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Familie Golly: Dorothea, Erich und Tochter Edith
Familie Golly: Dorothea, Erich und Tochter Edith
© Erich Kraushaar

Erich Golly * 1891

Eppendorfer Weg 168 (Eimsbüttel, Hoheluft-West)

KZ Dachau
ermordet 16.2.1945

Erich Golly, born on 28 Aug. 1891 in Cottbus, died on 16 Feb. 1945 in the Dachau concentration camp

Eppendorfer Weg 168

Erich Bruno Georg Golly was born on 28 Aug. 1891 in Cottbus. His father was Johann Golly, his mother Emilie Golly, née Rein (both had already passed away by the time Erich Golly came into conflict with the Gestapo in the mid-1930s). From age six to age 14, he attended the eight-grade elementary school (Volksschule) in Senftenberg and left the school in the first class [equivalent to today’s grade 8 due to the reverse way of counting]. He trained to become a hairdresser and worked as a journeyman for a while. In 1915, he married Dorothea Marie Christine Lamp (born on 9 Nov. 1887 in Hamburg). She indicated "homemaker” as a profession. Erich and Dorothea Golly had a daughter, Edith Elisabeth Sophie. She was born in Lütjenburg on 22 Dec. 1914, the same year Erich and Dorothea got married. In 1915, Erich was drafted as a private into the 384th Infantry Regiment, which until 1918 mostly operated in France (in one instance, he was classified in official records as a soldier of the reserve forces belonging to the 175th Infantry Regiment in Graudenz; it was impossible to resolve the inconsistency); in this period, he was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class. After the war, he started his own business as a hairdresser in Hamburg (the Hamburg directory listed his business located at Eppendorfer Weg 168 for the first time in 1920). On 20 Aug. 1928, he passed the examination qualifying him as a master hairdresser.

Only a few years after the First World War – at a time when, setting out from the USA, the International Bible Students Association (German: Internationale Bibelforschervereinigung – IBV) had just initiated a missionary campaign in Europe – Erich Golly joined the Bible Students (Jehovah’s Witnesses); he belonged to this denomination since 1 Jan. 1922; one year later, Dorothea Golly also became a member. According to what family tradition relates, Dorothea Golly was the more decisive one of the two in joining the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

From their study of the bible, the Bible Students postulated the insight that in 1914, Jesus Christ had been transferred power over the kingdom of freedom promised men by Jehovah the God (Jehova Gott). Even if, according to this interpretation, Jesus Christ still exercised his regency in secret for the time being, he was nevertheless engaged in the apocalyptic struggle with Satan as the representative of evil in order to achieve the establishment of this thousand-year kingdom of peace on earth, as a precursor of men’s eternal life. Men were under the tempting influence of Satan, who in his struggle made use of big business and politics, as well as the churches. People needed to refuse to deal with these institutions, though they could grant the state in which they lived – and which they were supposed to face in a neutral way otherwise – the regulating of their interpersonal affairs.

Simultaneously to their European mission, the Bible Students’ headquarters in the USA, where J. F. Rutherford had taken over control, saw the introduction of a new theocratic leadership principle. According to this, humans were responsible in their actions not only to Jehovah the God and Jesus Christ; as Jehovah’s Witnesses, they also had to acknowledge the organization of the International Bible Students Association (Internationale Bibelforschervereinigung – IBV) and thus their leadership as the secular authority. Even though the formation of this new organizational principle was accompanied by protests and resignations from the international community, it had largely prevailed by the end of the 1920s and therefore was also in effect for the Bible Students belonging to the IBV in Germany. In 1932, their number in Germany was about 25,140, of whom 546 lived in Hamburg. They were not only in theological competition with the churches established in Germany but also had to fend off first instances of interference with their teachings that the state initiated against them during this time. This situation became worse in 1933 after the Nazi "seizure of power,” rapidly leading to regional bans of the Bible Students Associations accused of "cultural-Bolshevist subversion activities” and struggle "against the elements of the völkisch communal life” (in accordance with Secs. 1 and 4 of the Decree [of the Reich President] for the Protection of the People and State dated 28 Feb. 1933). For Hamburg, the ban of the IBV was passed on 15 July 1933.

