The Bullenhuser Damm Memorial
is a memorial site of the Foundation of Hamburg Memorials and Learning Centres Commemorating the Victims of Nazi Crimes. It honours the memory of 20 Jewish children and at least 28 adults who were murdered by SS men in the basement of the building on 20 April 1945. Before they were murdered, the children were abused for pseudo-medical experiments at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp. The Memorial comprises an exhibition and a rose garden.
Visit in Times of Coronavirus
For your protection and that of our staff, we have implemented the following distancing and hygiene measures, which we kindly ask you to observe. Please note: Only come and visit the memorial site…read more
Commemoration at Bullenhuser Damm
Friday, April 20, 2018, a commemoration was held at the Bullenhuser Damm Memorial, where 73 years ago 20 children, their four caregivers, and 24 Soviet prisoners were killed by the SS. The children…read more
Remembering the Children of Bullenhuser Damm
The story of the murder of 20 Jewish children in a former school, Bullenhuser Damm, in Hamburg-Rothenburgsort 72 years ago is being told in books and at holocaust memorials all over the world. The…read more
Commemoration Ceremony at Bullenhuser Damm with a Special Guest
The ceremony was held at the Bullenhuser Damm on the 20th of April 2016 to mark the 71st anniversary of the murder of twenty Jewish children, their four caretakers, and several still unknown adult…read more
Events (in german)
- Sunday, October 4, 2020 14:00–16:00
Die Kinder vom Bullenhuser Damm
Öffentliche Führung durch die Gedenkstätte mit Alexis Werner.
- Sunday, November 1, 2020 14:00–16:00
Die Kinder vom Bullenhuser Damm
Öffentliche Führung durch die Gedenkstätte mit Dieter Schlichting.
The SS physician
Dr Kurt Heißmeyer conducted tuberculosis experiments on prisoners in Neuengamme concentration camp. For this purpose, he had ten girls and ten boys brought to him from Auschwitz concentration camp in November 1944. They were between 5 and 12 years old. The children were cared for by two French prison doctors and two Dutch male prison nurses, who had been imprisoned as resistance fighters. Afterwards, to cover up the crime of this experiment, the SS decided to murder the children and their four caretakers. Just days before the end of the war, they were brought to the Bullenhuser Damm School, which was being used as a satellite camp at that time, in the war-ravaged district of Rothenburgsort. There, they were murdered in the basement of the school on the night of 20 April 1945. That same night, at least 24 Soviet concentration camp prisoners were also hanged in the basement.
Featured here are the stories of people
who were affected by the murders committed at Bullenhuser Damm. The identities of the murdered children, their background and the fate of their families remained unknown for a long time. This is still true to this day for four of the children and the Soviet prisoners. In the early post-war years, only the identities of the prisoners who had looked after the children were known, thanks to the accounts given by surviving prisoners who had worked with these carers in the infirmary.
Clicking a picture displays that person’s short biography.
In 1941 the Morgenstern family from France were forced to hand over their hair salon in Paris to a gentile. They later fled to Marseilles where they were arrested, taken to an internment camp for Jews in Drancy and then deported to Auschwitz on May 20, 1944. Jacqueline’s mother Suzanne Morgenstern was murdered there. On November 28, 1944 Jacqueline was taken to the Neuengamme concentration camp. She was 12 when she was killed in Bullenhuser Damm.
You can read more about Jacqueline Morgenstern in the Open Archives
After the German Wermacht occupied Poland in 1939, Ruchla’s father Nison Zylberberg fled to the Soviet Union with the intention of getting his family to join him later. However, after Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, this was no longer possible. The Jewish girls Ruchla and her sister Ester were deported to Auschwitz with their mother Fajga. Ruchla’s mother and sister were murdered there and she was taken to Neuengamme on November 28, 1944. Ruchla was 8 when she was murdered in Bullenhuser Damm.
You can read more about Ruchla Zylberberg in the Open Archives.
