AHLEM, village near Hanover, known for its Jewish horticultural school, the first of its type in Germany. The school was founded in 1893 by the Jewish philanthropist Moritz Alexander Simon and was open to all suitable Jewish applicants, regardless of ideological affiliation. It trained hundreds of Jewish youths as agriculturalists and skilled workers. The three-year curriculum included agricultural subjects, especially horticulture, in addition to general subjects taught in secondary schools. On its foundation boys from the age of 14 were admitted; from 1903 to the 1920s girls over 16 were accepted for vocational training and home economics, and subsequently horticulture. A boarding school and elementary school for children between the ages of eight and 13 were added. In 1933 the number of pupils totaled approximately 50, but increased to 120 between 1936 and 1938. The school was authorized by the Nazis as a center for vocational training for Jewish youth intending to emigrate and was permitted to issue graduation certificates. Between 1933 and 1939 about 300 pupils graduated from Ahlem, and some of them emigrated to Ereẓ Israel. Even before the closure of the school in July 1942, Ahlem was made an assembly point for the deportation of Jews by the Gestapo. Between December 1941 and February 1945, more than 2,400 Jews of the Hanover and Halberstadt region were deported from Ahlem to Riga, Theresienstadt, Warsaw, and Auschwitz. For a short time, the tradition of the Gartenbauschule was revived and a kibbutz was established by Holocaust survivors in Ahlem in 1945.
F. Homeyer, Beitrag zur Geschichte der Gartenbauschule Ahlem 1893–1979 (1980).
[Mordechai Eliav /
Stefan Rohrbacher (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.