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Already layed Stumbling Stones
Richard Gohert * 1895
Seevestraße 1 (Harburg-Freudenberger Maschinenbau GmbH, Tor 2) (Harburg, Harburg)
ermordet am 18.11.1944
further stumbling stones in Seevestraße 1 (Harburg-Freudenberger Maschinenbau GmbH, Tor 2):
Richard Gohert, born on 6 Oct. 1895 in Hamburg, died on 18 Nov. 1944 of the effects of imprisonment
Wilhelm Stein, born on 15 May 1895 in Biebernheim, sentenced to death and executed on 26 June 1944
District of Harburg-Altstadt, Seevestrasse, Gate 2 of Harburg-Freudenberger plant
In Harburg, the year 1856 is called the "year industry exploded.” The location for establishing industries was favorable there because the Kingdom of Hannover [where Harburg was located at the time] belonged to the "Customs Union” (Zollverein) but Hamburg did not. That Harburg and Harburg-Wilhelmsburg, respectively, were characterized much more by industry than Hamburg is ultimately due to this fact. The year 1865 saw the foundation of Koebers Eisenhütte [iron works] on Seevestrasse. Since 1910, the machine construction company was called "Harburger Eisen- und Bronzewerke.” In more recent times, it was taken over by the Krupp Group, was then named ThyssenKrupp, and today is called Harburg-Freudenberger.
The Communist Wilhelm Stein, who was from the Rhineland and had moved to Hamburg after his prison term in the Siegburg penal institution, got a job at the Ottensen Eisenwerke and in 1937 a position as a production engineer at the Harburger Eisen- und Bronzewerke. By that time, the family lived at Eissendorfer Strasse 193 in Harburg, later at Eissendorfer Pferdeweg 65. Under Felix Plewa, the Political Leader of the illegal KPD subdistrict of Harburg-Wilhelmsburg (see entry on Felix Plewa), a new Communist company cell took shape; in addition to Wilhelm Stein, the cell was also comprised of Richard Gohert and Hermann Thomaschewski.
After the war started, resistance had to be suspended because many of those involved were drafted into the military. Moreover, new statutory offenses had been introduced during the war, such as "undermining military strength” ("Wehrkraftzersetzung”), "aiding the enemy” ("Feindbegünstigung”), and "listening to enemy radio stations” ("Abhören von Feindsendern”). Those putting up resistance risked their lives. During the war, Bernhard Bästlein, who was friends with Wilhelm Stein and lived in Hamburg after his concentration camp internment in Sachsenhausen, won his friend’s support for the resistance. Together with Richard Gohert, Wilhelm Stein formed in the plant a company cell of the organization around Bästlein, Jacob, and Abshagen (see entry on Karl Kock). He was supported in this effort by the Social Democrat Karl Polkehn, the subsequent chair of the employees’ representative committee. He had himself appointed air raid warden and thus received a lockable room at the plant. This was where they listened to foreign radio stations and produced leaflets without being disturbed.
The wave of arrests directed against the Bästlein Organization in Oct. 1942 also hit Wilhelm Stein and Richard Gohert. Karl Polkehn’s activities remained concealed to the Gestapo.
The arrested men were taken to the Fuhlsbüttel Gestapo prison and then to the pretrial detention facility at Holstenglacis. During the air raids of Operation Gomorrah on Hamburg in July 1943, they were released temporarily. They decided not to go underground because the Gestapo had threatened to persecute their wives on the principle of "kin liability” ("Sippenhaft”). Instead, they worked again at their companies before being arrested once more in Sept. Wilhelm Stein was sentenced to death by the "People’s Court” ("Volksgerichtshof”) on 6 May 1944 for "preparation to high treason” ("Vorbereitung zum Hochverrat”) and "aiding the enemy” ("Feindbegünstigung”) and executed in the pretrial detention center on 26 June 1944. Richard Gohert died at Hamburg-Barmbek Hospital of bone tuberculosis on 18 Nov. 1944.
On 14 Sept. 1947, the urns of executed anti-Fascists, including that of Wilhelm Stein, were transported to the Memorial Grove for Hamburg Resistance Fighters (Ehrenhain der Hamburger Widerstandskämpfer) on Ohlsdorf Cemetery. Karl Polkehn, then chair of the employees’ representative committee at the Harburger Eisen- und Bronzewerke, and the company management called on staff to attend the memorial service. For this purpose, a streetcar was rented in Harburg that made the trip to Ohlsdorf and back.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Hans-Joachim Meyer
Quellen: VVN-BdA Harburg (Hrsg.), Die anderen, S. 294ff.; Hochmuth/Meyer, Streiflichter, s. Personenverzeichnis; Hochmuth, Niemand, S. 123ff.