Thea Altaras

Thea Altaras (1924 – 2004) was a Croatian-German architect who was known by her research and publications on Jewish monuments in Hesse, Germany.

Thea Altaras
Thea Altaras in former Mikveh of Rotenburg an der Fulda, after its exposing in 2002.
Thea Fuhrmann

(1924-03-11)11 March 1924
Died28 September 2004(2004-09-28) (aged 80)
NationalityCroat, German
Alma materUniversity of Zagreb
Spouse(s)Jakob Altaras
ChildrenAdriana Altaras
Parent(s)Žiga and Alma Fuhrmann
RelativesAaron Altaras (grandson)
Leonard Altaras (grandson)

Early lifeEdit

Altaras was born in Zagreb, Croatia on 11 March 1924. She and her sister Jelka were raised in a wealthy Croatian Jewish family of Žiga and Alma Fuhrmann.[1][2] During World War II Altaras was imprisoned with her mother and sister at the Rab concentration camp. After the capitulation of Italy and the liberation of the camp, Altaras joined the Partisans with her mother and sister.[2]


After the war she returned to Zagreb and became a member of the Communist Party of Croatia.[2] She finished high school and started to attend the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Zagreb. In 1953 Altaras graduated from the University of Zagreb. After graduation she worked as an architect in Zagreb. She later completed her academic studies in Paris, France. Upon her return to Zagreb, she married Jakob Altaras. In 1960 their only daughter Adriana was born. In 1964 her husband was forced to leave Zagreb for Zurich, Switzerland under League of Communists of Croatia persecution.

To GermanyEdit

In 1964 Altaras and her daughter were smuggled, in a car, from Zagreb to Italy by her Italian brother in law. She stayed in Italy for a long enough time that her daughter learned Italian. From Italy she moved to Konstanz, Germany. Altaras found a job at the Municipal building department of Konstanz. For three years Altaras traveled between Konstanz and Zurich, where her husband worked. In 1968 she received German citizenship. She helped her husband to found the revived Jewish community in Giessen in 1978.

Grave of Thea Altaras in Giessen, Germany.

Achievements and awardsEdit

Altaras researched the architectural remains of the former synagogues in Hesse. In 1989 she received the honorary doctorate at the University of Giessen in recognition for her research on Judaism in Hesse. In 1995 she was rewarded with the Hedwig-Burgheim-Medaille for her contributions. Altaras was also awarded with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Altaras received worldwide attention due to her research and publications about the fate of the destroyed Jewish community in Hesse from 1933 to 1945. During her career she published several books about Judaism. She died in Giessen on 28 September 2004.[3]

Published worksEdit

  • Stätten der Juden in Gießen, Königstein i. Ts., 1998, ISBN 3-7845-7793-8
  • Synagogen in Hessen - Was geschah seit 1945?, Königstein i. Ts., 1988, ISBN 3-7845-7790-3
  • Synagogen und jüdische Rituelle Tauchbäder und: Synagogen in Hessen - Was geschah seit 1945? Teil II, Königstein i. Ts., 1994, ISBN 3-7845-7792-X
  • Synagogen und jüdische rituelle Tauchbäder in Hessen - Was geschah seit 1945?, Die Blauen Bücher, Königstein i. Ts., Verlag Langewiesche, 2007, ISBN 978-3-7845-7794-4


  1. ^ "Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database: Thea Altaras". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Jaša Romano (1980, p. 371)
  3. ^ "Biographie Frau Dr. Thea Altaras" (in German). Jüdische Gemeinde Gießen. Retrieved 2013-06-11.


  • Altaras, Adriana (2011). Titos Brille. Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch. ISBN 978-3-462-04297-9.
  • Romano, Jaša (1980). Jevreji Jugoslavije 1941-1945: žrtve genocida i učesnici narodnooslobodilačkog rata. Beograd: Jevrejski Istorijski Muzej, Saveza jevrejskih opština Jugoslavije.