‘Freight Wagon Memorial’ and plaque at the Winterhude District School
The progressive school on Meerweinstrasse was founded in 1930. From 5 March 1933, under the slogan of ‘No more red pedagogy’, the National Socialists in Hamburg began agitating against schools like the Meerwein school, which were loyal to the democratic republic. The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service of 7 April 1933 was the basis for banning ‘non-Aryans’ from public service. The Jewish teachers Julia Cohn and Hertha Feiner-Asmus and their children were forced to leave the school. Julia Cohn was able to send her son to England before the war started, but she herself was deported from Hamburg in 1941 and murdered in Riga. The two daughters of Hertha Feiner-Asmus survived in Switzerland, while she herself died on a transport to Auschwitz in 1943.
Since 1983, the Winterhude Comprehensive School has been involved in various projects dealing with the fate of the two former teachers. The children of the murdered teachers also visited the school in the 1990s. After their visit, a plaque was placed at the entrance to the school, and in the Jarrestadt neighbourhood a street was named Hertha-Feiner-Asmus-Stieg after one of the two teachers.
At the same time, the school started its ‘Denk-Mal Güterwagen’ (Freight Wagon Memorial) project. Together with the sculptors Christine Schell and POM (Peter Märker), students from several different year groups, teachers and local residents created a memorial in an open workshop. The memorial occupies a small area next to the school grounds and was dedicated in November 1996. It consists of a historical freight wagon from the Reichsbahn railway company and two standing sculptures that represent the two teachers. The memorial references their deportation to the ghetto and to death.