*1938 in Radom, Polen
The commemoration ceremony for the Children of Bullenhuser Damm is held annually on 20 April at 6pm in the school gym at Bullenhuser Damm. Every year relatives of the children from all over the world are among the guests. The ceremony is open to the public. Everyone is warmly invited to attend.
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A series of articles about Nazi war crimes in Bullenhuser Dam in the magazine STERN in 1979 was the beginning – following the traces and solving the murder of the 20 Jewish children and their attendants became the life’s work of the journalist Günther Schwarberg, who died in December 2008. It is thanks to his perseverance that the names of the children, attendants and doctors have not been forgotten. He and his wife Barbara Hüsing were the first Germans to be awarded the Anne Frank medal in 1988.
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Among the countless crimes committed by Germans during the National Socialist regime, the murders in the cellar of the school in Bullenhuser Damm were an especially abhorrent, shocking and inconceivable deed. […] We are united in our mourning for those killed. Yet it also places us Germans under an obligation. It obliges us not to forget what happened, not to forget the crimes in which so many were complicit. For too long, this guilt was concealed, suppressed and forgotten.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Every year on 20 April, the association Kinder vom Bullenhuser Damm e.V. holds a memorial service for the 20 children and 28 adults who were murdered by the SS in the former school building during the night of 20 to 21 April 1945.
"The unscrupulous murder of Edo and Lexje Hornemann" by Lout Donders
Recording of the commemoration on 20 April 2022
The story of the Children of Bullenhuser Damm
In the night from 20 to 21 April 1945, SS troops murdered 20 Jewish children and at least 28 adults in the basement of the building at Bullenhuser Damm 92-94. Before their murder the children, from Poland, Slovakia, Italy, France and the Netherlands, had suffered agonizing medical experiments as prisoners in Neuengamme Concentration Camp. In order to cover up the experiments during the clearance of the camp, the children had to die. Relatives of the children only found out about their fate many decades later – or not at all. Every year on 20 April many relatives from all over the world come to remember the children in the school at Bullenhuser Damm in Hamburg.
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Identified after 70 years
For 70 years, 85-year-old Grete Hamburg lived in the belief that her brother Walter died during a death march from Auschwitz. Grete Hamburg was a teenager when she survived the Shoa; today she lives near Tel Aviv. Less than 100 kilometres away in Haifa lives Bella Reichenbaum. She has been coming to the commemoration ceremony on 20 April in Hamburg for many years. After this year’s commemoration, Bella Reichenbaum returned home to Israel and set out to trace the previously unidentified boy, W. Junglieb.
On a list of names of prisoners in a transport from Auschwitz to Lippstadt she discovered, in addition to the names of some of her relations, two women with the name Jungleib. She was then able to contact the Jungleib family through the website of the Yad Vashem memorial. She found out that Walter Jungleib (the correct spelling) was deported to Auschwitz from Hlohovec in Slovakia. His identification is based on the similarity of the name, his age, and the fact that the name of his mother is included with the other mothers of the “20 children” on the deportation list for Lippstadt.
Grete Hamburg wrote to the Neuengamme Concentration Camp memorial in July 2015: “I was and still am so distressed and stunned – I can hardly describe my feelings. […] My father, my mother, Walter and I were deported to Auschwitz in October 1944. The men and children were separated from us. Walter had forgotten his cap and came back to fetch it, so that he was the last in the line. He turned and waved and smiled. And that was the last time that my mother and I saw Walter.”
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The Children of Bullenhuser Damm Association has put together a travelling exhibition for children and teenagers which can be loaned to schools and public bodies.
THE 20 CHILDREN
For a long time this child was called "Surcis Goldinger". The Italian researcher Alberta Bezzan of the Fondazione Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea (CDEC) and the author Maria Pia Bernicchia have established through their research that the correct name is in fact Sara Goldfinger.
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After 70 years Grete Hamburg learned about her brother Walter's fate, who was 12 years old when he was murdered at Bullenhuser Damm. On April 20th 2016 she visited the commemoration ceremony and the memorial at Bullenhuser Damm for the first time.
MEMORIAL OPENING TIMES
The memorial is open every Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Entry is free.
Educational guides through the exhibition for groups and school classes can be booked through Museumsdienst Hamburg:
Tel: +49 (0) 40 428 13 10
INFORMATION ABOUT THE MEMORIAL
Further information can be obtained via Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial:
Tel: +49 (0) 40 428 13 15 00
Gedenkstätte Bullenhuser Damm
Bullenhuser Damm 92
D - 20539 Hamburg
“If I had to summarize (the Holocaust) in one place, then it would not be Auschwitz, it would be Bullenhuser Damm. More than a million people died in Auschwitz; 20 children died at Bullenhuser Damm. They were used by the Nazis for medical experiments. In April 1945 the SS brought these children into the heating room in the middle of the night and hanged them. The youngest were five years old. There can be nothing worse than that.”
Erich Hartmann, photographer and author of the book “In the Camps”