Friday, May 31, 2013

Traces of Holocaust in Stockholm II - The Adas Jeschurun synagogue that survived the Kristallnacht destruction of November 8, 1938


Before the Kristallnacht, the night of the shattered glass, there had been 12 or 13 synagogues in Hamburg. Of these, one had been seized and converted to a radio station, the rest had been burned to the ground and two remained. One was overlooked (no. 5 Heinrich-Barth-Straße) as it was in the ordinary building. 

The second "shul" that remained was old and large. It was built one hundred years earlier in the rear of a row of high apartment houses so that it would not be visible from the street. A narrow alley led from the street to the entrance of the "shul." Burning it would have endangered the apartment houses and so it was left intact. For the last Yom Kippur, (September 23rd 1939) there was therefore only one synagogue left in Hamburg. Here the Chief Rabbi of Hamburg, Dr. Joseph Carlebach began his last sermon to his people. Suddenly, without warning the rabbi stopped speaking. Two uniformed Nazi troopers appeared at the front of the "shul" and in stentorian voices announced that all Jews were to go home, get their radios and their silverware and deliver them promptly at the nearest police precinct.

Below is the picture of no. 5 Heinrich-Barth-Straße in Hamb
urg. In this 
ordinary residential building two storeys, the lower- and upper ground floors,  were combined to a shul. Especially raised platform contained places for women. The synagogue held 80 places for men and 45 places for women.

The synagogue "survived" the Kristallnacht and it was decided to place it outside Nazi Germany. The choice was Sweden.

The Chief Rabbi of Hamburg, Dr. Joseph Carlebach, looked for an opportunity to save the synagogue that survived the Kristallnacht. He contacted his old friend, Hans Lehmann, a Jew from Hamburg who had moved to Stockholm, and asked if he was willing to take over all effects from the Heinrich-Barth-Strasse Synagogue. 

Licence applications for "Holz und Hausrat" = "Old furniture and wood" were submitted to the German authorities. They did not see any obstacle to let the "old junk." to be transported out of Germany. Thus, because, it was not quite clear that it was a question to transfer a synagogue.   Finally, the necessary license was granted and synagogue equipment was dismantled and taken to the free port of Hamburg along with all loose furniture and other items that were left in the synagogue as siddurim, taletim, tefillin, etc.

On October 19th, 1939 the Gestapo in the report to the Hamburg State administration informed that the synagogue at the Heinrich -Barth -Straße was not any more existing and the rooms were turned into apartments. In the Hamburg fire in 1943, the house was fully destroyed.

Former No. 5 Heinrich-Barth-Straße, Hamburg. The building was destroyed in an air-raid in 1943.

Rabbi Joseph Carlebach that saved the synagogue was later deported to the Nazi concentration camp Jungfernhof , where he was murdered on March 26, 1942 during the mass shooting of approximately 1600 Jews, mostly older people and children, that became known as the Dünamünde Action. This occurred in the Biķerniecki forest, near RigaLatvia, which was the site of numerous other shootings perpetrated by the Nazis and their Latvian collaborators.


Interior of the former synagogue housed at No. 5 Heinrich-Barth-Straße. The shul survived November 8 1938 night and was 6 month later transported by ship from Hamburg to Stockholm.


Adas Jeschurun is now situated at Riddargatan 5. The interior originally came from a synagogue in Hamburg which survived Kristallnacht in Germany 1938 and was shipped to Sweden in April 1939, just before the World War II outbrake. 


The paintings were found first when moving  Adas Jeschurun to the location Riddargatan 5. Paintings were overpainted, most probably before shipment to Sweden so German custom would not stop the export of "furniture". In the begining of 1990 the specialists uncovered Art Nouveau paintings. However, there are some benches without Art Nouveau paintings. These benches were manufactured later in Sweden when Adas Jeschurun moved to a bigger hall.



Where Have All the Flowers Gone? or Who painted over them in 1939? Picture taken in Stockholm. flowere are overpainted! There is also a kind of protection with a common iron bar on the lower part of the cabinet. One can see six protection windows for the individual parts o cabinet. First in the begining of 1990 one found "paintings and started restauration to the original state. Picture taken in Stockholm 1939-1940.


The synagogue is situated on the 2nd floor in the building housing the Hillel School.




On Saturday September, 28 2013, the last Shabbat will be celebrated in Adat Jeschuruns premises at Riddargatan 5 (5 Knight Street). On the 5th of October 2013 is the end of an era at the Riddargatan location.

Aron HaKodesh cabinet is also typical for the Art Nouveau style furniture.

Very interesting and new for me was the decorations on the pews short sides and on the Bimah and Aron HaKodesh cabinet. They were so typical of the Art Nouveau style flowers. Viewing the picture here of Aron HaKodesh cabinet you see white lilies with green stalks.

Interior of the present synagogue housed at No. 5 Riddargatan street

Blessed are those who believe without seeing
I had a stron feeling that there is more hidden artifacts in the Yeshurun Synagogue. I was just right. First I got messages that noting more was found during the move.
However after some hours and work by the Rabies wife things changed and I got a blessed message. Roman, I found it! See below!



to be saved as they are - not fully uncovered!

to be saved as they are - not fully uncovered!

Vor 75 Jahren: Wie eine Hamburger Gemeinde ihre Synagoge nach Schweden rettete


The story of the Yeshurun Synagogue as told by Bert Lehmann 

As my father and I stood on a chilly April day in 1939 at the pier in Stockholm awaiting the arrival of a freight ship, a moment of fascinating history was about to happen: The rescue of the only synagogue to have survived the barbaric Kristallnacht destruction of November 8, 1938 in Nazi Germany. 

It is hard to believe that the municipality in Hamburg gave the chief rabbi permission to ship out the complete interior of that old small shul at the Heinrich Barthstrasse to anyone outside of Germany ready to accept the untouched House of Jewish worship. The Nazi hoodlums simply bypassed the hidden synagogue inside a regular city building, making it the only synagogue to survive that fateful night. My father, Hans Lehmann, of blessed memory, without hesitation agreed to have everything saved to be shipped to Sweden. This is what we waited for at the pier. 

However, as the ship unloaded we noticed with dismay and sorrow that the Nazi-German workers evidently were eager to break everything possible. My father was told to forget the whole thing. But this was not his way. He mobilized good carpenters and people ready to fix everything to its previous beauty. 

Since that time, the rescued shul became a vision for the future of the Jewry in Sweden, and a beacon for traditional Judaism all over the world. 

В ночь с 9 на 10 ноября 1938 года с "Хрустальной ночи" начались массовые еврейские погромы в Германии. Сегодня мир отмечает международный день против фашизма и антисемитизма



Please check also:

Traces of Holocaust in Stockholm I - The Stockholm Holocaust Monument - Memorial


Traces of Holocaust in Stockholm III - Cemeteries