Wesleyan students Miles Cohen ‘23, Anna Tjeltveit ‘23, Josh DuBois ‘23, and Thoma Mitsuya ’23, who have been studying at Hamburg University with the Smith-Hamburg program since March 2022, joined Professor Bork on a historical walking tour through Blankenese, a suburb of Hamburg. They arrived at the S-Bahn station, built in 1867 and located next to Erik Blumenfeld Platz. The location was named after Erik Blumenfeld (1915-1997). As the son of a Jewish father and Danish mother, he was deported to Auschwitz in 1943. Luckily, he survived this death camp and returned to Hamburg. He became a German politician in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the German Bundestag, and the European Parliament.
During the tour, we passed Prof. Bork’s great-grandparents’ former house. Two Stolpersteine remind the passers-by of their deportation to and death in Theresienstadt.
Near the local market, a memorial stone reminds us of eight young men from Blankenese who participated in the 1848 uprising of Schleswig-Holstein. In 1640, Blankenese had become part of the Duchy of Holstein, which was then reigned over by Danish kings for more than 200 years. In the mid-19th century, it was briefly ruled over by Austria, then by Prussia, and since 1938, Blankenese has been a district of Hamburg.
We continued our walk by then visiting the Hessepark. It is named after George Heinrich Hesse (1785-1861), who was one of the founders of the German Commerzbank. Before him, around 1800, Mr. and Mrs. Klünder lived in what became the Hessepark. Friederike Klünder introduced smallpox vaccination in Blankenese and the surrounding villages by personally vaccinating 2,168 children and adults against the disease.
We then entered the “Treppenviertel” (staircase quarter), with its over 5,000 steps, and descended 150 steps to the river
Elbe on the Strandtreppe. At the bottom is the well-known Strandhotel famous for its two reliefs featuring Hermann and Dorothea from Goethe’s novel of the same title.
Our one-hour long tour continued through Baurs Park, named after the businessman Georg Friedrich Baur (1768-1865), whose manor house was built by the famous Danish architect, Hansen (1756-1845).
Not far from this beautiful park, our tour ended with “Kaffee und Kuchen” on Prof. Bork’s balcony. Miles was exhausted and rested in the Strandkorb.