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Günther Blobel
Günther Blobel
© Archiv Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf

Günther Blobel * 1936

Tarpenbekstraße 107 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)

JG. 1936
´VERLEGT‘ 10.8.1943
TOT 28. JUNI 1945

further stumbling stones in Tarpenbekstraße 107:
Josephine Boock, Klaus Peter Wörbach

Günther Blobel, born 14.12.1936 in Hamburg, admitted to the Alsterdorf Asylum (Alsterdorfer Anstalten, now Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf) on 17.7.1942, transported to the Sanatorium and Nursing Home Mainkofen (Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Mainkofen) near Passau on 11.8.1943, died there on 28.6.1945.

Tarpenbekstraße 107 (Anscharhöhe), Eppendorf

Günther Blobel was born on 14 Dec. 1936 in what was then the Hamburg maternity clinic, the State Women's Clinic Finkenau, in Hamburg-Uhlenhorst, Finkenau 33/35. His mother, the worker Irmentraut Blobel, was single at Günther's birth. The natural father, Ernst Ludwig Siegfried Hassenpflug, acknowledged his paternity in February 1937. Both parents lived at Eimsbütteler Straße 38 in the Eimsbüttel district at the time of Günther Blobel's birth. They later entered into marriage.

Günther Blobel's brother Rolff, born on 21 Dec. 1938, was housed in the children's home in Altona, Bahrenfelder Kirchenweg 51, when he died of double-sided pneumonia on 17 Feb. 1940. According to Günther Blobel's patient file, he still had a half-sister named Brigitte, whose date of birth and biological father we do not know. The girl is said to have been given up for adoption by her mother.

After birth Günther Blobel came to live with his mother's relatives, but could not stay there because they fell ill with tuberculosis. Günther was also ill with pulmonary TB when he was first admitted to the Kastanienhof sanatorium belonging to the Anscharhöhe Diaconal Institution in Tarpenbekstraße in Hamburg-Eppendorf on 22 March 1939, and from there he was transferred to the infants' home (Mutter-Langer-Heim), which also belonged to the Anscharhöhe.

In a report of the State Youth Welfare Office of 11 Dec. 1939 on the question whether the boy could be given to the mother, it was noted: "Mother and producer hardly care for the child." The mother could not be considered a suitable educator. In 1940, the Anscharhöhe home management reported to the state Youth Welfare Office that Günther had become a big boy who was only just beginning to walk and talk. Mentally, he was probably two years behind.

In April 1942 it was reported that Günther Blobel was a restless boy who did not know his name, did not respond to address, was not interested in anything and did not know what to do with toys or picture books. According to Mrs. Bosse, the assistant doctor of the State Youth Welfare Office, Günther Blobel had a "considerable degree of imbecility" (the term "imbecility", which is no longer used today, referred to a reduction in intelligence or congenital intelligence weakness). The doctor recommended the boy to be transferred to the Alsterdorf Asylum (Alsterdorfer Anstalten, now Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf) as a "preservation case” ("Bewahrfall").

Günther Blobel was admitted to the Alsterdorf Asylum on 17 July 1942. At that time, his mother lived at Eiffestraße 652 in Hammerbrook with her brother, his biological father at Reeperbahn 38 in St. Pauli. The guardianship of the child was with the State Youth Welfare Office.

In the meantime, Günther Blobel had learned to walk "quite well". However, he was still unable to speak, dress, undress or eat by himself. When he was admitted to the Alsterdorf Asylum a "protective jacket" was put on him to prevent him from "putting the bedding in his mouth and tearing it". ("Protective jacket" is a euphemistic term for what is colloquially called a "straitjacket").
In June 1943, the 6 1/2-year-old boy was transferred to the "men's area, house Karlsruh". Reasons for this are not noted.

After the Alsterdorf Asyum had suffered damage during the heavy Allied air raids on Hamburg at the end of July/beginning of August 1943 ("Operation Gomorrha"), the director of the Alsterdorf Asylum, SA member Pastor Friedrich Lensch, took advantage of this situation and asked the Hamburg health authorities for permission to remove about 750 institution residents, ostensibly to make room for wounded and bomb-damaged persons. As a result, between 7 and 16 Aug. 1943, three transports with a total of 469 girls, boys, women and men left Alsterdorf in different directions, including a transport with 113 men, adolescents and boys on 10 Aug. 1943 with the destination Sanatorium and Nursing Home Mainkofen (Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Mainkofen) near Passau. Günther Blobel was among them.

The transport arrived in Mainkofen on 12 Aug. A short note about the arrival remained the only entry in Günther Blobel's patient file until 28 June 1945. Then it said: "As expected, no change psychologically. For some time suppuration of the lymph glands on the 1st side of the neck (TB). Severe decrease in nutritional condition. Diarrhoea at times. Frequent coughing; shortening of sound above the first lung and weakened indistinct breathing, occasional cracking noises.
Died today at 5.30 am.

Cause of death: glandular and pulmonary tuberculosis.
Clinical diagnosis: Alleged feeble-mindedness 1 imbecility."

The Sanatorium and Nursing Home Mainkofen (Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Mainkofen), formerly a psychiatric hospital, was systematically developed into a death institution during the National Socialist era. From there, during the first phase of the "Euthanasia" murders until August 1941, people were deported to the killing facility Schloss Hartheim near Linz and murdered with gas. 606 of them are known by name (as of 2016). Afterwards, the patients were murdered in Mainkofen itself, by food deprivation under the "Bavarian Hunger Decree" (starvation diet, meat- and fat-free diet, referred to in Mainkofen as "3-b diet"), nursing neglect and overdosed medication. According to the state of knowledge in 2016, 760 Mainkofen inmates died of malnutrition. The alleged causes of death were, in particular, intestinal catarrh, tuberculosis, pneumonia or pulmonary tuberculosis.

Of the 113 Alsterdorf boys and men who arrived in Mainkofen on 12 Aug. 1943, 74 had died by the end of 1945. As in other death camps, "pulmonary tuberculosis" repeatedly appeared as the cause of death, forty times for the 74 Alsterdorf patients who died in Mainkofen. "Intestinal catarrh" was named as the cause of death fifteen times. Only 39 people from Alsterdorf survived 1945, 15 of them adults and 24 children and adolescents up to the age of 21. The surviving patients were transferred back to Alsterdorf on 19 Dec. 1947.

Günther Blobel's mother, meanwhile married to Hassenpflug, still believed in 1947 that her son was alive. In a letter dated 15 March 1947 "To the children's home in Mainkofen", she asked to be informed whether the boy was still there or where he was. She also asked for information about his state of health and mind. In a short reply she was informed that her son had died of pulmonary and glandular tuberculosis on 28 June 1945.

Günther Blobel spent the greater part of his short life in the Anscharhöhe Diaconal Institution. As far as can be seen, the staff there cared for him and did not regard him merely as a "case of preservation". That is why the stumbling stone in memory of him was laid in the entrance area of Anscharhöhe.

Translation: Elisabeth Wendland

Stand: August 2023
© Ingo Wille

Quellen: StaH 332-5 Standesämter 5101 Geburtsregister Nr. 2321940 Rolff Blobel; Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf Archiv, V 436 (Akte Günther Blobel); Michael Wunder, Ingrid Genkel, Harald Jenner, Auf dieser schiefen Ebene gibt es kein Halten mehr – Die Alsterdorfer Anstalten im Nationalsozialismus, Stuttgart 2016, S. 315 ff.

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