerk, Hrsg. Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden, Göttingen 2006, S. 112-113 return




Victor, Willy

Victor, Willy
Lawyer, born in Posen on January 20, 1876, died in Israel on April 2, 1956

V. came to Wandsbek in 1904, together with hes wife Lisbeth, née Rinteln, and settled down as lawyer and notary. Though he was not religious, he took a stand for the internal and external enhancement of the Jewish community. In 1905 he became co-founder of the Jewish People’s Association, joined the board of the Zionist Chapter Hamburg in 1906 and, in 1913 he wrote an essay about the diffculties the Jews in Schleswig-Holstein had to face with emancipation. Since 1914, he had represented the Social Democratic Party as city council member in Wandsbek. After his return from the war, he acted as honorary alderman in 1920. He still kept an eye on Jewish issues: he was member of the Jewish community in Wandsbek and had worked for a long time for the association of the Jewish communities of Schleswig-Holstein and the Hanseatic Cities. As early as in April 1933, V. was persecuted by the SA, because he was member of the Jewish community and the Social Democratic Party. At first he hid with relatives in Altona and finally went to Switzerland. His family who was left behind soon followed him and eventually they emigrated to Palestine. After his arrival, V. worked as coeditor of a newsletter for immigrants from Germany and thus once again was active for the benefit of other people. However, his iefforts to settle down as businessman in Tel Aviv failed. When he was forced to give up his business after four years, V. lost the major part of his capital shares he had managed to preserve from Germany. Also his activities as grower of vegetables and flowers could not generate sufficient proceeds to make a living, particularly since he fell ill, had to undergo various operations and went almost blind at last. His financial situation did not improve until 1954, just two years before his death, when he received compensatory damages from Germany.

Astrid Louven
translator: Eva Gehle

German text-version out of: Das Jüdische Hamburg Ein historisches Nachschlagewerk, Hrsg. Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden, Göttingen 2006, S. 262 + 266 return

Wandsbek, Jewish Community

The JEWISH community of Wandsbek

The first Jewish families settled in Wandsbek on the Rantzau estate, probably as early as 1583/84. A reliable proof of Jewish immigration dates from the year 1621 when four Protected Jews moved over from Altona. Another Protected Jew died immediately after his arrival, followed by the death of other Jews and the issue of organizing funerals according to the Jewish ritual became rather urgent.
Meanwhile, the estate had been taken over by the Danish king and was subject to Berend von Hagen. In 1637 the renter granted the privilege of complete religious freedom to the Protected Jews, i. e. he allowed religious services, funerals and circumcisions. For the funerals they were assigned a piece of land on the cemetery Koenigsreihe. For this land the Jews had to pay moderate protection fees. The granted rights included also nonresident Jews. In the course of one generation the community had established itself. It comprised Jews who had been expelled from Hamburg, religious expatriates from Vilnius and the well-off extended family Delbanco from Venice who had been expelled from Vienna in 1670. In 1671 the community became part of the three communities AHW (Altona, Hamburg, Wandsbek). Within this new congregation the Jews were free to choose their place of residence and a number of them moved to Hamburg, but remained Protected Jews of Wandsbek. In the 18th century only 6 �
� 7 families lived in Wandsbek, compared to 123 families in Hamburg. The Jews who had stayed on the Rantzau manor acted as retailers of goods and unclaimed deposits as well as kosher butchers and vendors of meat. In 1811 the three communities had to separate by order of the French prefect in Hamburg. Consequently, the Wandsbek community lost the majority of its solvent members and was now thrown back on its own resources. Until 1840 it consolidated financially to the extent that for the first time they could build a synagogue together with adjacent parochial school in the backyard of Langereihe (Koenigsreihe). The community’s first rabbi who had completed a rabbinic seminar and a university education was David Hanover; he was elected in 1863. Thus the community substantiated its demand for civil equality. However, this led to conflicts with the magistrate W., on the one hand with regard to the erection of so-called Jews’ Gates throughout the town and on the other hand be
cause of the burial of a non-resident Jew in 1883 which was regarded as illegal. A survey commissioned by public authorities finally led to the closing-down of the first cemetery in 1884. A new cemetery could be inaugurated in Jenfelder Straße in 1886. Simon Bamberger was appointed rabbi of the community consisting of 200 members in 1902. He managed the community’s issues together with the church leader Benjamin Wolf (Benny) Beith until its disbandment. Around 1900 and again in 1920 the community went through some changes owing to the immigration of new members from German-Polish provinces.
In 1938, the Jewish congregations of Hamburg, Altona, Wandsbek and Harburg-Wilhelmsburg were forced to consolidate and thus established the Jewish Religious Association Hamburg. This was the end of the former Wandsbek community, which had already dwindled considerably as many members had emigrated or moved away. The synagogue was closed in October 1938. During the November pogrom, cemeteries, the synagogue and several stores were subject of anti-Semitic attacks and devastations. At least 100 community members had been deported since 1941, only two of them survived. Today, only the two cemeteries, a memorial stone for Rabbi Bamberger and one for the synagogue as well as the “cobble stones”/ ”stumbling blocks” for individual deportees remind of this time-honored community.
Astrid Louven translator: Eva Gehle
German version out of: Das Jüdische Hamburg Ein historisches Nachschlagewerk, Hrsg. vom Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden, Göttingen 2006, S.266-268 return