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Heinrich Coors * 1911

Am Frankenberg 22 (Harburg, Wilstorf)

JG. 1911
TOT 3.5.1945

Heinrich Coors, born 28 May 1911 in Harburg, drowned 3 May 1945 in the Bay of Lübeck

Langenbek, Am Frankenberg 22

Heinrich Coors, called Heico, was the second son of Lorenz Coors (*24 Aug. 1880 in Neuland near Harburg). He was a Communist, and had worked as a runner at the Phoenix rubber works since 1925. He was fired because of his political views in 1929, and after that scraped by with odd jobs. He lived with his father at Hohe Straße 2 until November 1932, then moved into his own apartment at Am Frankenberg 22. He was the leader of the Harburg chapter of the Young Communist League of Germany. After the Nazis came to power, he was arrested and sent to one of the Emsland Concentration Camps. He returned to Harburg in 1934, and was unemployed until 1936.

In 1934, the new housing developments Traun, Femerlings Erben, Penz, Wohlersweg, and Moorwiese were built in Neuland. Heinrich Coors lived at Moorwiese III, House 41. (The housing developments no longer exist. A few of the houses still remain on Wohlersweg). In 1936 Heinrich Coors found a job with the railroad, and then as a welder’s assistant at the Eriksen machine factory in Winsen (Luhe). On 12 April 1939 he married Tabea (Semling) Nilges (*18 Mar. 1907 in Harburg). In 1939 he had a job at the Rami feed company on Blohmstraße, and from the autumn of 1939 until 9 August 1942 as a welder’s assistant with the Harburg Mills.

A new Communist resistance organization had formed in Harburg in 1935, under the leadership of Felix Plewa (see Biographies, Felix Plewa). They received materials from the German Communist Party’s Northern Bureau, in exile in Copenhagen. Heinrich Coors was an active member in one of the cells, although we do not know which one. Contemporaries claimed he was in the cell at the Phoenix works, but then he would have had to have been employed there. After the Wehrmacht invaded Denmark in 1940, the Gestapo was able to track down many former members of the Northern Bureau. The wave of arrests extended to many of the contact persons in northern Germany, including those in Harburg. The Gestapo arrested Felix Plewa and many other resistance fighters, including Heinrich Coors, on 9 August 1942. He was found guilty of "intent to commit high treason” by the Hanseatic District Court and sentenced to eighteen months in prison.

After serving his prison sentence he was sent to the Neuengamme Concentration Camp. His wife received the last letter from him on 11 February 1945. When the concentration camp was evacuated in the spring of 1945, most of the prisoners, including Heinrich Coors, were loaded into freight cars and sent to the Bay of Lübeck. There they were transferred to three ships: the Cap Arcona, the Thielbeck, and the Athen. The ships, carrying more than 7000 concentration camp prisoners, set sail, then anchored in the Bay of Neustadt for several days. On 3 May they were bombed by the Royal Air Force, which mistook them for German troop transports. The Cap Arcona and the Thielbeck capsized and sank. About 6600 of those aboard drowned. A few prisoners were able to swim to shore, but were immediately apprehended by the National Socialists in Neustadt. Heinrich Coors was among those killed. According to his wife, he was aboard the Thielbeck.

Translator(s): Amy Lee

Translation kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg

© Hans-Joachim Meyer

Quellen: VVN-BdA Harburg (Hrsg.), Die anderen, s. Personenverzeichnis; StaH, 351-11, AfW, Tabea Coors; StaH, 332-8 Meldewesen; StaH, Adressbücher Harburg-Wilhelmsburg und Hamburg; Holtz/Homann, Straßennamen; Bringmann, KZ Neuengamme; Totenliste VAN.

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