Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
In 1862 the concept of Valentine´s Day did not even exist – people were busy doing other, usually useful things. Like donating their whole wealth to finance the building of a new municipal hospital. Here is one of such quiet heroes and heroines.
On that day Eleonore Wilhelmine Ottilie Beschort, the daughter of Friedrich Jonas Beschort and Therese Beschort nee Zuber, both famous early 19-century stage artists, signs her last will.
She bestows her whole wealth – then 400,000 Mark – to the Borough of Berlin with the sole purpose of founding a municipal hospital (on the condition, however, that no syphilis ward is part of the establishment). The money was to be paid out upon her death. Over the next 19 years (Fräulein Beschort died in 1881) the interest on the bestowed sum would make it grow by 50% of the original value.
On the 14th of April, 1881 – the day when she died – her bequest gained a respectable size of 600,000 Mark and as such reached 20% of the sum necessary to open the new hospital: the III Städtisches Krankenhaus auf dem Urban.
Until January 19th, 1943 a plaque hanging in the administration building of the hospital used to remind all patients whom they owe their help to. After the Royal Air Force bombers were done dropping their cargo on the night of the 18th/19th January, part of the hospital and allegedly the plaque were gone.
Gone is also Fräulein Beschort´s grave: she was buried at the Dreifältigkeitsfriedhof I – one of the cemeteries between Baruther-, Blücher- and Zossenerstrasse (click the link to see the map of the area). But even her great charitable act and the fact that it is thanks to her good will that Kreuzberg has its own hospital – the only one left today – did not protect her from having her grave levelled. It is also possible that it was removed along with hundreds of other graves to make space for the new section of Blücherstrasse running behind the American Memorial Library.