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Eduard Duckesz

Eduard Duckesz and Eduard Duckesz House

In 2007, the Hamburg Monument Foundation established a visitors’ centre at the Jewish Cemetery. It was named in memory of Rabbi Eduard Duckesz. The Eduard Duckesz House was built on a plot of land where some house structure had always stood.



DUCKESZ, Eduard Jehezkel, born 3 August 1868, in Szelepszeny (Hungarian Slovakia), murdered 6 March 1944 in Auschwitz; rabbi, historian, genealogist.

Duckesz, the founder of Jewish family research in Hamburg, put genealogical research on a scientific basis together with Rabbi Max Grunwald, utilizingphotographed and thus documented gravestone inscriptions. More than 1,000 of these photographs are stored today in the Central Archives for the Jewish People in Jerusalem and in the Hamburg Office for Monument Protection.

After studying at the yeshiva (Talmudic academy) in Pressburg, Eduard Duckesz was appointed as rabbi of a small synagogue and teacher to the Altona Klaus (small synagogue) established in 1690 by chief rabbi Zvi Aschkenasi, whose rich library he later would catalogue scientifically and make special use of for his research. In subsequent years, he acquired great merit as an owner of the rabbinical court of the High German Community in Altona, as a mohel (ritual circumciser), head of the Hevra Kadisha (Burial Society), hospital pastor, military chaplainand rabbinical administrator for the province of Schleswig-Holstein.

Along side his work as a rabbi and teacher, Duckesz gained great merit in particular as an untiring chronicler of the Tripe Community Altona-Hamburg-Wandsbek, engaged in research on Jewish gravestone inscriptions and the genealogy of Jewish families. Among his major works areIwoh leMoschav (Cracow 1903) and Chachme AHU(Hamburg 1908). On the occasion of the 250th anniversary of Altona, he published the study in 1915 Zur Geschichte und Genealogie der ersten Familien der Hochdeutschen Israeliten-Gemeinden in Hamburg. He was unable to publish his large-scale opus magnum, the genealogical-biographical collective volume Mishpehot AHU. His extensive genealogical studies on Isaac Bernays and Samson Raphael Hirsch were published in the Jahrbücher der Jüdisch-Literarischen Gesellschaft.

After Dr. Joseph Carlebach was appointed chief rabbi in Hamburg, Duckesz assumed for a short time direction of the Altona Jewish Community. Together with Dr. Theodor Weisz and Jacob B. Cohen, he was part of the Altona rabbinical court. In 1938, Eduard Duckesz was awarded on his 70th birthday the golden memorial medal of the Jewish Community, the Portugaleser”.At the end of 1938, he fled with the Altona rabbis Jacob and Binjamin Cohen to Amsterdam, intending to emigrate to the United States. His children Esther and Leo emigrated in 1936 to Palestine, his son Michael went to Argentina and his daughter Hanna found refuge in Czechoslovakia. In Amsterdam, Eduard Duckesz taught at a synagogueand pursued his scholarly studies. He also was successful in rescuing his extensive photo collection and numerous archival materials. In 1943, after arrest, he was deported from the internment camp Westerborkto Auschwitz deportiert, where he was murdered on 6 March 1944. A stumbling stone before his Altona home at Biernatzkistraße 14 (previously Sonninstraße), the Eduard Duckesz House dedicated on 29 November 2007 at the Jewish Cemetery Königstraße, and a portrait by the Hamburg painter Otto Quirin (EduardDuckeszHouse, Jewish Cemetery Königstraße in Altona) recall the great spiritual counselor, pastor and historian of the Jewish Communities of Hamburg, Altona und Wandsbek.

Source: Studemund-Halévy, Michael. In: Hamburgische Biografie. Edited by Franklin Kopitzsch and Dirk Brietzke, Vol.4, Wallstein Verlag Göttingen 2008, pp. 88f.



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