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Albrecht Gebhard * 1902

Fichtestraße 8 (Wandsbek, Eilbek)

1939 KZ Fuhlsbüttel
Flucht in den Tod

Albrecht Karl Richard Gebhard, born on 25 June 1902 in Schöningen, died on 22 Mar. 1939 in the Fuhlsbüttel police prison (suicide)

Fichtestrasse 8

In a letter dated 28 Sept. 1938 to the Hamburg Criminal Investigation Department, the farm worker Wilhelm Bartels, born in 1913, described a number of homosexual contacts he had made for half a year during a stay in Hamburg in order to earn a living. By way of this self-denunciation, the man, a fugitive following a theft in Hildesheim, attempted to portray himself as a victim of seduction, thus prompting a series of police searches for homosexuals. To these men, however, he had passed himself off as a male prostitute; they included Paul Seyer (Stolperstein in Hamburg-St. Georg, Steindamm 3) and Charles Hennings (Stolperstein in Hamburg-Borgfelde, Klaus-Groth-Strasse 25).

Albrecht Gebhard, a native of Schöningen near Helmstedt, was also among those denounced and thus came to the attention of the criminal investigation department for the first time in 1938. He was born in 1902 as the second youngest of five children of the excavation foreman (Schachtmeister) Albrecht Gebhard and Emilie Alwine Catharina, née Arend. In 1939, a brother of Albrecht Gebhard lived in Rethem/Aller.

From age six to 14, he attended the Bürgerschule [a secondary school for the middle classes] of his native town, leaving school in 1916 to begin a horticulturalist’s apprenticeship. In 1919, he completed this training. What followed were jobs as a horticulturalist, some of them self-employed, in various cities. Since 1929, he worked in the Hamburg area, including in Bergedorf, Wedel/Blankenese, and Volksdorf. On 16 Mar. 1939, he was summoned by crime detective Willi Rettmann of the 24th Office of the Criminal Investigation Department, who was investigating the Bartels case, to the office building at Stadthausbrücke and accused of an offense in accordance with Sec. 175 of the Reich Criminal Code (Reichsstrafgesetzbuch – RStGB). Albrecht Gebhard admitted to the contact with Bartels in the summer of 1938 as a one-time adventure and stated that he had homosexual inclinations only when under the influence of alcohol and that for this reason he largely abstained from alcohol. Such attempts at explanation are known from comparable interrogations of homosexual men, and they were generally considered as excuses by the Criminal Investigation Department. Albrecht Gebhard’s statements, too, were deemed not credible. In order to obtain a more far-reaching confession, including the naming of all sexual partners, and due to "risk of suppression of evidence,” he was placed in police custody on the very same day of his interrogation and handed over to the detention post in the Stadthaus. On 18 Mar. 1939, he was committed to the Fuhlsbüttel police prison on orders of the Gestapo, and as expected, he extended his confession on 21 Mar.: He described further homosexual contacts since the age of 12 and as a young adult with strangers. Since, nevertheless, he only admitted the proven contact with Wilhelm Bartels for the period from 1932 onward, Kriminaloberassistent [approx. equivalent to detective technical sergeant] Willi Rettmann continued to consider him "not credible” and a "person difficult to approach.”

One day after his "lifetime confession” to police, on 22 Mar. 1939, the 37-year-old Albrecht Gebhard supposedly took his own life by hanging himself with his belt in his cell at the Fuhlsbüttel police prison. As in many comparable cases, it remains unclear whether after the interrogation in the Stadthaus or in the Fuhlsbüttel police prison he was subjected to mistreatment and possibly died of the effects of injuries, or whether he in fact took his own life "voluntarily.”

At Fichtestrasse 8 on the ground floor, Albrecht Gebhard had the last residential address of his own choosing as a sole tenant. In front of this house, a Stolperstein with the inscription "flight into death” commemorates his fate.

Wilhelm Bartels did not benefit from divulging numerous persons to police. In accordance with Sec. 175a Item 4 RStGB, the Hamburg Regional Court (Landgericht) sentenced him as a male prostitute in 21 cases to a prison term of two years and four months. He served this penalty until 25 July 1941 in, among other places, the notorious Rollwald prisoner camp near Rodgau in Hessen. After his transfer to the Hamburg-Hütten police prison, any traces of him disappear. Possibly, he was transferred to a concentration camp yet.

Status as of Feb. 2014

Translator: Erwin Fink

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Bernhard Rosenkranz(†) / Ulf Bollmann

Quellen: StaH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen 5465/39, Blatt 75–80; StaH 213-8 Staatsanwaltschaft Oberlandesgericht – Verwaltung Abl. 2, 451 a E 1, 1 d; 331-5 Polizeibehörde – Unnatürliche Sterbefälle 770/39; Herbert Diercks, Gedenkbuch Kola-Fu, S. 21; Rosenkranz/Bollmann/Lorenz, Homosexuellen-Verfolgung, S. 212.

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