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23 March to 15 July 2012 Jewish Migrants from Eastern Europe in the 1920s

The »Ez Chaim« Talmud Torah School

Building facades with two entrances and parked cars
Almstadtstr. 16 © Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Gelia Eisert

Statement by the scholar Anne-Christin Saß

»There is nothing in present-day Almstadtstrasse in the trendy Berlin district of Mitte – no plaque or memorial – to let visitors know that Grenadierstrasse was once the main thoroughfare in Berlin for Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. To me, the emptiness of this place most vividly illustrates the violent end of the history of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe to Berlin.«

Anne-Christin Saß is a member of the project »Charlottengrad and Scheunenviertel« at the Free University of Berlin.

Entrance of the building at no. 31 with a view of the facade and Hebrew signs (partial view)
Partial view of the facade of Grenadierstrasse 31: Hebrew signs for the Hotel Adler and the »Bet Hamidrasch Agudat Israel« (a Jewish prayer room), ca. 1935 @ AKG

Interview with Joseph Lautmann

»That’s number 31. It’s still the same. The »Ez Chaim« Talmud Torah School was on the second and upper stories of this building. A Talmud Torah school is a religious school and it was very strict, very pious. Yours truly went to school here –in the afternoon, that is. In the morning I went to the Jewish middle school for boys in Grosse Hamburger Strasse, which is still the location of the middle school today. And at around three in the afternoon I went to the Talmud Torah school and stayed until six. The way children run around today – we didn't have that back then. The women’s and  men’s section . . . the door, it still the same. The Talmud Torah school for children was up there, it hasn’t changed.«

Josef Lautmann (1916-2005) was interviewed by Kerstin Campbell, Berlin 2000