Accommodation for the chronically ill

Elderly and chronically ill Jews were traditionally dependent on charity. From 1911 onwards, Rabbi Meijer de Hond devoted his time and effort to building permanent accommodation for this group. This began with 12 residents at Nieuwe Keizersgracht 70 and in 1925 the 'Palace of Benevolence' was built for 150 residents at Nieuwe Achtergracht 98 (architect: Harry Elte). Yet even this soon proved to be too small.

 

The "Palace of Benevolence" by architect Harry Elte. Photo: City Archive Amsterdam.

Canvassing campaigns

The Jewish Invalid Society became well-known throughout the country due to the successful canvassing campaigns of its successive directors Samuel Norden and Isaäc Gans. Everyone (both Jews and non-Jews) took part in the lotteries and benefit concerts and everyone has a collection box on their mantelpiece.

 

Ticket from lottery benefiting "de Joodsche Invalide", 1925. Photo: City Archive Amsterdam.

New Objectivity

The ultra-modern extension on the corner of Weesperplein was designed by the architect Staal in the New Objectivity style and completed in 1938. The large windows allowed patients to benefit from the sunlight and fresh air. Princess Juliana paid the building a demonstrative visit shortly after its opening, as a means to counterbalance the emerging anti-Semitism.

 

The modern extension by architect Staal, 2004. Photo: City Archive Amsterdam.

The Municipal Health Service

The number of residents increased to over 400 during the war and on the 1st of March 1943 they, the resident staff and its most recent director Jacques Buzaglo were deported and killed by the occupiers. In 1952 the building was converted into Weesperplein Hospital and today it is home to Amsterdam's Municipal Health Service, which was originally located at no. 100.