On 20 April, a memorial event attended by many relatives commemorated 20 Jewish children and at least 28 adults who were murdered 77 years ago by SS men in a school building at Bullenhuser Damm in Hamburg-Rothenburgsort.
The event was organised by The Children of Bullenhuser Damm Association.
The programme began with a memorial service not open to the public attended by the relatives of the murdered children: from Israel Arnon and Gilad Reichenbaum (nephews of Eduard Reichenbaum); Guy James and his family (second cousin of Marek James); from the USA Mark James (brother of Marek James) with his wife, two sons and their families; from France Marc-Alain Grumelin (steobrother of Eleonora and Roman Witonski), Jeremy Morgenstern (second cousin of Jaqueline Morgenstern); from Belgium Andra and Tatiana Bucci (cousins of Sergio de Simone) and from Hamburg the Zylberberg family (family of Ruchla Zylberberg). Grete Hamburg with her granddaughters (sister of Walter Jungleib) unfortunately couldn´t attend due to an accident.
This commemoration was broadcast live on the internet and is now available online on the Association's website: memorial service
"Among the countless crimes committed by Germans during the National Socialist regime, the murders in the cellar of the school on Bullenhuser Damm are a particularly heinous, shocking and inconceivable act. [...] The mourning for the dead unites us. But it also obliges us Germans. It obliges us not to forget what happened and what so many were involved in. For far too long, this guilt has been concealed, repressed and forgotten." (Frank-Walter Steinmeier)
Daniel Zylberberg opened the memorial service as a representative of The Children of Bullenhuser Damm Association, before a written greeting from Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was read out. Carola Veit, President of the Hamburg Parliament, also addressed the audience with a video greeting. Second Mayor Katharina Fegebank then spoke, before Prof. Detlef Garbe gave the keynote address, outlining the development of the memorial and recalling the services to remembrance of Barbara Hüsing, who had stepped down as managing director of the association after 42 years.
"I feel that the presence today of almost 20 relatives of the children murdered here, who have travelled from Israel, the USA, France and Belgium or who have made a journey, not so long but nevertheless difficult, as family living in this city, is a great gift - and I am sure that many or all here will feel similarly." (Detlef Garbe)
Other speeches came from Jeremy Morgenstern, who read out a letter from his father Henri, and volunteers from the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial, who designed the current art installation at Bullenhuser Damm. Adeng Joseph and Jonas Schultz from the Brecht School spoke about the meaning of remembrance for them personally, before students from the Klosterschule High School and the Brecht School Hamburg commemorated the murdered children by name. The programme was accompanied by music from the WAKS Ensemble.
After the event, there was a public commemoration in the Rose Garden of the memorial. This in turn was accompanied by a musical-dance performance "Memory Room" directed by Dirk Schattner with dancers, the opera singer Kathryn Wieckhorst and Hamburg pupils from the Bergedorf district school.
In addition to the memorial service, there were other events to commemorate Bullenhuser Damm. On the morning of 20 April, there was a memorial hour by the 4th class of the Anna-Susanna-Stieg and Rönnkamp primary schools and the Schnelsen parish in Burgwedel, a district where street names commemorate the children of Bullenhuser Damm. In addition, an invitation was extended to a midday service in the main church of St. Michaelis. The travelling exhibition of The Children of Bullenhuser Damm Association will be shown in the "Freiraum" at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe and the book "Wir, Mädchen aus Auschwitz" (We, Girls from Auschwitz) will be presented on 21 April in the presence of Auschwitz survivors Andra and Tatiana Bucci, who are cousins of Sergio de Simone, who was murdered at Bullenhuser Damm. The programme was concluded by an online discussion at the Friedich Ebert Foundation on the topic of "Remembering the Holocaust - what does that mean for us personally?"