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Willy Heinecke * 1894

Friesenweg 4 (Altona, Othmarschen)

JG. 1894

Karl Willy Heinecke, born on 1 Aug. 1894 in Halle/Saale, died on 10 Mar. 1939 in Hamburg

Friesenweg 4 (Friedensallee 331–333)

Willy Heinecke was born in 1894 in Halle on the Saale as the son of Max Heinecke and his wife Hedwig, née Brandenberger. He had at least one sister and her name was Margarete. The family moved to Hamburg.

After finishing his school-leaving certificate in the tenth grade, he began a commercial apprenticeship in 1909, was drafted into military service in 1913, and served as a sergeant in WWI at the front until 1918 and received the Iron Cross 2nd Class. After the war ended, he worked in Hamburg as a laborer, later as a department director and assistant to the works manager at the prepared edible fats factory "Bahrenfelder Margarine Works A. L. Mohr”. From 1921 to 1926 he belonged to the "Stahlhelme”, an anti-democratic, paramilitary unit of former front-line soldiers who longed to return to the monarchy of the imperial age. Willy Heinecke was forced to leave the unit in 1926 due to "unnatural” misconduct: Since 1923 he had had a homosexual relationship with the then 17-year-old commercial clerk Herbert Hübner (born 1905) from Altona. They spent their vacations together in Schleswig-Holstein, in Meldorf and at the Baltic resort Kellenhusen until 1935. When his boyfriend became engaged to a woman in 1935, the long-term relationship ended with a quarrel on Christmas in 1935. Willy Heinecke contemplated suicide during that difficult life crisis. Despite or perhaps due to his homosexuality, Willy Heinecke sympathized overtly with the Nazi movement which did not actively crack down on male-male sexuality until the murder of the SA leader Ernst Röhm in July 1934, who was also homosexual. Until that event, the all-male association appealed to some homosexuals. In September 1931, Willy Heinecke joined the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (NSDAP), and at the end of November of the same year he joined the subunit National Socialist Motor Corp (Motor-SA). Due to his "powerful bearing” he was made leader of the "Motorsturm M/13” in March 1933. Moreover, he was "Sturmführer” of the National Socialist Motor Corp NSKK. Like Ernst Röhm, however, none of these commissions or memberships protected him from the National Socialist persecution machinery.

Shortly before Christmas 1936 at work at the Bahrenfeld Margarine Works, commonly referred to as the "Rama Works”, Willy Heinecke fell under suspicion of having homosexual tendencies because he "constantly hung out with young people” and "avoided contact with women”. Director Hendrik Meurkens notified Altona’s Criminal Investigations Department who initially had no evidence incriminating Willy Heinecke, yet launched a comprehensive investigation from Jan. 1937 into the suspect’s private life. The director eagerly gave the police information about his employee’s private life and behavior that the director found suspect. Several managers and colleagues emphasized under questioning by the investigating officers that they had no "direct evidence” of Willy Heinecke’s homosexuality or that of his former partner and co-worker Herbert Hübner. Yet they believed it their "duty” to make the "reports”.

During one of the first interrogations on 20 Feb. 1937, Willy Heinecke denied having bi-sexual or homosexual tendencies. At his second questioning by the Altona crime inspectors on 25 Feb., he then admitted to the long-term homosexual contact with Herbert Hübner. During further questioning in his private circles, Willy Heinecke was arrested on1 Mar. 1937 on suspicion of "perverted fornication” and detained at the Altona Court Jail when the 19-year-old Wilhelm Bade (born 1917) confessed to a sexual encounter with him in more recent times. In the judgment passed by the Altona District Court on 4 May 1937 after paragraphs § 175, old and new edition, and 175a, clause 2, Willy Heinecke was regarded as the driving force over his younger partner and received a prison sentence of one year and six months, even though he had no prior record. The fact that Wilhelm Bade, as a member of the National Socialist Motor Corp NSKK, was subordinate to Willy Heinecke aggravated the situation because "the Party in particular must guard itself for purity within its ranks”. After the judgment he was transferred to Fuhlsbüttel Prison at the end of May 1937. His family maintained regular contact with him during his imprisonment, and the reason for his sentence will not have remained a secret to his parents or siblings. In 1937 his sister Margarete Petersen, née Heinecke, submitted a comprehensive plea for clemency to the "Führer”, which include numerous character references. The references showed that Willy Heinecke had "left” the margarine factory after the start of his criminal proceedings at the end of April but he still received a good reference, with phrases such as "always performed to our full satisfaction” and "conducted himself flawlessly at work”. Nevertheless, the plea for clemency was rejected, and Heinecke served his full sentence until 7 Sept. 1938. During his time in prison, he appears to have contracted a severe lung infection which he never recovered from after his release. The 44-year-old died of a lung abscess following pneumonia at Marien Hospital in Hamburg on 10 Mar. 1939.

Although his final address was at Am Pachthof 12 in Horn, where his mother moved after the death of his father, and for a short time at Rückertstraße 12 in Altona before his arrest, the Stumbling Stone for Willy Heinecke was moved to the sidewalk in front of his parents’ house at the former Friedensallee 331, today Friesenweg 4, since he had lived there with his parents from 1918 until 1936.

Translator: Suzanne von Engelhardt
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: April 2018
© Bernhard Rosenkranz (†) / Ulf Bollmann

Quellen: AB Altona 1936; StaH, 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen, 8938/38; 242-1 II Gefängnisverwaltung II, Ablieferungen 13; StaH 332-5 Standesämter, 7223 (Eintrag Nr. 396); Rosenkranz/Bollmann/Lorenz, Homosexuellen-Verfolgung in Hamburg, S. 217.

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