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Otto Hermann Bergmann * 1886

Sechslingspforte (4) (Einfahrt Alsterschwimmhalle) (Hamburg-Nord, Hohenfelde)

1942 verhaftet
verstorben an den Haftfolgen 13.11.1944

Otto Hermann Bergmann, born on 8 Sept. 1886 in Pitschendorff, Weissenfels District (Sachsen-Anhalt), died on 13 Nov. 1944 as a result of detention and persecution in Monakam, Calw District (Black Forest)

last residential address in Hamburg: Sechslingspforte 4

Since 1924, Otto Bergmann worked as a self-employed master carpenter in St. Georg, with his main workshop and private residence located at Sechslingspforte 4 and an additional workshop at Lindenstraße 66, which he managed from 1926–1931 together with his professional colleague and later fellow resistance fighter, Otto Dietzsch (see entry under Dietzsch in this collection of biographies); subsequently, Bergmann continued to run, on his own, a joinery business as a second workshop at Danziger Straße 52. His small enterprise, which also included a small furniture store, seemed to have been quite profitable at the beginning of the 1930s; at times, he employed two or three journeymen, respectively. Otto Bergmann was considered an expert for the restoration of antique furniture and pianos. He and his wife Giesela Bergmann, née Skuteti (born in 1889) had lived for several decades in Hamburg (until 1924 at Ifflandstraße 44 in Hohenfelde), their daughters Berta (born in 1909) and Emma (born in 1920) had already been born there.

Because of his activities for the KPD, banned by then, Bergmann was mistreated while being taken from his apartment by the SA on 6 Apr. 1933 and brought to the State Police headquarters (Stadthaus), where he was detained until mid-May 1933. He was already arrested again on 29 Jan. 1934, following which he was sentenced on 20 Apr. of the same year to a year and a half in prison by the Hamburg Higher Regional Court (OLG – Oberlandesgericht) on charges of "preparation to high treason,” a sentence he served until 29 July 1935 at the Fuhlsbüttel police prison.

At the beginning of the 1940s, he joined the KPD-led "Bästlein-Jacob-Abshagen” resistance group (BJA Group), working in the organization’s "technical section.” In the course of a wave of arrests conducted against the group by the Gestapo starting in the fall of 1942, Otto Bergmann was also arrested on 22 Dec. 1942 and detained like his comrades-in-arms at a police prison. From there, all of persons under arrest were transferred to the Hamburg-Stadt pretrial detention center, which was severely damaged in late July by Allied bombing raids. As a result, the Hamburg District Attorney paroled all but five detainees of the BJA Group, including Bergmann, for two months. The latter used this temporary release, like several others, to go underground in order to elude the expected harsh punishment by the Nazi regime.

He stayed in Hamburg only for a few more weeks, showing up in early September at the family home of his married daughter Berta in Windenreute near Emmendingen (Baden). His daughter succeeded in convincing her brother-in-law based in Pforzheim to take in and allow her father to help in his carpenter’s workshop. Since he was not registered with local police there, he was in danger of being reported to the authorities by the neighbors, whereupon his daughter’s brother-in-law arranged accommodations for him at a remote inn located in the Black Forest town of Monakam in the Calw District. After a nine-month stay in the town, he got a visit in Nov. 1944 from the wife of his comrade-in-arms in the Hamburg resistance group, Arthur Matschke, who informed him that relatives of a woman from the Hamburg resistance intended to denounce him and his daughter to get the detainee released. This warning must have terrified Otto Bergmann to such an extent that on the next morning, 13 Nov. 1944, he dropped dead when leaving the house, probably due to a stroke.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Benedikt Behrens

Quellen: AfW, Entschädigungsakte; VAN, Totenliste Hamburger Widerstandskämpfer und Verfolgter 1933–1945, Hamburg 1968; AB 1933–1943; Buck, Hans-Robert, Der kommunistische Widerstand gegen den Nationalsozialismus in Hamburg 1933–1945, München 1969, S. 165–169; Hochmuth, Ursel/Gertrud Meyer, Streiflichter aus dem Hamburger Widerstand 1933–1945, Frankfurt/M. 1980, S. 345,371.

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