The reactions of the fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses to these statutory prohibitions varied. They ranged from the desire to withdraw ("Jehovah will surely take care of it.”) to willingness to initiate countermeasures, since it was irreconcilable with their belief in the unconditional rule of Jehovah to cease public preaching about the coming of Christ’s kingdom on earth for personal reasons. During the first year of National Socialist rule, tactical behavior was displayed by the international leadership of the IBV with headquarters in New York and the leadership of the IBV in Germany based in Magdeburg. Both sought to secure the continued existence of the Bible Students Associations by offers to negotiate with the state authorities. Accordingly, at the beginning only few gatherings involving bible study and only restrained missionary activities took place in their groups. Not until the spring of 1934 did they become more active, at a time when it had become clear that there would not be any negotiated solution with the Nazi rulers.

Emanating from meetings that German Bible Students held at the international congress of the IBV in Switzerland in Sept. 1934 and as a reaction to the hopelessness of achieving any agreement with the Nazis, a first missionary campaign, carried out by Bible Students across Germany in compliance with clandestine rules, took place on 7 Oct. 1934. It served to emphasize the message to be preached and the persecutions to which they were subjected. The campaign was followed by increased meeting activities of the local Bible Students’ groups. The Gestapo reacted to both aspects with controls and apartment searches targeting Jehovah’s Witnesses known by name. However, for the time being, they were able to preserve the structure of their community, even after increasing arrests of members had occurred. Among those arrested early on in Hamburg was Erich Golly. At the time, he occupied the role of group servant or ministerial servant (Gruppendiener) of the Hoheluft Group (one group was comprised of several cells, which in turn was often made up of a family and their immediate acquaintances or neighborhood, with the group numbering about four to six persons), and he had made his home available as a meeting place for the illegal gatherings of the group.

His work with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and that of his wife, Dorothea Golly, was known early on to neighbors and apparently to the Nazi party formations. Dorothea Golly stated in 1954, "Our business was constantly boycotted by the Nazis since 1933, causing customers to be afraid to set foot in our shop. Until my husband was arrested the second time on 15 Dec. 1936, we suffered losses of approx. 200 RM [reichsmark] a month in reduced revenues due to the boycott. Because of the detention of us both and continued boycotting, our business was ruined entirely.”

On 12 Dec. 1934, Erich Golly was taken into custody and charged with participating in the prohibited meeting of the International Bible Students Associations on 7 Oct. 1934 and thus for participating in the illegal rebuilding of the IBV in Germany. His co-religionist Willi Lehmbecker, who survived the long ordeal through the concentration camps, later described that action, carried out jointly by the Witnesses in Hamburg as well, in his memoirs: "In this way, that memorable 7 Oct. 1934, when the Jehovah’s Witnesses fought for their Christian defense in Germany, also went down in history.

Everything was well organized and carried out in such a way that one might say, everything was bound to happen only in the spirit of Jehovah and with His help.

Only such brothers as were loyal and faithful have had a share in these things.
Preparations for this took place in the following manner:
On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the journey went far outside of Hamburg. Couriers had given us instructions to discuss matters afterward in a joint WT study [Watchtower study]. – How many we were – this many had not gathered for numerous months. A happy flock of Christians delighted to see each other again. Not all of the ones we knew took part.

Our destination – Bergedorf/Hamburg – Having arrived at the train station, we had spruced ourselves up, a jolly gardening club, which was inconspicuous. The men with beautiful boutonnières, roses, dahlias, and others, just as we managed to procure them. Together we hiked out into the forest, where the WT study was to take place. We received intellectual food, which spurred us on; for from this afternoon spent together was to emerge the memorable 7 Oct. 1934.

