Monument at the former Oberstrasse Temple
The Oberstrasse Temple was last Jewish house of worship that was erected in Hamburg before the National Socialists came to power. It was inaugurated on 30 August 1931. Its aesthetics reflect the minimalist functionalism of the Neues Bauen or New Building movement. ‘Temple’ is the term used in liberal Judaism to refer to Jewish houses of worship. The Oberstrasse Temple had space for more than 1,000 worshippers.
After the pogroms
The interior of the temple was destroyed in the pogroms of 9 November 1938, and the congregation was subsequently forced to sell the building and property for far less than they were worth. The building was then used a grain store, a cinema and the offices of the Hamburger Fremdenblatt newspaper. After the war, the Norddeutsche Rundfunk radio broadcaster bought the former temple, which it continues to use as a studio and concert hall to this day.
A bronze monument designed by the sculptor Doris Waschk-Balz (born 1942) was dedicated on 9 November 1983 to commemorate the history of the building as a Jewish house of worship. The monument stands on a stone base on the steps in front of the building and consists of an open frame revealing the former temple behind it, with a torn Torah Ark curtain and a broken Torah scroll symbolising the destruction of Jewish life. A seven-branched menorah and Hebrew inscription on the restored façade of the building also commemorate the former temple.