The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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16 April 1933

Merit card awarded to the student Ruth Wurm

The dedication on this card reads "To my dear hard-working Ruth Wurm." It was presented to the seven-year-old pupil at the end of the school year on the occasion of her promotion to the third grade. The front of the card is decorated with the silhouette of a small angel conducting a flock of singing birds. Flowers and butterflies herald the spring. On the back Ruth‘s teacher also wrote the proverb: "Ohne Fleiß kein Preis"—"Hard work is the foundation of all success."

Ruth Wurm (b. 1925) liked going to school. She was the only Jewish girl in her class at Primary School (Bürgerschule) 22 in Hanover. As the entries in her poetry album show, she was popular with her classmates and teachers alike. However, at the girls‘ high school to which she transferred after Easter 1936, she learned first-hand what it was like to be discriminated against as a Jew: she was excluded from gym class and not allowed to take part in class trips.

In October 1936, Ruth Wurm, now eleven, emigrated with her family to Copenhagen, where she first went to Sankt Petri, a German-Danish private school, and then attended the Nørre Secondary School. Three years later, her family emigrated to Great Britain and Ruth Wurm was once again forced to switch schools.

Ruth Wurm now lives in Australia. In September 2012 she was a guest at the Jewish Museum Berlin, where she talked about her life with school students. She used the opportunity to travel to Hanover and was pleased to see that her old school building had hardly changed.

Jörg Waßmer

Categorie(s): childhood | Hanover | school
Merit card awarded to the student Ruth Wurm (front), Hanover, 16/17 April (Easter) 1933.
Gift of Ruth Inall