In the mid-1950s, the Jewish congregation in Hamburg, which had been reestablished in 1945, began to think about building a new home for the elderly. At the same time, their plans to build a new synagogue at Hohe Weide became more concrete. In contrast to this new building, for which the congregation announced a competition, it commissioned the architect Hermann Zvi Guttmann from Frankfurt am Main directly for the retirement home. By August 1956 he began working with his client in Hamburg. The plans shown here are probably the first design plans Guttmann completed in October 1956. The set contains the floor plans for each floor, all three views and four cross sections. These drawings reflect the basic ideas and needs of the congregation, perhaps even to a greater extent than the completed building, which had to be adapted during its construction due to financial constraints among other things. Thus the plans provide a basis for a comparison between the originally formulated wishes and ideas and the actual realized building. The way the floors were laid out to correspond to their designated functions in Guttmann’s original design was retained in the realization, as was the decision for a different design of the front and courtyard façades.
The drawings are part of the architect’s estate, which has been kept in the Jewish Museum Berlin archive since the end of 2017. Other documents are held in the Hamburg State Archive.
Jewish Congregation Hamburg. Retirement Home and Nursing Home. Scale: 1:100. Diazotypes, Frankfurt am Main, October 1956 (translated by Insa Kummer), edited in: Key Documents of German-Jewish History, <https://dx.doi.org/10.23691/jgo:source-215.en.v1> [October 21, 2021].