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Abert Euen * 1894

Bullerdeich 51 (Hamburg-Mitte, Hammerbrook)

JG. 1894

Albert Euen, born 9 Oct. 1894 in Hamburg, died 30 Mar. 1945 in Kiel

Corner of Brackdamm and Bullerdiech 51 (Brackdamm 9)

Albert Euen was the victim of a denunciation. His case is very detailed, and can be seen as an example of many similar fates.

Albert Euen was born on 9 October 1894 in the Gängeviertel in Hamburg, and grew up in the building at Fischertwiete 7. He was the youngest of five children. His father Friedrich Euen (*25 August 1854 in Klein Kreutz in Brandenburg) was a restaurant-owner and had a successful river transport business shipping coal from Silesia. He had moved to Hamburg in 1885. There he married Auguste Olfsen (*11 June 1865 in Wischreihe near Elmshorn) on 22 December 1885. When Friedrich Euen submitted his application for Hamburg citizenship on 11 February 1891, his three eldest children had already been born: Fritz (*10 December 1886), Martha (*20 March 1888), and Luise (*29 October 1889). Richard was born in 1892, and finally Albert in 1894. Since Friedrich Euen had a sufficient income (about 1800 marks annually), was able to present all necessary documents, and had no criminal record, he was granted citizenship on 14 March 1891.

Friedrich Euen owned a prosperous restaurant, or possibly a pub, on Fischertwiete. With this financial foundation he bought two apartment buildings in Hammerbrook, at Brackdamm 7 and 9. The rental profits were enough that he was able to retire in 1908, and he moved to Schleusenstraße 25 in St. Georg. His daughter Martha, a dressmaker, married a neighbor, the shipping agent Ludwig Quast, who later became a wealthy grain merchant and moved to Rahlstedt. They had no children. Richard Euen began a promising career in the hotel business in Altona, and went to Constantinople for three years, 1910-1903. A shadow fell over the family with the start of World War I: Richard Euen was killed in the Battle of Tannenberg during the fighting at Frankenau.

In 1917 Fritz Euen married Paula Boldt and they moved into his father’s apartment building at Brackdamm 7. Their daughter Irmgard was born there in 1930. Fritz was an accountant and worked in the offices of the HHLA, a port transport and logistics company.

Albert Euen became a painter. After finishing primary school, he apprenticed for three years and then studied for two semesters at the Schütze school, a private painting school at Berliner Tor in Hamburg. The school got him a job as a specialist for decorative painting in Ekaterinoslav, now the city of Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine. From there he moved to a job with a German company in Rostov-on-Don, where he was arrested at the outbreak of World War I and interned in Soligalich, a small town in northwestern Russia. He escaped in 1918 and returned to Germany via St. Petersburg, with the help of the Swedish Embassy there.

He served in Reserve Battalion 31 in Heide, Holstein until the end of the war. He soon left Germany again, this time for Buenos Aires in 1919, but returned the following year and settled in Cologne, where he worked as a painter’s assistant. There he married Anna Schmitt, a Catholic, (*30 March 1899 in Cologne-Mühlheim), who was called Aenne by the family. They moved to Hamburg in 1923 and lived in the ground-floor apartment at Brackdamm 9. When their son was born, he was given the name Richard, after his uncle who had been killed in the First World War. In 1924 Albert opened his own painting business.

Luise Euen never married. She was the vice-chair of the Hamburg chapter of the Theosophical Society. Aenne Euen’s Catholicism, Fritz Euen’s resolute Protestantism – he was on the parish council for the Stephan Kempe Hall, a community center in Hamerbrook run by St. Katharine’s Church – and Luise Euen’s theosophy led to minor disputes within the family, as did differences of opinion between the earnest, no-nonsense eldest brother Fritz and the lively, fun-loving youngest brother Albert. Politics, however, did not play a role in the family. Albert Euen was a member of the NSV, the National Socialist People’s Welfare Association, and the DAF (German Labor Front), the National Socialist trade union organization.

After the outbreak of World War II, Albert Euen’s son Richard joined the Wehrmacht. His mother Auguste died in 1940, and he lost his wife Aenne in the firestorm of 27-28 July 1943. His father Friedrich fought his way through the flames from his apartment on Schleusenstraße to his daughter’s home in Rahlstedt. This became his and Albert’s permanent address.

Albert Euen was a watchman for the "Hanseatische Wachinstitut,” a security service attached to the Kriegsmarine. He was stationed in Cherbourg during the Hamburg air raids, and was later transferred to Calais. Shortly before his 50th birthday he was released from service with the Kriegsmarine for health reasons and returned to Hamburg. There he was given a passport and again deployed as a watchman. He was discharged in February 1945.

Fritz Euen was conscripted into the Volkssturm in 1944. He and two others guarded the HHLA administration building in the Speicherstadt. They agreed among themselves to throw the one weapon remaining to them into the canal and wait out the end of the war, attracting as little attention to themselves as possible.

The "Hanseatische Wachinstitut” had chosen Albert Euen for a job in Kolding in Denmark, so he moved to Schleswig. There he rented a room at Friedrichstraße 2. On 5 March 1945, in a conversation at the kitchen table with two other boarders about the general situation, he allegedly spoke disparagingly about Goebbels and Göring, defended the Russians when they were criticized, and complained about the lack of meat allocations on the ration cards. One of the two women considered it her duty "as an employee of a National Socialist service” – the Motor Corps 16 – "to make a report, as Euen was to be sent abroad.” On 13 March the Schleswig SD contacted the security inspector about the upcoming deployment. In order to prevent his deployment, and because he was in possession of a valid passport with a visa for Denmark, Albert Euen was arrested on the "strong suspicion of violation of Section 5, Paragraph 1 of the Special Ordinance dealing with War Crimes of 17 August 1938 (subversion of the war effort). The woman who denounced him repeated what she heard "word for word,” as she said, when the SD questioned her. When the second woman was asked what she remembered, she said she hadn’t listened to Albert Euen, because he was a complainer, who constantly talked about the death of his wife and the loss of his home, and who grumbled about the meat rations.

When he was questioned, Albert Euen denied the accusation. The SD transferred him to a prison in Kiel a day later. One week later the Kiel Gestapo asked the Senior Public Prosecutor at the Kiel Special Court to issue an arrest warrant, whereupon Albert Euen was registered at the Kiel Detention Center and Prison. During his questioning by Public Prosecutor Merten on 27 March, he surprisingly said: "I ask that you desist from questioning me today, and take me to a psychologist. My nerves are so frayed that I can’t be held responsible for what I say today.” The arrest warrant was issued, but not on the charge of subversion of the war effort, but rather for a violation of Section 2, Paragraph 2 of the Treachery Act. Solitary confinement was not considered necessary, but "risk of suicide” was noted, although this might have been added later. A second hearing never took place. Albert Euen was found dead in his cell on 30 March 1945 at 7 a.m. His death certificate, dated 7 September 1945, lists "suicide by hanging” as the cause of death.

Friedrich Euen, who was now 91 years old, searched for an entire year as to the whereabouts of his son. He received the notification of his son’s death and the death certificate on 18 March 1946. He died one year later. The family was never able to erase their doubts about Albert Euen’s "suicide.”

Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Hildegard Thevs mit Irmgard Euen(†)

Quellen: VVN Hamburg, E 11, 26. Luise Euen; KZ-Gedenkstätte Neuengamme; div. AB; StaH, 332-7 Staatsangehörigkeitsaufsicht B III 38886; 332-8 Meldewesen, K 5004; Landesarchiv Schleswig-Holstein, Abt. 358, Nr. 7187.

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