November 1944 20 Jewish children, ten boys and ten girls,
had been brought from Auschwitz to the concentration camp
of Neuengamme, just outside Hamburg. The youngsters, aged
between 5 and 12 years old, came from all over Europe and
were to be human guinea-pigs in a series of medical
experiments conducted by the SS doctor Kurt Heissmeyer.
Dr. Heissmeyer removed the children's lymph glands for
analysis, and he injected living tuberculosis bacteria in
their veins and directly into their lungs to determine if
they had any natural immunities to tuberculosis.They were
carefully observed, examined and photographed as the
disease progressed. The condition of all the children
deteriorated very rapidly and they became extremely ill.
On April 20th, 1945, the day on which Adolf
Hitler was celebrating his fifty-sixth birthday and just a
few days before the war ended, Heissmeyer and SS-Obersturmführer
Arnold Strippel decided to kill the children in an effort
to hide evidence of the experiments from the approaching
To conceal all traces the SS transported the children to
the former Bullenhuser Damm School, which had been used as
a satellite camp since October 1944. They were immediately
taken to the basement and ordered to undress.
An SS officer later reported: "They sat down on
the benches all around and were cheerful and happy that
they had been for once allowed out of Neuengamme. The
children were completely unsuspecting."
The children were told that they had to be vaccinated
against typhoid fever before their return journey. Then
they were injected with morphine. They were hanged from
hooks on the wall, but the SS men found it difficult to
kill the mutilated children. The first child to be strung
up was so light - due to disease and malnutrition - that
the rope wouldn’t strangle him. SS untersturmführer
Frahm had to use all of his own weight to tighten the
noose. Then he hanged the others, two at a time, from
different hooks. 'Just like pictures on the wall',
he would recall later. He added that none of the children
At five o' clock in the morning on April 21th,
1945, the Nazis had finished with their work and drank
hard-earned coffee ...
of the children was Jacqueline Morgenstern, born to
Suzanne and Karl Morgenstern in 1932 in Paris, France.
Here Jacqueline led a happy life, she attended school and
her father and uncle owned a beauty shop in central Paris.
The family's feelings of security collapsed, however, when
in 1940, Germany invaded France and the brutality of the
Nazis accelerated with murder, violence and terror. In
1944 Jacqueline and her parents were sent to Auschwitz.
Jacqueline and her mother went to the women's work camp,
where food rations were meager. Suzanne gave Jacqueline
most of her food, so she became malnourished and ill. When
the Nazis found her no longer useful for forced labor,
they sent her to the gas chambers.
After her mother's death, Jacqueline was sent to a special
children's barrack where the children were being held for
later bogus medical experiments. The majority of the
children spoke only Polish but one of the boys, Georges
Andre Kohn, spoke French, too, and they became close
Andre Kohn was 12 years old and the youngest son of Armand
Kohn, a rich Jewish businessman in Paris. In 1944 Georges,
his grandmother (75), mother, father, his older sisters,
Rose-Marie and Antoinette, and his eighteen year-old
brother, Philippe, were crowded into cattle cars with
hundreds of Jews to be deported to the Buchenwald
Three days after the train began moving, Rose-Marie and
Philippe broke the bars of the car's small window, jumped
out and miraculously survived the Holocaust. When the
train arrived at Buchenwald, the family was separated.
When the war was over, only Armand Kohn and the two
escaped had survived.
And on April 20th, 1945, when the British were less than
three miles from the camp, all the children of Bullenhuser
Damm were murdered ...
Bullenhuser Damm School
the war, the SS doctor Kurt Heissmeyer returned to his
home in Magdeburg, postwar East Germany, to resume medical
practice, highly regarded as a lung and tuberculosis
specialist. The much-admired physician was eventually
tried and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1966. Arnold
Strippel, the SS-Obersturmführer commanding these
killings as well as many others, lived for years well in
West Germany in a villa situated on the outskirts of
Frankfurt despite all efforts made by relatives of the
children to take him to trial.
Opened in 1980, this memorial is located in the cellar of
the former school. The room where the children were
murdered has been kept in its original state. In an
adjoining room there is an exhibition on the fate of the
victims. The documentation also provides insight into the
various individual and inofficial attempts made during the
1970s and 1980s to shed light on the crime, and describes
the deliberate delay of criminal proceedings against
Arnold Strippel, the SS officer in charge of the murder
The association 'Kinder vom Bullenhuser Damm e.V.'
has planted a rose garden behind the school. Anyone who
wishes may plant a rose there as a tribute to the dead.
The rose garden is open at all times.
Not one of the children of Bullenhuser Damm was older than
twelve. Stripped of their childhoods, they lived and died
during the dark years of the Holocaust and were victims of
the Nazi regime. Had they survived another two weeks, they
would have been liberated by the Allied forces ..