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Dr. Carl Stamm
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Dr. Carl Stamm * 1867

Marckmannstraße 135 (Hamburg-Mitte, Rothenburgsort)

JG. 1867

further stumbling stones in Marckmannstraße 135:
Elke Pünner

Dr. Carl Stamm, born on 15 Mar. 1867 in Hedemünden, died on 28 Oct. 1941 in Hamburg

On 16 Mar. 1929, the general assembly of the sponsoring association of the "Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital” held a meeting. Quite of few of the members present criticized that the medical director of the hospital, Carl Stamm, intended to remain the chairman of the association. The Hamburg Senator Paul de Chapeaurouge, a long-standing member of the executive committee, however, did not raise any objections, since after all, through his dual function, Carl Stamm had contributed substantially to the fact that the children’s hospital enjoyed a reputation as one of the most modern ones of its kind beyond the city district. The "patriarchal [atmosphere] in the house” was not questioned on the part of the state either. Among the senior association members, Carl Stamm was the only one not belonging to one of the leading Hamburg families.

Born in Mollenfelde, a village south of Göttingen, as the son of the Jewish merchant E. M. Stamm and his wife Jeanette, née Moses, he had studied medicine in Göttingen, Munich, and Berlin, and obtained his doctorate in Göttingen in Dec. 1890 with a thesis entitled Beitrag zur Lehre von den Blutgefässgeschwülsten ("Contribution to the theory of tumors of the blood vessels”). In his application for admission to the Hamburg registry of licensed physicians, he indicated as the place and date of obtaining his license to practice medicine (Approbation), "Easter of 1891 in Göttingen.” He completed his military service as a doctor in the Replacement Reserve with the Landsturm I.

In Berlin, Carl Stamm specialized in pediatrics. From Apr. 1891 until his relocation to Hamburg in Oct. 1893, he worked as a resident at the "Kaiser und Kaiserin Friedrich Kinderkrankenhaus,” a children’s hospital, and owing to the often lethal outcome of the so-called childhood diseases, he dealt particularly with bacteriological studies. His research findings had titles incomprehensible to lay persons, such as "Etiology of the rhinitis pseudo-membrane,” "Coccidial disease in rabbits, changes to the liver and intestine of these,” und "On scarlet fever nephritis.” He filled in the time until admission to the Hamburg medical profession, which took place on 16 Aug. 1894, with internships in state and municipal hospitals, respectively. Still single, he resided at Alstertor 3. A business license, "no. 2190 in the year 1894,” also allowed him to operate a practice. In November of that year, Carl Stamm applied for a position as a vaccinator at the Board of Health (Medizinalkollegium). He viewed vaccinations as an effective preventive measure against the high rate of infant mortality. We do not know whether he got the job.

In 1898, the Stade-born merchant Ernst Heinrich Kruse started up a "polyclinic for the children of parents without means” in Rothenburgsort at Billhorner Röhrendamm 240, in the center of Billwärder Ausschlag, the very first one of its kind in Hamburg. With this philanthropic institution, he intended to keep alive the memory of the Hamburg physician Franz Matthias Mutzenbecher, who had passed away in 1891. His foundation was aimed "at granting sick children of the poorer classes medical assistance free of charge,” as the Hamburger Nachrichten reported on 6 Jan. 1898 on the occasion of the official opening. To this end, he needed physicians working on an honorary basis. In addition to three others, he managed to win his family doctor, Carl Stamm, to do this pioneering work in what was then a densely populated district of Hamburg with an above-average rate of maternal and infant mortality. In the nearby parish rooms of the St. Thomas parish, a welfare center for infants and toddlers was incorporated.

Carl Stamm endangered his own life in the course of work in Oct. 1900, when he injured himself with a needle during a post mortem and came down with sepsis, which was successfully treated at the new Eppendorf General Hospital.

By then 34 years old, on 18 Nov. 1901, he married Minna Margarethe Cohen (born on 11 Sept. 1878), eleven years his junior, in Hannover. Her parents, the merchant Bernhard Cohen, and his wife Sophie, née Jessurun, belonged to the Jewish faith as well. Nothing is known about Minna’s childhood and youth. The newlywed couple moved into an apartment at Colonnaden 21, where Carl Stamm also held his private office hours – from 8 until 9 a.m. and from 5 to 6 p.m. Apparently, he spent the interim at the polyclinic in Rothenburgsort. On 16 Feb. 1903, Minna and Carl Stamm’s only child, Rudolf Walter, was born. The social advancement continued. In Sept. 1904, Carl Stamm rented a practice and an apartment. He relocated the practice to Esplanade 39 on the second floor and the apartment to Johnsallee 63, where he also practiced, in the afternoon from 3 to 4 o’clock. At noon, from 1 to 2, he did work at the polyclinic.

