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Hohle Gasse 3

In 1821 the Storm family moved in with grandmother Magdalena Woldsen in Hohle Gasse 3. It is the most important example of 18th century typical Husum town house that has been preserved in Husum to this day. It was built by Storm’s great-grandfather, the merchant and sugar manufacturer Friedrich Woldsen, around 1770 for his son Simon. A gable emphasizing the central axis of the street front as well as an office and packing house attached to the side of the building in 1777 have not survived. A rich Rococo ambience with doors and stucco work from the 18th century has been preserved inside the house to this day. The movable inventory of the Rococo period, which was still preserved in Theodor Storm’s childhood and adolescence and the reports of family members who had already lived in the 18th century, it awakened a fondness for this time in the young Storm, which the poet literarily processed in various prose tales (e.g. Im Saal, Im Sonnenschein). At the same time, it was a mental refuge in phases of his own life crises, the possibility of escaping the oppressive “embarrassing reality” (letter to his parents, 17.12.1854). Another part of this reality is the fact that shadows of transience had already caught up with it.

Friedrich Woldsen, “the last great merchant the city had, who had his ships at sea and had a marsh ox slaughtered for the poor at Christmas” (as Theodor Storm remembers in Aus der Jugendzeit, first printed: 1888) lived in the house across the street Hohle Gasse 8, which is, alongside Hohle Gasse 4, the setting for Storm’s novella Die Söhne des Senators (1880). Today, the house at Hohle Gasse 8 has only been heavily modified.

Theodor Storm was initially a student at the Husum’s Grammar School, he completed school in Lübeck in 1837. He finished his law studies in October 1842 and became an employee in his father’s practice in Husum. The practice was in Hohle Gasse 3. Theodor Storm finally opened his own legal practice in Husum in April 1843, in Großstraße 11. This building has not survived. In 1845 Storm then moved into Neustadt 56.

Text by Holger Borzikowsky (1947–2015)
Translation by Bjarne Albertsen