Praying and guided by the spirit of God, this action was carried out. This resolution was a warning to a Hitler elevated to a god, who had aimed at exterminating the Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

Erich Golly and others were charged with offenses against Secs. 1 and 4 of the Decree [of the Reich President] for the Protection of the People and State dated 28 Feb. 1933 (Verordnung vom 28.2.1933 zum Schutz von Volk und Staat) in connection with the announcement by the Hamburg police authority dated 15 July 1933 banning the IBV. The charges were brought after "several large cardboard boxes containing hundreds of new Bible Students books [had been] found and confiscated” as well in the course of a search of Golly’s apartment. The Hanseatic special court (Hanseatisches Sondergericht) sentenced him to a six-month prison term on 15 Mar. 1935; with the pretrial detention calculated against his sentence, the penalty was served in full by 23 June 1935.

As for other fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses, for Erich Golly the conviction was no reason to give up his belief in the work of Jehovah. He stayed connected to his local Bible Students group, even though hardly any information has been preserved concerning his activities or those of the Hamburg district group, respectively.

The Gestapo was aware of the attitudes of the Jehovah’s Witnesses when officers showed up once again for a search of Erich Golly’s apartment on 15 Dec. 1936 – early in the morning at 6:30. However, in the subsequent minutes of the search, the Gestapo recorded that the operation had yielded no results. Nevertheless, Erich Golly was put in police custody and taken to police station no. 34 on suspicion of having engaged in illegal activities for the Bible Students. Yet again, the interrogation produced no findings. Moreover, Erich Golly stated in a convincing manner that he no longer had anything to do with the activities of the Bible Students: "Since my release from prison [in June 1935] I keep away from any activity for the Bible Students. Last Saturday (12 Dec. 1936), I worked in the shop for the entire afternoon. I have not heard anything about illegal activities of the Bible Students. That leaflets have been distributed is news to me.”

The interrogation had taken place on the very day of the apartment search, on 15 Dec. 1936; the following day, Erich Golly was already released "on orders of the administrative office.”

Why, though, did the Gestapo insist on obtaining information about 12 Dec. 1936; and why did the Secret State Police want to know what Erich Golly had done that Saturday?

A file memorandum that Kriminalsekretär [a rank equivalent to detective sergeant or master sergeant] Bielefeld, in charge at the Gestapo for persecuting the Bible Students, prepared afterward on 22 Jan. 1937, makes the connection between the suspicions raised against Erich Golly and the international resistance activities of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In fact, at the international congress of the Bible Students, taking place in Lucerne from 4 to 7 Sept. 1936, participants resolved again to distribute leaflets in Germany across the entire Reich and at the same time – in this instance, on 12 Dec. 1936. Now the leaflet ("Resolution”) served not only to convey beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses but also to call upon people in Germany to refuse loyalty to the "barbaric Hitler state.” This caused the state authorities to spring to action, and at the Hamburg Gestapo offices, Kriminalsekretär Bielefeld noted that with these leaflets "incredible agitation against the Third Reich [had been] unleashed.” He suspected that Erich Golly had participated in this campaign. This suspicion was based on an earlier apartment search, which Erich Golly had already endured in Aug. 1936, and on the record of interrogation in which Erich Golly had made contradicting statements. Bielefeld, however, linked this apartment search with the IBV activities on 12 Dec. 1936 and concluded that Erich Golly’s statements were unreliable.

The search of Erich Golly’s home in Aug. 1936 was one of many the Gestapo conducted at the homes of "several former functionaries” of the IBV in Hamburg. To be sure, overall they were unproductive to the Gestapo because – as the Secret State Police recorded in its summarizing minutes dated 4 Sept. 1936 – the finds were limited to older Bible Students’ literature, such as yearbooks of the IBV and newspapers and no new materials that would have pointed to continued connections of the suspects to the IBV; however: "Only in one case, that is, at the home of master hairdresser Erich Golly, a phonograph was found […].”