A renowned pediatrician by this time but still holding Prussian citizenship, Carl Stamm applied for Hamburg citizenship in 1905. On 31 May 1905, he received the certificate of "admission to the Hamburg Federation [Hamburgischer Staatsverband],” taking his citizen’s oath on 7 July 1905. Starting in 1924, he was registered as a solvent member of the Hamburg Jewish Community.

In 1907, the polyclinic was relocated from the town center of Billwärder Ausschlag to more spacious premises to the west. On 3 Dec. 1910, hived off from the foundation, the "Association of the Rothenburgsort Children’s polyclinic and infant medical care” ("Verein Kinder-Poliklinik und Säuglingsfürsorge Rothenburgsort”) took shape. Carl Stamm opened the inaugural meeting with a retrospective of the 12-year development of the polyclinic from the beginnings to the approx. 3,500 patients a year at that point and the dedicated combat against infant mortality through advising mothers and assistance with breastfeeding. He pointed out that the premises and the financial means did not keep pace with the expansion of work and that the founding of an association was necessary. Its statutory purposes were to be the continuation of the children’s polyclinic, the free outpatient medical treatment of children of parents without means (until age 14), the combating of infant mortality through doctor’s advice for mothers without means on all questions of nutrition for and care of infants, the hiring and training of infant caregivers, and the granting of breastfeeding allowances (Stillbeihilfen), as well as the establishment of a children’s hospital for children of parents without means. The association was founded and Carl Stamm was elected chairman of the executive committee, which he remained until 1933. The contribution and donation list of the association contain the names of both men and women, Jewish and non-Jewish; doctors and merchant alike had given money, as had Carl Stamm’s wife.

The planning of the hospital began in 1913, with the First World War and the inflationary period delaying execution of the undertaking. The City of Hamburg made available a property on Marckmannstrasse, east of the Realschule [a practice-oriented secondary school up to grade 10] under construction just then. The first wing featuring the polyclinic and the welfare center became ready for use in 1917, the entire building planned according to the most modern considerations with 60 beds and large garden in 1922.

In these years Hamburg saw fundamental change from welfare based on charity to a state-controlled health care system. The association changed its name to "Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital reg. soc.” ("Kinderkrankenhaus Rothenburgsort e.V.”) and appointed the association chairman to medical director. After 24 years of honorary work for the association and its predecessor, Carl Stamm received a permanent position. As a resident, Oscar Herz joined the hospital, also a Jewish physician. The bed utilization rates rose, and in 1927, public funds helped close the construction gap between the Realschule and the children’s hospital by a four-story extension. The esthetic and ethical standards of the builder-owner found its expression in Richard Kuöhl’s sculpture called "Mutterliebe” ("motherly love”) and the adjacent frieze of children playing. (In those days, Kuöhl still belonged to the "Hamburg Secession” and created avant-garde works of art; after 1933, he fulfilled the wishes of the Nazis with heroic monuments.)

By this time, the hospital featured 231 beds, five doctors, and a growing number of nurses, The nurses, members of the Baptist TABEA-deaconess association, left a lasting mark on the atmosphere of the hospital with their understanding of patient care as an expression of Christian compassion.

A wealthy friend, Richard Sellmar, appointed Carl Stamm as his executor. He was supposed to establish a foundation in memory of Sellmar’s mother, which was to "allow poor children in need of convalescence, without any distinction regarding denomination, to stay at a seaside resort for strengthening their health.” When the Hamburg Senate authorized the establishment of the foundation on 3 Feb. 1928, Carl Stamm took over the chairmanship of the board of trustees. In the world economic crisis setting soon, however, the available funds were used toward regular, nutritious lunches for needy children rather than toward one-time convalescent stays.

Carl Stamm enjoyed a high level of appreciation, not just among his colleagues in the association, but also among the scholarly members of the Board of Health and the general public. In 1928, the senate resolved to "confer, on Constitution Day, to Dr. Karl Stamm the badge ‘For dedicated work at the service of the people’ in recognition of his long-standing honorary activity as a physician at the Rothenburgsort children’s polyclinic.” The prerequisite for this distinction was 25 years of honorary work, whereas Carl Stamm had strictly speaking only 24 years to show for – from 1898 until 1922 – but he was nevertheless deemed worthy. The badge was bestowed on him, as one among 67 deserving Hamburg residents honored as well, on 11 Aug. 1928. On 1 Jan. 1928, he was given a contract for life, which put him on the same level as Hamburg civil servants. His deputy, Oscar Herz, was appointed his designated successor. The work of the children’s hospital generated at least 28 important scientific studies until 1928, most of them prepared by Carl Stamm and Oscar Herz.

