Themes/Otto Weidt's Workshop for the Blind/The Jewish Home for Children and the Aged in Niederschönhausen

The Jewish Home for Children and the Aged in Niederschönhausen

After the war Otto Weidt supported the establishment of the Jewish Home for Children and the Aged at Moltkestraße 8-11 in the Berlin district of Niederschönhausen. After Liberation it was the first secure place for children and elderly people who escaped Nazi persecution.

There were many difficulties involved in setting up the Home. Clothes, linen, crockery, furniture, heating fuel, and building materials were in short supply. The Home depended on private donations. Otto Weidt supported it with money and goods. The American Joint Distribution Committee (a Jewish aid organization) and the Swiss Red Cross provided food for the Home residents.

But the aim of creating a place for children where they could live without fear could only be achieved for a few short years. The emerging anti-Semitic tendencies in East Germany as the country came under the grip of Stalinism lead many Jewish Community members to flee the country. In January 1953 the director of the children’s home, Siegfried Baruch, fled to West Berlin with 12 children. The history of the only Jewish children’s home in communist East Germany came to an end shortly afterwards. The Home for the Aged remained until 1989.

Residents of the Jewish Home for the Aged in Niederschönhausen