Segregation in Kindergarten
A Hamburg lawyer reports on his young daughter's education
“The times have become very serious. We are depressed and despondent, and therefore there is little leisure and inclination to write and take photographs as elaborately as before.”
Even though he professes to be in low spirits due to the serious situation and therefore hardly inclined to write and take photographs as regularly as before, Wilhelm Hesse, a lawyer in Hamburg, describes the development of his daughter Helen in some detail in his diary. He reports on her capacity to think logically and a desire to learn so strong that the parents feel they have to make her slow down a bit. Hesse also writes with satisfaction about Helen’s progress in a Jewish kindergarten, but he does not fail to mention that she must learn to get along better with her little sister, Evchen. Since the passing of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935—Helen was two years old at the time—Jewish children were no longer allowed to attend non-Jewish kindergartens, and Jewish kindergarten teachers were prohibited from taking care of non-Jewish children. The Hesse family was religiously observant and might have opted for a Jewish institution even under normal circumstances.
Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin
Helen and Eva Hesse Family Collection, AR 25327
Box 1, folder 3