The lost war letters at the Heinrich Hertz school

1933

In 1933, Rolf graduated from the Heinrich Hertz gymnasium school.
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20130513_164416The original school is located close to Schlump train station.
Over the years, the Heinrich Hertz School has merged with two other schools, and today it is located in the north of the city and named after the original school. During my meeting with writer Urs, he tells me about letters between the family in Germany, and my grandmother Palestina. He asks me to try to locate the letters in question. I check with my family but none of my grandmother’s six children knows about such letters. it remains a mystery.
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During the research conducted by Rudiger Pohlmann, he locates a woman named Ursula Randt who knew the grandmother Helga, in the days after the war in Hamburg. He writes her a letter but discovers that Ursula is no longer alive. Later, Rudiger locates Dr. Christina Pritzloff, a teacher at the Heinrich Hertz school, who according to the documentation met with my grandmother several times.Dr. Prizloff answers him but does not offer too many details, and I decide to contact Dr. Prizloff myself to see if she has any more information.

The German education system is obliged to teach in schools about the Holocaust. The  Heinrich Hertz chose to teach the subject from the perspective of the Jewish children who studied there during the era until they were not allowed to study there any longer. Rolf was one of them, and his story is highlighted in the yearly program.

Dr. Prizloff invites me to visit Heinrich Hertz School, where I am amazed to find a memorial plaque with the names of the school children who perished in the Holocaust:

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On the wall hangs a picture of my family and letters and texts written by Rolf. One of the stories, for example, is a story about a couple of Germans who decide to immigrate to Palestina (the story of my grandmother, his older sister).

Rolf, who was a talented young man and excelled in sports, is a positive figure that makes it possible to show students that he was just a boy like all the other boys at school.

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This is a booklet they published in the school, with which the students learn about the family and Rolf, including the stories he wrote, and the photograph of the Jewish newspaper he wrote the stories:
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After my exciting visit to the school, on a rainy Hamburg afternoon, Dr. Fritzlaff hands me a package of papers, and I am amazed that the letters I was searching for.

The letters that were exchanged between the family and my grandmother in Israel, are all there, telegrams, handwritten letters and letters from the typewriter.

Later in the conversation, I learn that in the 1990s, my grandmother gave Dr. Prizlaff the letters, for the sake of the research they did in the school when they built the study program.

In 1934, Rolf moved to the Talmud Torah school, which has been active until today.

Here you can read all the posts regarding these letters including translations

1935

Isestraße 61, Hamburg, GermanyIsestraße 61, Hamburg, Germany

Now the Nazi regime talks openly about “solving the Jewish problem.”
The family returns to the Jewish area in the city, to the house at Isestr 61 on the third floor.
It is close to the river and under its railway passes what is now considered the world’s longest market. During the Nazi regime, the market became the “Jewish market”. The Zionist idea was strengthened in the hearts of Rolf and Helga, and later they would move to the training camps, “Hachshara” camps with the goal to move to Palestina, “Eretz Israel”. Rolf used to paddle in the rivers around the house. It is told that Marion and Helga would tease him and laugh when he flirts with girls while he was doing sports.

That year Marion finishes her studies at the Lowenberg School in the University area. Rolf began to specialize in the assembly of barrels, as a profession. Helga begins to attend a school for housewives, but quickly moves to the Hachshara training camp in Hamburg and begins her steps toward Palestine. In this Hachshara camp, she meets my grandfather – Bernard. In an interview, she is telling how he “tricked” her into this camp instead of another one she was supposed to be in. You can listen to that interview here: The interview with Helga Arna 1988.

Something seemed to have caused the family to realize that the winds are changing.

Here is the video from the visit to that house, when I hear the story for the first time:

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