E The Jewish Hospital in Frankfurt (Oder)
and "Jews' Houses"
On the northwestern corner of what is today the Lenné Passage, on the 13th May 1838, after only eight years' construction time, the new Jewish hospital celebrates its inauguration. It is a small, two-storey building, almost square, with a height of 12 metres. On the first floor there are three rooms with two windows each, a kitchen, and one more room. The whole front side is covered with large letters spelling "Jewish Hospital". The back borders on the Citizens' Park, planned at the same tame by Peter Joseph Lenné, and includes a part of the former city wall.
With a total capacity of only 15 beds, this hospital is less well equipped than the city hospital. As most of the Jews living in Frankfurt (Oder) belong in any case to the upper classes and are financially well off, they prefer to be treated at home by their own doctor. After 1840 it must finally have become clear that it did not make financial sense to maintain the Jewish hospital. To avoid leaving the building unused, Jewish traders are accommodated there at trade fair times.
From 1866, the "old and infirm" living alone are housed in the hospital. That is to say, it is turned into an old people's home and is used as such by poorer Frankfurt Jews until the 1930s.
It can no longer be established when and how the Jewish hospital is first instrumentalized by the National Socialists as a "Jews' House". A "transport list" from the year 1942 provides the evidence that it serves as a "Jews' House"
Of the 24 Frankfurt Jews listed therein, 20 live in Rosenstraße 36. Three of them live at the time of their deportation at Wollenweberstraße 60, beside the synagogue, suggesting that this building, like the Jewish hospital, was a second "collection point" for the last remaining Jewish citizens. The earlier, "Aryan" cemetery gardener for the Jewish community reports after 1945 on the dreadful living conditions in the Frankfurt "Jews' House", on hunger and winter cold without fuels for heating.
In the context of National Socialism we understand by "Jews' house" a ghettoization of the Jews - their displacement from their houses and flats, and the systematic separation of Germans of Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds. This separation paves the way for their transportation to the extermination camps.
Signe Olesen and Lea Dittbrenner, students at the European University Viadrina