1935 Opening of the first LGS

Throughout these trying times, with their depressing circumstances, Lore always considered it of great importance to preserve an atmosphere of normality. She decided to give a large dinner party on the 20th of January 1935 for Ernst's 50th birthday. It proved to be the last time that the "Goldschmidt" cousins and second cousins living in Berlin came together, in fact, that such a gathering was possible for within months, Hitler made one of his most aggressive anti-Jewish speeches in Nčrenberg imposing many restrictions on Jewish people. These rules became known as the Nčrenberg laws  [1] . One restriction demanded that all German female servants below 45 years of age were to be dismissed and only older women were to be employed in Jewish households, a racial slur. It meant that the cook "Annie" and the housemaid "Lischen", who had been with the family for 10 years and were much loved and trusted, would have to leave. But Lore was able to circumvent their dismissal by employing both Annie and Lischen in the new boarding school which had opened a few months earlier on the 1st of May 1935.  The opening of the school occurred in spite of receiving a letter from the Staatskommissar der Haupstadt, (Prussian Commissionar of the Capital) Berlin, signed: Im Auftrage (as instructed) Hassenstein, dated the 8th of April 1935, stating clearly a) that her application to open a Jewish boarding school could not be granted and b) that she had permission to teach groups of 5 non-aryan children only, as had been stated in Dr.Spanier's Unterrichtserlaubnisschein of October 1933  [2] . But Lore, cleverly, circumvented these teaching restrictions. By forming a group with other teachers, quite a daring undertaking, she increased the total number of students to be admitted to the boarding school, the Dr.Leonore Goldschmidt Schčlerheim, (Home for Students). It was housed at Kronberger Straže 24, Berlin-Dahlem, [3] close to the Grunewald. Kronberger Straže 24 was a four story house, with basement and a garden of 1650sqm. Surrounded by similar houses, the large gardens created a park-like atmosphere. As the prospectus showed, much thought was given to the physical and mental wellbeing of the boarders. They had five meals a day:- breakfast with 2 rolls, butter and marmalade, 2nd breakfast with sandwich and fresh fruit, lunch with soup followed by meat with vegetables or salad, and desert. In the afternoon, there was coffee with rolls or cake. Supper consisted of a warm meal, sandwiches and fruit. Ernst Goldschmidt, a gourmet who liked to eat at Kempinski's, made sure that all the food was of excellent quality. His cousin,  [4] Helene Schwabacher, supervised the cooking. The food was not kosher but vegetarian meals were available on request. Non-boarders, from the inner city of Berlin, could also attend the school as it was easy to reach, 6 tram lines and two bus lines passed within walking distance. The age of pupils ranged from 6 to 18 years.  Heinz Happ joined the boarding school when it opened. He recorded his experiences in German in a collection of Goldschmidt Schule Memoranda published as "Passages from Berlin" in 1985. "He had come from Bad Freienwalde where he had experienced unbearable discrimination. As there were only very few boarders when he arrived at the Schčlerheim, the atmosphere was that of a large family. But the school began to grow rapidly and some of the intimacy vanished". Werner Baum wrote that, when his father moved him to the Jewish Boarding School, Dr. Leonore Goldschmidt, there were altogether between 20 and 25 children, with 7 children in his class. They sat with their teacher at a round table. There was no blackboard. They did not have to raise their arm to speak. It was a very friendly atmosphere and teachers stayed even during intermission. Sonia Schweid, who joined in October 1935, wrote: "The greatest joy were those classes which were held out of doors under trees on pleasant days. It must have been during that period that we had botany and were encouraged to go out and gather, identify, and mount all kinds of plant material. I'm still reaping the benefits of that activity." [5]    The complete architectural drawings of Kronberger Strasse 24 have survived. [6]   On the top floor were dormitories where 2 or 3 children had to share a room. These were equipped with cupboards and washbasins. On the second floor slept the two boarding school supervisors and when necessary a nurse. Medical support came from Dr.Philip Cahn, a paediatrician and one of Ernst's cousins by marriage. [7] This was vital as more and more public medical help was denied to Jewish people. On the ground floor were most of the classrooms, the basement contained the kitchen and other support facilities. The house had one outside terrace and several balconies which were used for teaching or recreation when the weather was suitable. The syllabus had to be based on that of the German elementary school with additional courses on request. In the upper classes mathematics was augmented with accounting practice. Religious education played a large part with Hebrew lessons twice weekly. Close by lay several local synagogues, where pupils could attend services on Sabbath and Jewish Holidays. Music was taught in every class and instrumental music lessons were available. Domestic science, handicraft and horticulture were also included in the syllabus. In summer, games and athletics took place in the grounds of the Jewish Community located in the Grunewald and in winter, exercises were conducted in the gym of the Bar-Kochba Association in Halensee.

[1] 15/9/1935, Nčremberg anti Jewish legislation

[2] Letter dated 8/4/1935 signed Im Auftrag (on instruction) Hassenstein, copy with author

[3] Prospectus for boarding school, Kronberger Straže, illustrated with 8 photographs.

[4] Goldschmidt Family Tree

[5] Passages from Berlin, Private publication

[6] Architectural drawings, Kronbergerstraže, in possession of the author

[7] Goldschmidt Family Tree