The Research


Between 2002 and 2003, in the initial phase of the project "Stumbling Stones in Hamburg”, the research of the victims’ live data mainly focused on the lists of the deportations, copies of which are available for insight at the national archive in Hamburg. These lists, however, only refer to the respective last address of the victims and thus list apartments that were predominantly allocated to the Jewish victims by force. This focus of research led to an accumulation of Stumbling Stones in front of the former so-called "Judenhäuser”, whereas no Stumbling Stone would commemorate the persecution and murder of the victims at the places where they lived before the Nazi persecution.

Since 2004, we have been shifting the focus of our research to the tax cards of the former Jewish congregations in Hamburg and, additionally, to old address books. Thus, we have since been able to find out the addresses of the houses and apartments where the victims had lived without harassment until the mid-thirties of the nineteenth century. Later sources mainly contain addresses of apartments where the persecuted persons lived as subtenants, and addresses of Jewish homes and buildings belonging to the Jewish community where the Jewish citizens were ghettoized by the Nazi administration. In some cases, survivors and descendants of the victims provided us with their records that revealed the original places of residence.

By refining the research in the described manner, we occasionally discovered, after the laying of a Stumbling Stone, that more than the one commemorated member of a family were persecuted and killed in the Holocaust. This has led to the laying of a new Stumbling Stone for all the murdered members of one family outside the building where they had lived before the persecution. Because of this, two Stumbling Stones at two different addresses can be found for some victims.

In some other cases, two Stumbling Stones were laid for one person at the same occasion, once at their former place of residence and once at their former workplace. By way of example, Stumbling Stones for the Hamburg judges murdered in the Holocaust can be found outside the civil court house at Sievekingplatz as well as outside their respective places of residence.

Another problem in the initial phase of the project was the change of street names not only after 1945 but also already after the passing of the "Groß-Hamburg-Gesetz”, the Greater Hamburg Act of 1937. This law mandated the annexation of several surrounding cities and villages and thus led to necessary name changes of several streets in order to avoid doubles. With the help of old street maps and with kind support of the "Landesbetrieb für Geoinformation und Vermessung”, we are nowadays trying to prevent these mistakes.

Furthermore, an elaborate and very commendable research that resulted in short biographies of many commemorated victims was done by a lot of individuals and initiatives, such as local history workshops or archives. These biographies can be found not only on this homepage, but also in a publication series on the Stumbling Stones in Hamburg published by the Hamburg Agency for Civic Education and the Institute for German-Jewish History. The first volume, that compiles biographies of those victims who had lived in Hamburg-Hamm before they were murdered, was published in January 2008. (Please check Literature {LINK} for further details.) The author Hildegard Thevs added a comprehensive list of sources at the end of the book.

The research of life data of Holocaust victims that is done in order to lay Stumbling Stones in Hamburg mainly focuses on the following sources:

[1] Staatsarchiv Hamburg, 522-1, Jüdische Gemeinden, 992b, Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg

[2] Staatsarchiv Hamburg, 314-15, Akten des Oberfinanzpräsidenten

[3] Institut Theresienstädter Initiative / Nationalarchiv Prag, Jüdische Matriken, Todesfallanzeigen

[4] Hamburger jüdische Opfer des Nationalsozialismus. Gedenkbuch, Veröffentlichung aus dem Staatsarchiv Hamburg Bd. XV, bearbeitet von Jürgen Sielemann unter Mitarbeit von Paul Flamme, Hamburg 1995

[5] Gedenkbuch. Opfer der Verfolgung der Juden unter der nationalsozialistischen Gewaltherrschaft in Deutschland 1933 – 1945, Bd. I – IV, herausgegeben vom Bundesarchiv, Koblenz 2006

[6] Wolfgang Scheffler / Diana Schulle (Hrsg.), Buch der Erinnerung. Die ins Baltikum deportierten deutschen, österreichischen und tschechoslowakischen Juden, Bd. 1 und Bd. 2, München 2003

[7] Theresienstädter Gedenkbuch. Die Opfer der Judentransporte aus Deutschland nach Theresienstadt 1942 – 1945, Prag 2000

[8] Yad Vashem, The Central Data Base of Shoa Victims

status of October 26th, 2012

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