The record of the search on 31 Aug. 1936 documented – and this would be Erich Golly’s undoing – that while the interrogation in his apartment was still underway, he initially could "not say” where he had bought the phonograph: "He did not know anymore.” An instance later, however, he knew where he had obtained the phonograph by saying that "[h]e had purchased the set last week from a person unknown to him.” Upon this, Erich Golly was summoned to the Stadthaus, the Gestapo headquarters, on 2 Sept. 1936. The interrogation yielded the following: On 24 Aug. 1936, Erich Golly had been visited by Heinrich Dietschi, district servant (Bezirksdiener) West for the newly organized IBV in Germany. The conversation coming about between them unfolded in the following way according to Erich Golly (it was documented in the Gestapo record):

Erich Golly [says] to Heinrich Dietschi: "What are you doing here?” – Heinrich Dietschi: "I have a phonograph for you here, which you can use to play records.” – "What kind of records?” – "Spoken-word records, but of course you can also play other kinds of records on it.” – "This is a bit too risky for me, and I have no opinion on it.” – "For the time being, you have no records yet, but when the occasion arises, I will bring some by.”

Erich Golly accepted the set for safekeeping – not viewing that as an offense, since there were no records yet, after all. Moreover, the set was still incomplete as some internal parts of the device had not been unpacked and assembled. In the course of the conversation, [Erich Golly stated] though, Heinrich Dietschi had referred to the approaching congress of the IBV in Lucerne, asking whether he, Erich Golly, would not like to participate in it:

"However, since my financial situation did not permit me to do so, I turned the offer down. Another reason for refusing was that I no longer had a passport. But the main reason was that I viewed participation in the congress as a danger to me.”

This record of interrogation was available to Kriminalsekretär Bielefeld. He took exception to two of Erich Golly’s statements: Erich Golly ought to have refused accepting the record case; instead, he took the phonograph set – thus expressing his willingness to continue supporting the IBV. In addition, he did not turn down participation in the IBV congress in Lucerne due to any distancing from the IBV but merely because he lacked the funds to do so. To him, Bielefeld, the situation then, in December of that year and after the leaflet campaign, appeared "in an entirely new light,” prompting him to issue orders to take Erich Golly into "protective custody” ("Schutzhaft”) "because he [Erich Golly] was strongly suspected of having distributed propaganda material and leaflets of the prohibited and disbanded International Bible Students Association on Hamburg territory. He has thus attempted to re-establish organizational coherence of the Bible Students.”

Erich Golly’s arrest occurred at his home. He was taken to the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. In his interrogation there, which was recorded, he confirmed the statements he had made earlier. He stated that since his release from prison in June 1935, he had not had anything to do with the IBV, had accepted the phonograph from Heinrich Dietschi but had not used it. Furthermore, that he had also not seen, received, or distributed any leaflets reading "Resolution” and that he had not received any other communications from the IBV. Unmoved by these explanations, Kriminalsekretär Bielefeld arranged for Erich Golly to be transferred to the jurisdiction of the public prosecutor’s office. It withdrew the "order for protective custody” ("Schutzhaftbefehl”), issuing its own arrest warrant due to danger of absconding – no longer accusing Erich Golly, however, of having participated in the leaflet campaign or having known about it.

The interrogations that followed this arrest warrant made it clear that what mattered to the Gestapo and the public prosecutor’s office by then was obtaining information about the fugitive Heinrich Dietschi. Erich Golly had met him early on during his time as a Bible Student, already in the years 1924 or 1925, but, according to his statement, "in those days” had not known "that he held a leading position within the Bible Students Association.” The last time he had something to do with him, though, had been as late as 1934 at the Bible Students congress in Lucerne. However, by that time, the Gestapo knew that Heinrich Dietschi had not merely deposited one record player with Erich Golly but had delivered and sold several sets to Bible Students; he had also brought records to these places. Accordingly, the Gestapo also knew that the IBV had completed its missionary and resistance activities in technical terms and continued to expand them. In addition to its previous sale of written publications, it also put into circulation speech records containing speeches and bible interpretations – by, among others, their president, J. F. Rutherford – for use at their meetings. The organization even operated its own undercover recording studio and a records production in Germany; there was also a workshop manufacturing record players (which is the reason why the sets delivered by Heinrich Dietschi had no brand names).

