Between November 1944 and 11 April 1945, there was a satellite camp of Neuengamme concentration camp in the school on Bullenhuser Damm, in the middle of the bombed-out restricted zone of Rothenburgsort. The Hamburg city council had made the school building available to the SS-owned company Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke GmbH for housing prisoners. It was probably in late November 1944 that an advance commando began to convert the school into a satellite camp. The prisoners were then taken to Rothenburgsort where they were primarily forced to carry out construction work, using rubble to create bricks and slabs. A report from 29 March 1945 by Dr. Trzebinski, the SS Garrison Physician at Neuengamme concentration camp, records that 592 men were assigned to the satellite camp as of 25 March 1944, but the camp probably held many more prisoners than this since the SS Economic Administration Main Office (SS-Wirtschaftsverwaltungshauptamt) had approved the deployment of 1,000 prisoners there. Most of the prisoners came from Poland or the Soviet Union. After the satellite camp was evacuated between 9 and 11 April 1945, the SS transported the men to the Sandbostel POW camp.
In the night of 20 April 1945, the evacuated satellite camp was the site of a mass killing when SS men murdered 20 Jewish children in the basement of the school building. Prior to this, SS “doctor” Kurt Heißmeyer had carried out medical experiments on the five- to twelve-year-olds in Neuengamme concentration camp. Two prisoner nurses from the Netherlands and two French doctors who had tended to the children in Neuengamme were hanged along with the children. Just a few hours after this atrocity, 24 Soviet prisoners from the Spaldingstraße satellite camp were taken to the school and also executed.
SS-Oberscharführer Ewald Jauch was commander of the satellite camp.
November 1944 to 9/11 April 1945
1000 Male Prisoners
Rubble removal, processing of rubble, clearance work
Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke GmbH
Gedenkstätte Bullenhuser Damm und Rosengarten für die Kinder vom Bullenhuser Damm
Bullenhuser Damm 92
(signposted from “Rothenburgsort” urban rail station [S-Bahn])
When the school began operating again in 1948, there was nothing to commemorate the satellite camp or the mass murder which had taken place there in April 1945. Former prisoners of Neuengamme concentration camp regularly held memorial ceremonies on the anniversary of the murder of the children, their caretakers and the Soviet prisoners, and in 1963 the Hamburg city council installed a plaque in the entrance to the school. But it was not until the Kinder vom Bullenhuser Damm e.V. association was founded in 1979 that there was any public discussion of this historic site. In 1980, the school was renamed the Janusz-Korczak-Schule, and the first exhibition opened in the cellar of the building.
The memorial, which was privately maintained for a long time before the association was founded, was designed in several stages. In 1987, Jürgen Waller, an artist from Bremen, painted a room-sized mural entitled “21 April 1945, 5 in the morning”, which shows the cellar of the school on the morning after the children were murdered. The site was handed over to the Hamburg city council in 1999 and is today a branch of the Neuengamme concentration camp memorial. 2011 the exhibition (German, English) was redesigned, new rooms were added, and different media were included in the exhibition.
In addition to the exhibition, a rose garden designed by Hamburg artist Lili Fischer has commemorated the victims of the mass murder since 1985. Visitors to the memorial can plant a rose here in remembrance of the victims. Relatives of the children and their caretakers have fixed small personal plaques with photos to the fence around the garden. In 1995, the Soviet Ministry of Culture unveiled a bronze sculpture by Anatoly Mosiychuk on the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the camp to commemorate the Soviet prisoners who had been murdered there.
Vereinigung Kinder vom Bullenhuser Damm e.V.
Bahrenfelder Kirchenweg 29