Anton Hölzel was a member of the Communist Party and worked as a driver and a waiter in a café. On September 10, 1941 he was arrested by the German Security Police in The Hague for possession of a banned newspaper. He was deported to Neuengamme. On June 6, 1944 he was assigned to work at the Neuengamme infirmary and had to look after the 20 children. He was murdered in the night of April 20, 1945 together with the children.
You can read more about Anton Hölzel in the Open Archives.
Professor Gabriel Florence was arrested by the “Gestapo” shortly after he had joined Comité Médical de la Résistance, an organization of doctors in the resistance, in late 1943. He was fist taken to the Montluc prison close to Lyon and on June 7, 1944 transferred to the Neuengamme concentration camp, where he was assigned to the infirmary. He tried to kill off the tuberculosis bacteria by boiling the suspension before children were injected with it. He was murdered in the night of April 20, 1945 together with the 20 children in Bullenhuser Damm.
You can read more about Gabriel Florence in the Open Archives.
“The last time I saw my children was in November 1944 in Auschwitz. I was separated from them and taken to the women’s camp [...]”
After her liberation, Rucza Witońska, Roman and Eleonore’s mother, looked for her children in Radom, Auschwitz and other places. In 1946 she found out that the SS transferred 20 Jewish children from Auschwitz to Neuengamme. It was not before 1981 that she learned what exactly happened to her children in Hamburg. Roman was 6 and Eleonore 5 years old when they were murdered in Bullenhuser Damm on April 20, 1945.
“There are traces of our existence. And that is very important. If there were no names, it would be forgotten… just like that.”
You can read more about the Witoński siblings in the Open Archives.
In the night of April 20, between 24 and 30 Soviet prisoners were murderer in Bullenhuser Damm. Six of them were brought to Bullenhuser Damm from Neuengamme together with the children and their caretakers, while the rest came from the Spaldinstraße satellite camp. Their identities and reason they were murdered are unclear.
You can read more about the Soviet prisoners in the Open Archives.
In 1943 Jewish employees of the Philips company in the Netherlands, where Eduard’s father worked, were taken to the Vught concentration camp. Elisabeth Hornemann followed her husband with their sons Eduard and Alexander. On June 3, 1944 the family was transferred from Vught to Auschwitz. The brothers were taken to Neuengamme on November 28, 1944. Eduard was 12 and his brother Alexander 8 when they were murdered at Bullenhuser Damm. Their parents didn’t survive either.
You can read more about Eduard Hornemann in the Open Archives.
The name Birnbaum for one of the children of Bullenhuser Damm was found on a list published in 1945 by a Danish physician Dr. Henry Meyer, a former prisoner. Her full name “Lelka Birnbaum.” is also noted on a cover sheet of an x-ray. The only things known about her is that she came from Poland and was 12 when she was murdered in Bullenhuser Damm on April 20, 1945.
You can read more about the children from Bullenhuser Damm in the Open Archives.
Sergio de Simone
Sergio’s father Edoardo de Simone was deported to Dortmund for forced labor. His Jewish wife Gizella and their son Sergio moved from Naples to Fiume in 1943, where they were arrested together with seven other family members on March 21, 1944. On April 4, 1944 the family was deported to Auschwitz. Sergio had to work there as an errand boy until he was taken to the Neuengamme concentration camp for medical experiments. Sergio de Simone was 7 when he was murdered in Bullenhuser Damm.
You can read more about Sergio de Simone in the Open Archives
The Bullenhuser Damm Memorial and Rose Garden for the Children of Bullenhuser Damm
was built in 1980 by the Children of Bullenhuser Damm Association to commemorate the victims of this crime. In 2011, a new permanent exhibition was opened (in German and English). It provides visitors with information about the site as a school and as a satellite camp of Neuengamme. It also tells about the medical experiments, the victims, how they were murdered, the perpetrators and how these crimes were dealt with after 1945. Roses can be planted in memory of the murdered children and prisoners in the rose garden behind the school playground. A bronze sculpture by Anatoli Mossitschuk was also erected in 1985 to commemorate the Soviet prisoners.