Insight regarding the significance of Heinrich Dietschi for the IBV had the effect for Erich Golly that the public prosecutor’s office kept him in pretrial detention. It turned down Erich Golly’s request dated 28 Jan. 1937 to release him from pretrial detention so that he could continue operating his barbershop. Dorothea Golly was not allowed to speak with her husband. Chief Public Prosecutor Romahn prevailed upon the Gestapo on 16 Mar. 1937 "to interrogate Golly most insistently once more by representing to him all of the incriminating points” – in this context, one may assume that Erich Golly was interrogated under threat of force or even the use of force. However, he did not divulge any information, instead reporting, "I did not have any dealings with the Bible Students. On Sundays or weekdays, I either went for walks with my wife or to the movies, or I was together with my wife, daughter, and son-in-law Alfred G[.], Hbg., Heuberg 10, who is not a Bible Student. My wife was a Bible Students just like me, whereas my daughter has given up bible studies years ago due to her sports activities.”

Even questioning of family members did not yield any new findings for the Gestapo; the daughter declared self-confidently, "I do not concern myself with my father’s affairs on principle since I have nothing to do with the Bible Students.”

The public prosecutor’s office brought charges before the Hanseatic special court (Hanseatisches Sondergericht) on 31 May 1937; on 29 June 1937, the trial started. On that same day – in an elaborate process, witnesses for the prosecution were specially produced from the Wiesmoor prisoners’ labor camp and from Bremen – the verdict was passed. "By accepting the Sprechapparat [translator’s note: a record player or phonograph, in administrative German, literally, a "speech apparatus or player”], the accused,” the reasons for the judgment read, "has contravened the prohibition by the Hamburg police authorities dated 15 July 1933 and is guilty in accordance with Secs. 1 and 4 of the aforementioned decree dated 28 Feb. 1933 [...] The accused Golly does not rank among the extremely primitive Jehovah’s Witnesses but is definitely an intelligent man. His reservations toward accepting the speech player show his bad conscience. According to the findings of the Special Court, he originally intended, fully aware of contravening the prohibition dated 15 July 1933, not to accept the speech player, but eventually let himself be persuaded by Dietschi [...] In terms of the sentence, the dangerousness of the International Bible Students had to be taken into consideration as an aggravating aspect. They are no longer a religious sect but they are developing into a political movement with Communist tendencies. Another aggravating element to consider is the fact that the accused has already been previously convicted and sentenced to six months in prison. The Special Court, however, took into consideration in favor of the accused that he was not proven guilty of having been active for the International Bible Students in any other way after his release from prison as of 23 June 1935 [...]”

Since it was impossible to prove that he had participated in the distribution of the IBV leaflet in question, entitled "Resolution,” the fact the verdict hinged on was that a phonograph had been found at his apartment. "A speech player with records […] serves the prohibited purpose of distributing the false doctrine of the International Bible Students and also of edifying the Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves. Just the acceptance of such a device in itself, even just to store it for only a few days, reveals a willingness to collaborate in this forbidden purpose, and it has the effect of making the person distributing these devices believe that despite the state bans, numerous Bible Students are still prepared to act toward these prohibited goals. Therefore, acceptance of such a device strengthens the cohesion of the International Bible Students and is thus subject to the ban dated 15 July 1933.”

