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Olga Beschütz * 1876
Schwenckestraße 100 vor Schule (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)
Olga Helene Beschütz, born on 28 June 1876 in Hamburg, deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga
Husumer Straße 37
In his memoirs, Gert Beschütz also dedicated affectionate reminiscences to his unforgotten godmother. When thinking of the vividly told little incidents that connected him with his Aunt Olga, one realizes that she took her role as godmother very seriously. He remembered her performance as a kind Santa Claus, pedagogic visits to the museum and discovery tours in the city, an impressive outing on the elevated railroad to the landing bridges in order to admire, on an icy cold winter’s day, the giant passenger ship, the "Cap Polonio,” moored at the overseas bridge (Überseebrücke), and her loving though futile attempts at arousing his interest in music by giving piano lessons or at overcoming his dislike of athletic competitions by "admonitions and friendly persuasion.”
Even as a 69-year-old man, he still consulted a little book that welcomed him upon arrival at Marienau school camp (Schullandheim). "In her great kindness,” he wrote, she had written for him "a little book containing advice she had formulated,” pieces of guidance worth contemplating, "not only for the phase directly ahead of me but for my entire future life.” And he summarized: "I was deeply moved about so much love and decided to follow her suggestions.” He described her as a practicing Christian and attributed to her a crucial role toward his receiving confirmation classes at the house of the "friend and well-disposed Pastor Bernitt” on weekends and being confirmed at St. Andreas Church in Harvestehude at Easter 1937. He also believes he owes to her the selection of the confirmation verse, which had given him "backing frequently in life”: "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong!” (1 Cor. 16:13)
At that time, Olga Beschütz had already been dismissed from Hamburg teaching service, where she had been employed since 1904. From 1908 to 1911, she had worked at Elsa Weismann’s private girls’ secondary school (Höhere Mädchenschule) at Weidenallee 56, from 1911 to 1920 at Marie Busse’s school at Papenhuder Straße 10, after that at the elementary school (Volksschule) at Dehnhaide 60, and finally from 1926 onward at the Volksschule at Schwenckestraße 100. The 1935/36 Teachers’ Directory does not list her anymore.
Olga Beschütz was deported to Riga on 6 Dec. 1941 on the fourth Hamburg deportation transport comprised of 753 persons, and has been considered missing since then. She was declared dead on 8 May 1945.
A Stolperstein that commemorates her is located in front of her former school at Schwenckestraße 100.
In 1993, a street in the Borstel district, the Geschwister-Beschütz-Bogen, was named after her and her sister Marie. The explanation regarding the street sign mentions that Olga and Marie Beschütz had been working as "Jewish teachers” in Hamburg. However, only the laws of the National Socialists had designated them as such. When Siegmund Beschütz had himself and his wife and children christened in 1880, Olga was only four years old and Marie not even born yet. In a compilation about the work of the two sisters at Hamburg schools on the occasion of naming the street, their nephew Gert Beschütz wrote: "Both sisters were devout and practicing Christians. In their religious instruction classes, they conveyed to students respect for a higher power, for nature, for people and their works, but they had no use for pietism.”
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Christiane Pritzlaff
Quellen: Beschütz, Gert: Lebenserinnerungen eines artigen Hamburger Knaben, 1920–1945, unveröffentlichtes Manuskript; Beschütz, Gert, Zusammenstellung zur Tätigkeit von Olga und Marie an Hamburger Schulen anlässlich der Straßenbenennung, Beilage in einem Brief an mich vom 29.4.1996; Bake/Rottmann, Wer steckt dahinter? 1996.
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