In the world economic crisis, the bed utilization rates and the contributions by association members fell behind expectations. Carl Stamm was optimistic that the utilization of the hospital would steadily improve as it had previously, proposing to the 1929 general assembly the election of representatives of the public health authority into the administrative committee in order to facilitate negotiations with the state about new subsidies. The administrative committee and the executive committee of the association were expanded and given new assignments. No one was able to anticipate that four years later, due to this reform, the Nazi public health authority would obviously be represented in the executive committee of the "Association Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital” ("Verein Kinderkrankenhaus Rothenburgsort”).

The still persistently high infant and children mortality was to be countered with an additional field of work for the hospital, adopted as an association objective into the statutes in 1931, "the delivery of artificial nutritional mixtures from the milk kitchen for the children of infant welfare services under observation by the hospital and for infants getting curative nutrition from the institution on the instructions of the attending physicians.” The hospital was missing an isolation ward enabling it to cope effectively with infant mortality. Standing in the way of setting up such a unit was Hamburg law, which permitted only state-operated hospitals to treat patients suffering from infectious diseases.

In terms of family, the year 1934 became a turning point for the Stamm family. Carl and Minna Margarete Stamm moved to Eppendorfer Landstrasse 14. Their son Rudolf, a merchant by then, emigrated to Amsterdam and married Else Goslar, born on 18 Feb. 1905 in Wiesbaden. She and her parents, Alfred and Mathilde, née Simon, had lived in Hamburg in the 1930s. In Amsterdam, son Eric Walter was born on 18 Sept. 1935.

In Oct. 1936, Oscar Herz emigrated to the USA. Carl Stamm practiced in his apartment, until his license to practice medicine was revoked on 14 Oct. 1938. That same month, the Board of Trustees, pointing to the Jewish donor, decided to dissolve the Richard-Sellmar Foundation. The supervisory body responsible for foundations and, respectively, the Reich Governor (Reichsstatthalter) turned down the request, arguing that the source of the capital did not matter. The foundation capital was tied up in the hospital as a mortgage and there was no way to make it available. Thus, the foundation was simply cancelled on 20 June 1939. With this, Carl Stamm’s participation in his life’s work ended for good.

He and his wife planned to follow son Rudolf to the Netherlands, though eventually not realizing the undertaking. The Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) issued a "security order” ("Sicherungsanordnung”) pertaining to all assets, allowing the married couple to dispose of 800 RM (reichsmark) a month. Carl Stamm’s pension amounting to approx. 400 RM from his work as a long-standing director of the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital was "not included in the provisional security order for reasons of expediency,” though eventually, starting on 1 Nov. 1939, it was factored into the allowance after all, by then reduced to 600 RM.

In Nov. 1940, Carl Stamm applied for the unblocking of 300 RM a month toward supporting his son and his family in Amsterdam, which was turned down. He filed a complaint to the Reich Economics Minister. Ernst Kaufmann, who was no longer licensed as a lawyer but only as a "legal adviser” ("Konsulent”) [a newly introduced Nazi term for Jewish lawyers banned from full legal practice] in Jewish affairs, represented his matter, which was rejected in Jan. 1941. The original regulations he referred to had been "adjusted” by then. In 1941, Carl Stamm still witnessed the incorporation of the Realschule as an auxiliary hospital into the children’s hospital, which caused the number of beds to rise to 540.

On 13 May 1941, Minna Stamm passed away in their home at Eppendorfer Landstrasse. The doctor, who had been treating her since June 1940, established as the cause of death "the effects of a brain hemorrhage and intestinal paralysis.” She was buried in the Ohlsdorf Jewish Cemetery.

On 25 Oct. 1941, the day of the first eastward transport of Hamburg Jews, Carl Stamm was admitted, also because of a brain hemorrhage, to the Israelite Hospital at Johnsallee 68, where he died three days later. An additional cause of death listed was pneumonia. Among Carl Stamm’s friends and acquaintances, the assumption was that the spouses had committed suicide because of the imminent deportation.

The records of the police authority contain no clues whatsoever to suicide, nor any suggestions that Carl Stamm had actually received the deportation order for the transport on 25 Oct. 1941. It is more likely, however, that the humiliations and deprivation of rights indirectly resulted in the deaths of Minna Margarete and Carl Stamm. Whereas Carl Stamm himself gave notification of his wife’s death to the authorities, in his case, the father-in-law of his son, Alfred Goslar, did so. During their last days in the Israelite Hospital, the two spouses were accompanied by the physician Berthold Hannes, who after the end of the war became the director of this Hamburg institution steeped in tradition.

