HIAS occupies a Wilhelminian townhouse at Rothenbaumchaussee 45, in the middle of the university quarter. The university guest house, the state library and numerous faculties are within walking distance, as are the Aussenalster and the railway station Hamburg Dammtor. With its impressive townhouses and villas from the 19th and early 20th centuries, the quarter is one of the most beautiful and historic in Hamburg.
The building used by HIAS also looks back on an eventful past:
This building was erected in 1892 as part of the building complex located at Rothenbaumchaussee 41-45 designed by the Hamburg architect Richard Jacobssen (1851-1920). In 1935, it was acquired by the Hamburg coffee merchant and financier Eduard Lassally (1854-1939) as a result of foreclosure proceedings. Lassally was a Protestant of Jewish heritage and joint proprietor of the company Lassally & Sohn. At the time of the purchase, Lasally had owned and lived with his family in the adjoining Rothenbaumchaussee 43 since 1895.
In 1939, only four years after its purchase, Eduard Lassally was divested of the building during the liquidation of his business holdings in the context of the overall political pressure on the “Jewish” population. Only a few days after the sale, Eduard Lassally committed suicide.
In a 1951 property restitution procedure, Oswald Lassally (1899-1975), a Hamburg law enforcement officer and the only surviving son of Eduard Lassally, reached a settlement with the heir of the building’s buyer according to which the heir paid compensation. The property was purchased by Universität Hamburg in the course of its expansion in 1961.
With its present use by the Hamburg Institute for Advanced Study (HIAS), this building will hopefully become a place of hospitality, international exchange and cultural diversity, and thus form a counterpoint to its complex history.
Author: Jakob Hahn
Source: Althoff, Hendrik: Expert Opinion. National-Socialist History and Subsequent History of the Property Rothenbaumchaussee 45.