In those months, the Gestapo reinforced its instruments of repression because it increasingly suspected "Communist” and "cultural-Bolshevist” tendencies among the Jehovah’s Witnesses. When the terms of imprisonment passed by the court ended for Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Gestapo would badger them into signing a declaration to renounce their belief and not become active again on behalf of their religious association. Failing that, "protective custody” was ordered once again for the person in question – meaning that he or she was committed to a concentration camp.

This applied to Erich Golly as well. He had served his prison term, against which the period of "protective custody” had been calculated, in the Altona penitentiary. On the very day of his release, on 17 Dec. 1937, the Gestapo took him into "protective custody” and transported him to the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp; there he was presented with a declaration to renounce his faith and the IBV in writing. His refusal was tantamount to his death sentence.

"When Erich Golly refused to renounce his faith by signing a corresponding ‘declaration,’ the Gestapo had him transported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on 5 Mar. 1938 (prisoner number 1,571/10,293). From there, he arrived in the Wewelsburg concentration camp on 21 Feb. 1940 (prisoner number 62). For 12/13 Apr. 1943, the records document Erich Golly’s transfer to the Buchenwald concentration camp (prisoner number 12,539), from where he was taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on 9/12 May 1943 (prisoner number 256). The exact term of imprisonment at Bergen-Belsen is not known, but he did write a letter from there to his sister as late as 6 Feb. 1944. Via the Sachsenhausen concentration camp (prisoner number 75,891), Erich Golly reached the Dachau concentration camp on 20 June 1944 (prisoner number 71,263). From 4 Oct. 1944 to 14 Oct. 1944, he was used as a hairdresser in the Sudelfeld external camp, then arriving via the Dachau main camp to the Fischbachau external camp, from where he was transferred back to the Dachau concentration camp on 21 Jan. 1945. Erich Golly died there on 16 Feb. 1945. The cause of death indicated was ‚Myodegeneratio cordia’ (cardiac insufficiency).” (summary from the History Archives of Jehovah’s Witnesses [Geschichtsarchiv Zeugen Jehovas])

His family remembered Erich Golly’s joie de vivre and his commitment to the mission of the Jehovah’s Witnesses even during his term of imprisonment. His nephew, Erich K., even today recalls his uncle giving him toys as gifts. He remembers how he had got to know his uncle as a likable person in general, as someone who enjoyed playing chess and who was always ready for any prank he could play on others – like the time he glued a coin to the threshold of his store, then delighting in others trying to collect the supposed find. The respect for the uncle endures unabated, especially because, the family says, he stood up for his faith even in the concentration camps. Reportedly, he consistently refused to perform the forced labor of weaving straw shoes imposed on him when news emerged that these warming shoes were delivered to the German Wehrmacht. What remained of Erich Golly – apart from photographs – is a series of letters, including some that obviously did not go through censorship – in this case of the Sudelfeld external camp of the Dachau concentration camp – even though they were written on form paper. He must have succeeded to mail these messages by smuggling them past the controls in order to send, in addition to personal information to his family, a thanks to "brothers and sisters” in Malente – obviously not listed by name – for a cash remittance.

Erich Golly was forcibly taken from one prison site to the next since late 1936 and forced to work there in the internal organization of the camp system at least intermittently (that he was used as a "hairdresser” makes the actual activity appear harmless – considering that when you read survivors’ accounts, the activity of a hairdresser there did not entail creating hairstyles but depriving inmates of their hair and making them conform to camp regulations). At the same time, Dorothea Golly, who together with her daughter and a cousin strove to continue operating the barbershop, which after all had three employees, was also caught in the clutches of the Gestapo only a few months later.