The executor Ernst Kaufmann, connected to Carl Stamm on a personal basis since the end of World War I and himself a sponsor of the children’s hospital, dissolved the Stamms’ household and had it put in storage. At this time, Rudolf Stamm still lived as the lawful heir in the Netherlands. In July 1942, he and his wife and their son Eric were deported to Auschwitz, where Else Stamm-Goslar and son Eric were killed on 17 July, Rudolf on 15 Aug. 1942. Alfred Goslar was deported on 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt and on 21 Sept. 1942 to Treblinka, where he was probably murdered immediately upon arrival.

On 10 Feb. 1943, Ernst Kaufmann applied one last time for the unblocking of costs covering the storage and insurance of the household effects over the past three months. Whether and, if applicable, how he managed to complete the execution of the estate, before he was deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 9 June 1943 (and from there to Auschwitz on 9 Oct. 1944) could not be clarified. The pertinent files went missing.


On Friday, 26 Apr. 1946, the first general assembly of the "Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital” Association since 20 Dec. 1942 took place. On this occasion, the temporary chairman of the executive committee, retired Senator Paul de Chapeaurouge, thanked the senior physician, Wilhelm Bayer, and three other hospital staff members, who had to resign from their positions due to denazification regulations. Carl Stamm and his life’s work were not even mentioned in the minutes.

In 1967, due to mix-ups with Billhorner Kanalstrasse, the Veddel-Rothenburgsort local administration office (Ortsamt) was searching for a new name for 2nd Billhorner Kanalstrasse, which runs toward the original children’s hospital, and took into consideration a deceased personality as a name giver who had rendered outstanding services in founding or managing the hospital. The association’s executive committee proposed Friedrich Thieding, who had belonged to the executive committee from 1934 onward, and who, though a passive member of the Nazi party, had emerged from the denazification proceedings as "exonerated,” instead having made a name for himself as a family doctor, functionary in the Reich Physicians’ Chamber, and opponent of "euthanasia.” On 3 Oct. 1969, the name change to "Thiedingreihe” was implemented.

Despite the unclear circumstances surrounding the deaths of Minna Margarethe and Carl Stamm, Stolpersteine were laid at their residential address of Eppendorfer Weg 14 and another one for Carl Stamm in front of his place of professional activity in Rothenburgsort. Another step toward his acknowledgement and commemoration is the naming of the park at the intersection of Marckmannstrasse and Billhorner Deich after him. The park already features a monument and memorial for the victims of the "firestorm” and of Nazi rule. On 12 Nov. 2010, the dedication of the park was administered by the Head of the Hamburg-Mitte District Office, Markus Schreiber, whose pediatrician during the first five years of his life was Wilhelm Bayer, and in the presence of Gerhard Ruhrmann, the last Chief Physician of the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital, which, in connection with Hamburg hospital planning was closed in 1982. The association was dissolved based on the resolution of the general assembly dated 12 Mar. 1986. The hospital and association records were treated according to common storage periods and regulation, as a result of which only a small number of documents has been preserved until today.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: January 2019
© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: 1; 2 R 1938/2853; 4; 5; Joodsmonument; StaH Senat VII Lit Qd Nr. 628; 135-1 I-IV Senatskanzlei – Präsidialabteilung, 1928 A 86, 7753; 231-10 Vereinsregister, B 1997-1, Bd 1 und 2; 332-5 Standesämter, 8080+221/1924; 8174+348/1941; 9919+321/1941; 332-7 Staatsangehörigkeitsaufsicht B III 80419; 351-8 Stiftungsaufsicht, B 361; 352-3 Medizinalkolleg IV C 29, IV C 118; 315-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 091096 Oscar Herz; 710-2, Bd. 1 Originalia archivi, Vol. 8, Nr. 16; Jahresberichte Kinder-Poliklinik Rothenburgsort, 1898–1923; Beckershaus, Hamburger Straßennamen; Brahm, Lehren; Bussche, Akademische Karrieren, S. 115ff., in: Bussche (Hrsg.), Medizinische Wissenschaft; Ruhrmann/Holthusen, Das Kinderkrankenhaus, in: Hamburger Ärzteblatt (40), 1986; Stamm, Carl, Das Kinderkrankenhaus Rothenburgsort. in: Hygiene und soziale Hygiene in Hamburg, S. 254–257; 100 Jahre Tabea; 100 Jahre Diakoniewerk; Das Säuglings- und Kinderkrankenhaus; Tätigkeitsbericht des Säuglings- und Kinderkrankenhauses; Festschrift des Säuglings- und Kinderkrankenhauses Rothenburgsort; 80 Jahre Kinderheilkunde; persönliche Mitteilungen von Harald Jenner, 13.6.2010.
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