Memorial plaque at the Curiohaus
The Curiohaus is a listed building that belongs to the Hamburg State Association of the German Education Union. This organisation’s predecessor, the Society of Friends of the Patriotic School and Education System (Gesellschaft der Freunde des vaterländischen Schul- und Erziehungswesens), erected the building between 1908 and 1911. It was used for various purposes, mostly educational. The large hall in the Curiohaus was largely undamaged by the bombing during World War II. From 1946 to 1948, British military courts used it as a courtroom for the Curiohaus Trials of Nazi war criminals. 188 military trials were held here, including the Main Neuengamme Trial from 18 March to 3 May 1946 for the people responsible for the Neuengamme concentration camp, and seven subsequent trials of former Neuengamme camp staff.
The plaque reads:
This building was erected in 1911 for the ‘Gesellschaft der Freunde des vaterländischen Schul- und Erziehungswesen’. It was named after Johann Carl Daniel Curio, who had founded the association in 1805.
In May 1933, the National Socialist Teachers’ League forcibly absorbed the association and took over the building.
From 1946-1948, British military tribunals held trials here against the SS members who were responsible for the crimes at the Neuengamme concentration camp.
On the neighbouring building at Rothenbaumchaussee 19, which was sold to the Chabad Lubavitch community in 2013 (in conjunction with a donation made to the Jewish Community in Hamburg) and is now used for training Orthodox Jewish rabbis, there is another plaque with the following text: This building was built in 1877/78 on behalf on the doctor Fr. Caesar Gerson. In 1890 it was purchased by the businessman Moses Max Bauer. After his death in 1925, it passed into the ownership of relatives. They sold it under value to the National Socialist Teachers’ League in 1935, in a time of growing antisemitic persecution. The previous owners, Hedwig Hallgarten (née Ree), her daughter Mercedes Meyerhof (née Hallgarten) and the daughter’s husband Robert Henry Nordheim Meyerhof fled from the Nazi terror in 1936/37, first to Switzerland and from there to the USA. They represented the co-owners Albert and Julius Hallgarten in the sale. Klaus Jürgen Bauer died in 1937 in Germany after many years of illness. In 1948, the ‘Society of Friends of the Patriotic School and Education System’ laid claim to the building. In 1954, it was finally handed over to this organisation’s successor, the German Education Union (GEW).