Berlin, Germany


Alexander Beer


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alexander (Alex) Beer (10 September 1873 – 8 May 1944) was a German architect.

Beer was born in Hammerstein (Czarne), West Prussia. He studied in Berlin and Darmstadt. His first employment was in Mainz, where he restored and refurbished government buildings for the state of Hesse. Being a Jew, he could not find promotion in this position and finally left his post to take on that of a Regierungsbaumeister (Architect in Chief), offered by the Jewish Community in Berlin. Among his works created during this employment are:

An orthodox synagogue by Alexander Beer.

  1. A large Jewish orphanage in Berlin-Pankow (1913);

  2. An orthodox synagogue in Berlin-Kreuzberg (1913–16);

  3. A memorial for 395 fallen Berlin Jewish soldiers of World War I in the Jewish Cemetery, Berlin-Weissensee (1924–27);

  4. A Girls’ School in Berlin-Mitte;

  5. A liberal synagogue in Berlin-Wilmersdorf (1928–30). This, together with a Residence for Seniors in Berlin-Schmargendorf (1930–31), was widely regarded as his most important achievement.

Other, lesser commissions included the reconstruction, refurbishment and maintenance of various buildings owned by the Berlin Jewish Community.

All of Beer's works were seriously damaged during the era of Nazi Germany. The most dramatic vandalism was the torching of the Prinzregentenstrasse synagogue, Berlin-Wilmersdorf, on the Kristallnacht of 9–10 November 1938. Since 2000, some of the buildings have been restored, mostly with private funding.

Beer married Alice Fanny Davidsohn on 8 August 1924. She died of cancer on 5 November 1941. On 17 March 1943, Beer was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp, where he died. His daughter, Beate (born 9 May 1929) survived and now lives in Sydney, Australia.


From Renate Rosenau

In JewishGen I found the kelihalinks site of Berlin, and I found Alexander Beer, good to know that he is on this site. I heard of him first when the chapel of the mental hospital at Alzey - Rheinhessen-Fachklinik Alzey, where I live, was re-opened after restoration in 2011. The clinic archive keeps some of his drawings. He was one of the architects when the clinic was built 1906-1908, mostly responsible for design. This Alzey mental hospital is a good example for the developments in art around 1900-1910, synthesis of the arts, promoted by Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hessen, in Darmstadt, - all buildings and interiors, from the cock on the church tower to the shoe cabinet, were designed, many of them by Alexander Beer.


I am living 35 kms southwest of Mainz, where Alexander Beer had been employed by the Grossherzogtum Hessen, at the Hochbauamt. His first ten years he worked at Mainz, Oppenheim, Worms, Alzey. I found his personal file in the Staatsarchiv Darmstadt, which enabled me to reconstruct the places where he had been working in our region Rheinhessen. I took photos of all his buildings in our region and I am giving lectures. In 2012 and 2013 his daughter Beate, living in Sydney, came to visit me on her trip to Berlin where two buildings of her father had been restored (2012 Maedchenschule, 2013 Waisenhaus Pankow).  


One thing in your note is not right:

He did NOT leave this job at the Grossherzogtum because he was a Jew. He then was civil servant for life time - Regierungsbaumeister! And he had got an award from the Great Duchy for his excellent work at the School atWorms in 1909. He left because the state building programme collapsed and the state building office did not have much to work for, followed by a stop of promotion. I think you got the information from Inge Lammel's book published in "Juedische Miniaturen", Hentrich & Hentrich, she had got this information from Alexander Beer's sister (she lived in Australia). But studying the personal files this message is not right. When I read it first in Inge Lammel's book I doubted it, knowing of the liberal policy of the Grossherzogtum Hessen, and now proved by facts the personal file.

I include my hand out - in German

Renate Rosenau, Alzey, Germany

Letter Alexander Beer received for his excellent work at the Grossherzogliches Gymnasium Worms:

Source of the letter: Hessisches Staatsarchiv, Darmstadt, G 34 No. 497.