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Max Blaeser * 1909
Wichernsweg 28 (Hamburg-Mitte, Hamm)
further stumbling stones in Wichernsweg 28:
Max Blaeser, born 27.6.1909 in Lüdenscheid, death on 4.5.1943 while serving in the Bewährungsbattalion 999 in Tunisia
In the 1930s, Max and Martha Blaeser's apartment at Wichernsweg 28 served as a meeting point for political opponents until it was destroyed in the firestorm of July 27/28, 1943, during "Operation Gomorrah" by the British Air Force.
Max Blaeser was from Westphalia and had come to Hamburg when he was barely four years old. His parents, the merchant Peter Paul Blaeser, born on Jan. 3, 1881 in Winkhausen near Altena, and Anna, née Brieden, born Nov. 3, 1883 in Lüdenscheid, were both Roman Catholics. They had married on January 11, 1904.
Max was the youngest of their four children, of whom only the two older ones were still alive when he was born: Peter Paul, born in Lüdenscheid on June 6, 1904, and daughter Apolonia, born in Winkhausen on July 31, 1905. The family had moved to Hagen in April 1905, but returned to Lüdenscheid on Jan. 4, 1907, where they remained for the next six years. There, on 2/14/1908, another daughter, Anna Maria Clara, was born, who died when she was only seven months old. Paul and Apolonia were still enrolled in school in Lüdenscheid.
In the spring of 1913, the family moved to Hamburg. They found temporary housing in Süderstraße in the Hammerbrook workers' quarter until 1916, when they settled at Billstraße 94 in Rothenburgsort, where they lived for the next seven years or so. The mention of a war injury on Peter Blaeser's death certificate suggests that he participated in World War I. Address books list him first as a packer and from 1920 as a merchant.
Max was enrolled in school at the beginning of the First World War and, like his siblings, attended elementary school. He graduated in 1923 after eight years with a regular grade 1, but without completing an apprenticeship. Instead, he hired himself out as a construction worker and stone carrier.
The Blaeser family moved to 543 Eiffestraße in Hamburg-Hamm after the end of the inflationary period. In 1928, Paul married Dora Kludasch from Wilhelmsburg, who was one year younger. Their marriage produced a daughter, but the marriage failed as early as 1930.
Max Blaeser became involved with Martha Selma Stooff, three years his senior, who was born in Hamburg on September 28, 1906. Their first child, Hans-Werner, was born premaritally (Feb. 5, 1929). They married after the end of the Great Depression, during which Max Blaeser was temporarily unemployed. After their marriage on March 7, 1931, their two daughters Marianne (5/11/1931) and Margot (4/8/1934) were born. The family also lived at 543 Eiffestraße.
Max Blaeser had joined the KPD and the Red Front Fighters' League as well as the Red Help. He was curing a bout of influenza when, on December 5, 1933, he was taken from his sickbed into "protective custody" and taken to Fuhlsbüttel, from where he was transferred to pretrial detention.
The charge was "preparation for high treason." His trial was part of a larger trial called "Hahn and Comrades" (0 IV 60/34 (22)) at the Hamburg Higher Regional Court. Max Blaeser was sentenced on June 12, 1934, to a penalty of two years and three months, which he served in Fuhlsbüttel from June 12, 1934, to July 22, 1936. The prison sentence meant that he was henceforth considered unworthy of military service. During his imprisonment, the family received a weekly welfare allowance of RM 22, including rent.
After his release, Max Blaeser returned to work and family life. He found employment as a stone carrier on a piecework basis with the building and civil engineering company Max Treudler in Wandsbek. Apparently he did not engage in any further illegal activities.
On December 15, 1937, the second son, Max, was born, and finally another daughter, Marion (November 17, 1940). Max Blaeser had meanwhile moved with his family and his brother Paul to Wichernsweg 28, Hs. 9.
In the Blaeser house, communists from Hamm and Horn met in a discussion group, as can be seen from their available biographies. Participants were Oswald Laue from Döhnerstraße 44, his brother-in-law Richard Sieverts, Albert Malachowski and Rudolf Lindau, who was engaged to Lieselotte Schlachcis, Walter Medau, Süderstraße 320, Paul Styrnal, Horner Landstaße 204 with his comrades from Horn Kurt Vorpahl, Snitgerstieg 3, and John Trettin, Horner Landstraße 416 (the latter belonged to Billstedt).
Paul Styrnal moved in with his family at Blaesers in 1940/41. Rudolf Lindau was also registered there for a short time. Nothing is known about the content of the conversations.
(Laue, Malachowski, Lindau and Medau are commemorated by stumbling stones in Hamburg, biographies of Styrnal, Vorpahl, Schlachcis and Trettin see www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de).
The father Peter Blaeser died on October 20, 1939 at the age of 58 in the apartment at Wandsbeckerchaussee 181 (today: Wandsbeker Chaussee) of his daughter Apolonia, married Rump.
In the wartime winter of 1941/42, the German Wehrmacht had suffered unexpectedly high losses in the east after the unsuccessful attack on Moscow. In order to compensate for these losses, those who had previously been classified as "unworthy of military service" were called up as "conditionally worthy” of military service. On October 2, 1942, the High Command of the Wehrmacht issued the order on the formation of the "Probationary or Punitive Battalions 999". As early as October 15, 1942, the call-ups began to the Heuberg, a huge military complex on the Swabian Alb between Sigmaringen and Tuttlingen. It had been established in the 19th century as a barracks and maneuver training ground and, after the transfer of power to Hitler, served as a protective custody camp with Kurt Schumacher as the most prominent inmate. The SA and RAD used the facilities until the Heuberg became a training site for the Bewährungseinheit 999.
Max Blaeser enlisted at Heuberg on October 30, 1942, and was given the field post number 48 539, which identified him as a member of this Bewährungsbataillon 999 and the African Rifle Regiment 961 and 962, respectively. His family received a monthly allowance from the Wehrmacht of RM 274.
His battalion was deployed to North Africa in late March 1943. The commander of his unit lost contact with him on April 22, 1943, and suspected that he might have become a prisoner of war in England or the United States, as he wrote to Martha Blaeser on June 7, 1943. By that time, however, Max Blaeser was no longer alive. He died on May 4, 1943 while laying disk mines or clearing mines and was buried in Pond du Fahs. There, 55 km southwest of Tunis, the German Luftwaffe had maintained an airfield until it was captured by the Allies.
In July 1943, Martha Blaeser was bombed out and moved with her five children into a makeshift home of 16 square meters in Hamburg 24, Bille 1, Parcel 15.
Martha Blaeser received the news of her husband's death in December 1943, and only now was she receiving a widow's pension of 360 RM per month. She learned the exact date of death from a letter dated March 14, 1944, from the Stalingrad and Tunis working staff at Wehrkreiskommando V Stuttgart, which was responsible for the Bewährungsbataillon.
Martha Blaeser died on 29 December 1977 in the Eilbek General Hospital at the age of 71.
Translation: Beate Meyer
Stand: August 2021
© Hildegard Thevs
Quellen: Hamburger Adressbücher; StaHH 213-13, Wiedergutmachung, 32708, darin DER SPIEGEL 27. März 1951 mit Foto; 332-5 Standesämter, 7524-7/1978; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 31479, 34968; VAN 1968; Gedenkstätte Neuengamme, Archiv, VVN B 31; Stadtarchiv Lüdenscheid, EMK 1899-1920; Mitteilungen von Angehörigen, Juli 2021.