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Boys at work at the ORT Technical School, Berlin

Date: c 1938
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Heinz Lippmann
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: ANMS0219[006]

User Terms

    A black and white photograph showing boys at work on an anvil in the ORT Technical School in Berlin, Heinz Lippmann is on the far right holding a hammer.
    The school, officially called 'The ORT Private Jewish Centre for Training Jews Wishing To Emigrate as Artisans and Tradesmen, Berlin Ltd' was established in 1937 to provide vocational training for young Jewish people who could not gain access to other institutions due to the anti - Semitism in Germany at the time. The school focused on teaching employable skills and was divided into six categories: locksmiths, blacksmiths, plumbers , electricians, mechanics and welders.

    HistoryIn 1937, ORT opened a school in Berlin, under the leadership of Dr. Werner Simon. Permission was given by the Nazi authorities for the school to open on the basis that it would train only Jews who were planning to emigrate. From the start, British ORT cooperated closely with ORT Berlin to secure the school’s future. Aware of the increasingly precarious situation of the Jews in Germany, it was decided that all machinery and tools bought for the school would be purchased under the name of British ORT, so that to confiscate them would be to seize the goods of a foreign country, in itself a declaration of war. The tactic worked. Under the protection of British ORT, the school survived Kristalnacht and the November 1938 pogrom, remaining the only institution unaffected by the spiralling trouble and taking in students deprived of employment in their traditional sectors and young people denied an education elsewhere. By July 1938, 215 students were studying at the school. With the situation deteriorating, Dr. Simon and Lieutenant-Colonel J. H. Levey, his British counterpart, began to explore the options for relocating the school to the UK. The British Ministry for Labour and the Home Office agreed to relocate the school to Leeds, on the condition that it brought all its (British-owned) equipment with it. At the final minute, however, permission to remove the equipment was denied by the Nazis. Colonel Levy moved heaven and earth to secure the permits for the boys to leave anyway, and, on 29 August 1939, 104 boys, seven teachers and their spouses left Charlottesburg Station in Berlin. Warner Simon remained behind, aiming to travel out with the second group of students, who were due to leave on 3 September 1939. On 1 September 1939 war was declared.
    [ORT Orgnisation, UK]

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