She had already been sentenced to two months in prison because of her activities in the community of the Bible Students for offenses against said Decree [of the Reich President] for the Protection of the People and State dated 28 Feb. 1933 (Verordnung vom 28.2.1933 zum Schutz von Volk und Staat) on 13 Nov. 1935 (participation in meetings of the banned IBV on 7 Oct. 1934, the day the leaflets were first distributed across the Reich); from 7 Jan to 7 Mar. 1936, she was therefore detained in the Fuhlsbüttel prison. She refused to be intimidated by this, participating in the bible mission and distribution of the IBV’s "Resolution” leaflet on 15 Dec. 1936, and participating even in a third leaflet mission carried out together with her fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses in June 1937. However, with respect to this campaign, the Gestapo succeeded in arresting a large number of Jehovah’s Witnesses – including leading members of the IBV who lived and worked in Germany underground; the ensuing wave of arrests, lasting several months, covered the entire territory of the German Reich. In Hamburg alone, 187 Jehovah’s Witnesses were caught in the clutches of the Gestapo. Among them was Dorothea Golly, arrested on 17 Sept. 1937.

She was committed to the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp, and there she was placed in pretrial detention on 3 Feb. 1938. In the spring of 1938, she was charged along with other fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses. The public prosecutor’s office had combined the trials into groups. On 11 Apr. 1938, Dorothea Golly was sentenced by the Hanseatic special court (Hanseatisches Sondergericht) to a penalty of two years and six months in prison; she was accused of having supported the cohesion of an illegal association. In the aftermath, she was held at the penitentiary in Altona until 19 Mar. 1940.

Dorothea Golly, too, was taken into "protective custody” ("Schutzhaft”) after being released from prison: from 19 Mar. until 11 Oct. 1940 in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp and from June 1941 onward in the reopened police prison in Hütten; afterward, she was transferred to the Ravensbrück concentration camp:

"The date of committal to the Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp is documented to be 11 Oct. 1941 (prisoner number 8,006). The facts known about her detention there indicate that she was assigned to the fur cutting detachment, where she contracted a serious eye infection that was left untreated. From Feb. 1945 to Mar. 1945, Dorothea Golly was in the Uckermark youth camp, which belonged to the Ravensbrück concentration camp; then she was transferred back to Ravensbrück and subsequently transported to the Malchow external camp. There Dorothea Golly lived to see the liberation by the Soviet army. Until 11 June 1945, she remained in the camp, seriously ill.” (summary from the History Archives of Jehovah’s Witnesses [Geschichtsarchiv Zeugen Jehovas])

As a result of forced labor, she went permanently blind. After the war, Dorothea Golly lived with her daughter Edith in Lütjenburg, where she died on 20 Oct. 1967 – she had spent a total of seven years and eleven months in custody and in concentration camps.

Her daughter Edith did not belong to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. She had married and later got a divorce. During the period of her parents’ imprisonment, she was involved in continuing to operate her father’s barbershop – all on her own since the arrest of her mother in Sept. 1937; the shop was not dissolved until 1939.

Translator: Erwin Fink

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Peter Offenborn

Quellen: StAH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht Hamburg 2235/38 (Erich Golly, Fortführung einer verbotenen Vereinigung); Sammlung VVN-BdA (Hamburg), Hinterbliebenenkartei und G 11; Ab.; Informationen aus der Familie Golly, gesammelt und zur Verfügung gestellt von Erich Kraushaar (Buchholz); Willy Lehmbecker, [Lebensgeschichte 1903–1969], Ts. o. J. (von Erich Kraushaar zur Verfügung gestellt); Informationen Jehovas Zeugen (Geschichtsarchiv), zusammengestellt am 8.12.2006 (u. a. kopierte Materialien aus den Unterlagen des Amt für Wiedergutmachung Hamburg); Detlef Garbe, "Gott mehr gehorchen als den Menschen". Neuzeitliche Christenverfolgung im nationalsozialistischen Hamburg, S. 185–199; Detlef Garbe, Zwischen Widerstand und Martyrium, S. 78, 87, 99, 123, 227, 242; Elke Imberger, Widerstand ,von unten’, S. 255; M. James Penton, Jehova’s Witness, S. 15f., S. 160f.

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