Search for Names, Places and Biographies
Already layed Stumbling Stones
Fritz Meincke * 1912
Schäferkampsallee 56 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)
Fritz Meincke, born 01/11/1912 in Hamburg, died 07/27/1941 in Sloboda, Soviet Union
The circumstances that called the Gestapo's attention to Adolf Grosskopf in February of 1936 are not revealed in his preserved, but thinned-out criminal files. Possibly, a denunciation by a neighbor at Grindelhof 89, house 1, triggered the extensive investigation that soon also focused on Grosskopf''s subtenant and companion Fritz Meincke. Meincke, who spelled his name Meinke, was born in 1912 as the illegitimate son of the unwed housemaid Adelheit Meincke in Martinistrasse in Hamburg-Eppendorf. He later named a certain Fritz Rockmann from Bochum as his father. His mother, who later worked as a cleaning lady, initially sent Fritz to elementary school in Hamburg, but soon placed him with foster parents in Rhena, Mecklenburg. After finishing school, Fritz began an apprenticeship as waiter at the hotel Erbgrossherzog in Teterow, where he was prematurely dismissed after two years. The young lad returned to Hamburg, where the youth welfare agency placed him in the reformatory at Wulfsdorf and similar institutions. According to a report written in June by the society to aid juvenile delinquents, he escaped from the reformatory following various thefts.
Already at that time, attention was called to his "abnormal sexual activity" that considered Meincke to constitute "a grave hazard as a debaucher to "immature and weak-willed boarding pupils. It was especially noted that in 1929, he ordered "cosmetics, e.g. facial tonic, lipsticks, various types of facial powder, facial cream, eyeliner and special soap for more than 50 RM" and had the bill sent to the youth welfare agency. As he had already worked as a male prostitute in his youth, the adult delinquent aid society rated him as "one of the most dangerous elements on the homosexual scene."
Later, he managed to get jobs at various boarding houses and hotels, including the Hotel Reichshof opposite the main station, but they never lasted long. In 1931, Meincke was sentenced to two months in jail for embezzling 20 RM and stealing an overcoat. From November 1933 to April 1934, he worked as a house servant and waiter at the bar "Zu den 3 Sternen", a hangout of homosexuals in the street named Hütten in Hamburg's Neustadt district, where he also served as a rent boy. In January 1934, he met Adolf Grosskopf at the "Indra" bar in St. Pauli, another place frequented by gay men. Grosskopf (born 1906, died 1975), a native of Koblenz in the Rhine Land, worked at the employment agency; in April 1934, Meincke moved in with Grosskopf.
Adolf Grosskopf, too, had been a regular at the "Zu den 3 Sternen" for several years and testified to the police in 1936 that he had performed homosexual acts at the bar's ladies' room. Around 1929, he had met the baker Wilhelm Oefele (born 1910, died 1948, Stumbling Stone at Blücherstrasse 21 in Hamburg-St. Pauli) there, who became his constant companion and sex partner. Like many other gay men, Grosskopf married a lesbian woman to create a sort of heterosexual camouflage. Irma Fischer (born 1908, died 2001) became his partner in that companionate marriage that was concluded on March 23, 1935, but divorced before the end of the year. The union got the couple a marriage loan. According to the previously mentioned report from the adult delinquent aid society, Adolf Grosskopf spent his wedding night with Fritz Meincke.
The investigations by the special anti-homosexual squad of the Berlin Gestapo that existed for a short period in 1936 exposed Grosskopf’s sham marriage, and his homosexual partners were also arrested and questioned. Following such an interrogation, Fritz Meincke, too, was arrested, interrogated and taken into "protective custody" at the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp from February 14th to 20th, then transferred to the remand jail in Holstenglacis.
At that time, the Gestapo already had three incidents regarding Fritz Meincke on record, all dated 1931 and earlier. As Meincke kept Adolf Grosskopf’s household, for which he was paid, this homosexual relationship was indicted as an "abuse of a dependency due to an employment status.” The marriage loan granted on account of Grosskopf’s "companionate marriage” was rated as "damage to the people’s property.” In September 1936, the Hamburg high court sentenced Adolf Grosskopf to two and half years in prison for continuous delinquency pursuant to Art. 175 of the penal code in addition to a single count of fraud. Irma Grosskopf was given a three-month suspended sentence for fraud; Wilhelm Oefele was acquitted. Fritz Meincke was sentenced to one and a half years in prison pursuant to Art. 175. The court dismissed the prosecutor’s further charges of "abuse of an employment-related dependency” and "commercial buggery.” Nonetheless, the verdict had severe consequences for Meincke: on December 19th, 1936, he was transferred to the infamous prison camps in the Emsland near the Dutch border – first to Prison Camp III Brual-Rhede and then, on June 7th, 1937, on to Camp V Neusustrum, from which he was released on August 11th, 1937.
Returning to Hamburg, he moved into a room at Gustav-Falke-Strasse 66. In August 1939, he moved as a sub tenant to a room on the third floor of Schäferkampsallee 56. As it happened, his old friend Adolf Grosskopf was living on the second floor of the same house since his release from Wolffenbüttel prison in 1938.
Nothing is known about Fritz Meincke until he was drafted into the Wehrmacht. It is therefore unlikely that he was again sentenced to jail, and, according to current knowledge, it must be considered doubtful that his draft into the Wehrmacht was a case of "probation at the front.” Many homosexual men who had been sentenced some time back were simply drafted from 1939 on, without reference to their penal records. Their penal records would only be checked if problems, breaches of duty or criminal offenses occurred during front duty, which as a rule would lead to discrimination and more hazardous assignments at the front.
Even if we do not know exactly what happened to Fritz Meincke, we do consider it justified to lay a stumbling stone before his last place of residence. In November 1941, the Wehrmacht high command notified his mother in Hamburg that her son had been killed in action on July 27th, 1941 in the "eastern Sloboda war theatre” near Vitebsk, in what is now Belarus.
Translated by Peter Hubschmid
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: October 2017
© Bernhard Rosenkranz (†)/Ulf Bollmann
Quellen: StaH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen, 9180/36; 241-1 I Justizverwaltung I, 2911; 242-1 II Gefängnisverwaltung II, Ablieferungen 13 u. 16; 332-5 Standesämter, 64168 (Sammelakte Nr. 501); 332-8 Meldewesen, A 51/1; Rosenkranz/Bollmann/Lorenz, Homosexuellen-Verfolgung, S. 236.