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Ernst Hagemann * 1896

Max-Brauer-Allee 71 (Altona, Altona-Nord)

JG. 1896
ERMORDET 15.2.1942

Ernst Albert Hermann Gottfried Hagemann, born 2 Apr. 1896 in Koblenz, died 15 Feb. 1942 in the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

Max-Brauer-Allee 71 (Allee 71)

Ernst Hagemann was born in Koblenz to Gottfried Hagemann and his wife Emma, née Werner, and christened in the Lutheran faith. His father was a building inspector, and later a government building officer. He had one brother, Kurt, who was an engineer and died in the First World War. The family moved to Altona around 1900. There Ernst Hagemann attended secondary school, graduating in 1914. He was drafted into the Rostock 90th Fusilier Regiment in 1915, and served on the Western Front. He was taken prisoner by the French in 1916, and not released until January 1920.

In 1920 he began his acting career at the Altona Theater, where he played small roles. In 1921 he appeared at the Elmshorn Theater and in Schneidemühl, but from 1924 to 1931 he worked in the offices of a gilding company. After his father’s death in 1930 he lived with his mother, and returned to acting in 1933. From June 1934 to May 1937, Hagemann appeared at the Hamburger Schaubühne. The director there described him as an honest, upstanding, and modest co-worker, who, in addition to acting, was also active in the company workers’ council. In early May 1937 he played the role of Farmer Drefeld in the play Schorsch Abbelboom’s Family Tree by Ferdinand Oesau. In 1935 he was "on loan,” as it reads in the season retrospective, to the Deutsche (at that time Staatliche) Schauspielhaus. He played Hadmar von Kunring (guard) in Dietrich Eckart’s Heinrich der Hohenstaufe (premiere on 17 June 1935) and Aslak (smith) in Ibsen’s Peer Gynt (premiere on 31 August 1935).

From September 1937 to April 1938 he was at the Landesbühne Ost-Hannover, and in the 1938/39 season at the Kurmärkische Landestheater in Luckenwalde with the military theater. His colleagues at these theaters also held him in high regard, and the directors praised his artistic talent and his interest in languages and literature.

On 6 April 1939, Ernst Hagemann was called to appear before the Hamburg District Court on charges of "repeated attempts of homosexual seduction.” He had had a relationship with a young man from the Hitler Youth, whom he had met while acting on the outdoor stage in the Hamburg Stadtpark. The judge sentenced Hagemann to six months in prison, less time served in pre-trial dentention, in which he had been held in the Altona court jail since 9 December 1938.

He was released from prison on 30 May 1939. In September his name was mentioned during police investigation of the blackmailer Alfredo Grasser (*1919), a former sexual partner of Hagemann’s, whom he had met in the Eilbeker Bürgersälen. Hagemann was arrested on 26 September 1939 and was held under heightened security at the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp from 1–4 October. While there he attempted suicide.

During his trial Hagemann made a full confession, and told of his homosexual tendencies. His 81-year-old mother testified that "My son Ernst has these tendencies. When he was still at school, he once said to me that he found it strange that he liked his schoolmates so much, that he was attracted to them. Otherwise he has a very good character. … He has always been a good son, I couldn’t wish for a better one.”

It was held against him that between the years of 1935 and 1939 he had performed homosexual acts with eleven persons, some of whom were under 21, whereby most of the acts consisted of photographing and touching the naked body. Some of the partners were apparently rent-boys, who received money for their services. The court considered it mitigating that he only undertook the homosexual acts when the partner was obviously also homosexual or a rent-boy. The court-appointed physician Hans Koopmann submitted an "undoubtedly criminal-biological prognosis” for Hagemann, in which he considered him a "danger to young people” and recommended "voluntary castration” as the "best security measure.” The court agreed.

The court ruled that Ernst Hagemann was a repeat offender, and sentenced him to two years in prison on the charges of "fornication with men.” He was admitted to the Wolfenbüttel prison on 21 March 1940. Pleas for pardon from his lawyer and his mother were unsuccessful. He did not submit to the recommendation of "voluntary castration.” The release report, written by the warden at Wolfenbüttel, stated that "the prisoner Ernst H. behaved according to regulations. His work performance was satisfactory. Considering his previous lifestyle, it cannot be assumed that the prison sentence has reformed him enough to prevent a relapse. I therefore recommend that he be held in police custody.” It was thus no surprise that, when his sentence was over on 25 September, he was released into police custody and held at the Hütten prison. From there he was sent to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, probably on 14 November 1941. His personal effects were confiscated and he was given the prisoner number 39955. A green triangle, representing a repeat offender, was sewn onto his uniform. His death at age 45 was recorded on 15 February 1942 in cell block 14.

The actor Ernst Hagemann lived with his mother at Max-Brauer-Allee 71 (formerly Allee 71) in Altona. A Stolperstein was placed there in his memory. A second Stolperstein in his memory was placed at the Deutsche Schauspielhaus at Kirchenallee 39, where he experienced the zenith of his career.

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

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

Quellen: StaH 213-8 Staatsanwaltschaft Oberlandesgericht – Verwaltung, Ablieferung 2, 451 a E 1, 1 d; 242-1 II Gefängnisverwaltung II, 16105 und Ablieferung 13; StaH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen, 1237/40; StaH 720-1 Plankammer, 132-7_9_45; Mit Dank an Rainer Hoffschildt, Hannover, für eine Auskunft vom 30.1.2015 mit Hinweisen aus dem Niedersächsischen Landesarchiv, Staatsarchiv Wolfenbüttel 43 A Neu 4 Jg. 1938 Nr. 1964 und an Dr. Michaela Giesing, ehemals Theatersammlung der Universität Hamburg, für ihre Recherchen und Auskünfte und an Monika Liebscher, Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen, für eine Auskunft vom 19.11.2014 mit Hinweisen aus dem Russischen Staatlichen Militärarchiv, Moskau, 1367/1/228, Bl. 014 (= Archiv Sachsenhausen, D 1 A/1228, Bl. 015), dem FSB-Archiv, Moskau, N-19092/Tom 98, Bl. 043 (= Archiv Sachsenhausen, JSU 1/98, Bl. 043) und dem Standesamt Oranienburg, Nr. 303/1942 (I), Bl. 36; Rosenkranz/Bollmann/Lorenz, Homosexuellen-Verfolgung in Hamburg, S. 214.

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