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Erich Graupner * 1905

Rahlstedter Straße 195 (Wandsbek, Rahlstedt)

JG. 1905
ERMORDET 1.4.1942

Erich Fritz Graupner, born on 14.2.1905 in Obersachsenfeld/Kreis Zwickau, imprisoned several times in the 1930s, 1941 Sachsenhausen concentration camp, murdered on 1.4.1942 in Niederhagen concentration camp

Rahlstedter Strasse 195 (Lübeckerstrasse 47)

Erich Graupner probably belonged to those homosexuals who would have been stereotypically described as "typically gay" even today: He chose the apprentice profession of hairdresser and gave himself conspicuously "tuntig". At the same time he was very sociable and popular; his master, the hairdresser Hermann Wolters, recalled in 1938 when questioned by the police: "I had already noticed that Graupner ... liked to put on my wife's coat and put on her hat. In this he had an obvious pleasure." The boss praised his professional skills in the highest terms: "He was a good apprentice and became an excellent specialist. After all, he still worked last at Kuse [correct: Kuhse] and Umland, where only first people from Hamburg come as customers."

Even after his apprenticeship, Graupner still frequented the Wolters and sometimes poured out his heart to his wife: "When he once ondulated my wife's hair, he started crying and said that there was something wrong with him. It also hurt him when he saw other people going out with girls. It disgusted him, since he could not do such a thing."

In 1905, Erich Graupner was born in Obersachsenfeld, the son of Willy Graupner, a tinware factory owner, and Ernestine, née Oehlert. He had an older brother Alfons, born in 1903. The family moved to Hamburg in the year of his birth, where his father first worked for the company Heidenreich & Harbeck before later owning a car transport company and moving to what was then Lübeckerstraße 47 in Rahlstedt.

Erich Graupner first attended the Kielortallee elementary school in Eimsbüttel and then learned the hairdressing trade, in which he subsequently earned his master's degree.

The 1.60 meter tall, slim man met his first boyfriend at the age of 16 during his apprenticeship and from 1927/28 also frequented the homosexual bar "Zu den drei Sternen" at Hütten 60 in Hamburg's Neustadt district. There he found contacts with like-minded people, but also made contact with hustlers with whom he had sex for money.

From the surviving reports and self-testimonies, it is clear that Erich Graupner repeatedly suffered from his homosexual disposition. What ultimately triggered his life crisis in the fall of 1937 can only be conjectured: Was it the loss of his good position at the renowned barbershop Kuhse und Umland at Stephansplatz 4, where he lost his job after ten years of initially successful work? Was it an unhappy love affair? His former employers told the police that they were "inconvenienced" by his homosexual disposition and his "strange behavior" with the clients. One of the owners, Mr. Umland, further stated at the end of October 1937 that he had kept Graupner from committing suicide six months earlier. Because he was so "abnormally inclined," he had not been able to rehire him.

So it came about that on October 21, 1937, in the pub "Mädiseck," Große Freiheit 96 in Altona, Erich Graupner wept and poured out his heart to a man present there: at that time, he had already been prowling around Hamburg pubs for six days, was homosexually inclined, and no man could save him from this evil. He also had the intention of committing suicide.
What he didn't know was the fact that he was sitting across from an undercover criminal investigator who was out on the occasion of "general manhunts." As a result, he was arrested and his life confession triggered extensive interrogations and investigations, so that he was taken into "protective custody" one day later and detained in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp until November 30.

He was then placed in regular pretrial detention before being tried before the Hamburg District Court on February 2, 1938. He was sentenced to one year and two months in prison for "continued violation of § 175 StGB," which he served until December 20, 1938, in the Glasmoor prison, among other places.

Just under a year later, on October 30, 1939, Erich Graupner was picked up during the "overhaul", as the police called the systematic surveillance and raids (not only) of homosexual meeting places, of the tourist home "Seefahrt" with a hustler whom he had met by chance a second time near the Reeperbahn and invited to spend the night. Once again he was detained for a week in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp before being remanded in custody on November 8, 1939. It must have seemed like a déjà vu experience to him when, on December 9, 1939, he was convicted a second time as an "incorrigible homosexual" by the district court director Krause under § 175 StGB of the German Penal Code for the two contacts he admitted to. (Peter Petersen, born 30.12.1911 in Husum, who was arrested together with him, was sent to the "Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Langenhorn" (sanatorium and nursing home) after a prison sentence as "diminished sane" and was released from there in 1942. His further fate is not yet known).

The 15 months of imprisonment imposed on Erich Graupner this time were served in the remand prison at Holstenglacis 3, interrupted only by two days of leave on the occasion of the funeral of his father, who died on March 4, 1940. At the end of his regular term of imprisonment, he must have realized that his life was in great danger and that he was threatened with being sent to a concentration camp. Like many of his fellow sufferers, he tried to escape this fate by applying for "voluntary emasculation".

His application, filed on October 30, 1940, resulted in a stereotypical "medical report on the question of emasculation" by the city physicist Schwartz, but it seems that Erich Graupner was not released before a decision was made in this matter, but - as in many comparable cases - was sent to a concentration camp via the inner-city police prison Hütten. On record is his "release" on January 29, 1941 to the police authority. With the prisoner number 37154 he then appeared in April 1941 as an access prisoner for the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. There is also evidence of a stay in the infirmary there from September 6 to 23, 1941. Then his traces are initially lost.

Only in a restitution file, which contains two applications by Alfons' brother from 1949 and 1958, is the transcript of a letter from "Protective Prisoner No. 544 Block 1 Erich Graupner" dated March 22, 1942, from the camp then called "Wewelsburg Concentration Camp near Paderborn" to his family, and thus his last sign of life:

"Dear mother, Liesel, Alfons and little Louis!
Unfortunately I have not yet received news of my last letter! Has something happened to you? I would not hope so. I am still doing well! What are Wolter and Aunt Engel doing?
Enough for today,
Greetings to you all.
Your Erich"

The Niederhagen concentration camp was a temporary and relatively small concentration camp on the outskirts of Büren-Wewelsburg. It was created in 1941 from the Wewelsburg subcamp, a subcamp of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

On April 1, 1942, the camp commander of the concentration camp, SS-Hauptsturmführer Haas, sent a letter telegram to Hamburg with the death notice of Erich Graupner. In a letter sent at the same time, the mother was told that her son had been shot at 9:30 a.m. on April 1 while trying to escape and that the body had been cremated by the crematorium of the Senne Cemetery in Bielefeld. If desired, the ashes could be sent to a home cemetery. After this cruel notification, the mother died the same year in September 1942.

The applications for reparations submitted by the brother in 1949 and 1958 were both rejected. The first rejection, in 1950, for a requested compensation for imprisonment as a legal heir was justified on the grounds that he was not eligible as a brother within the meaning of the Sonderhilfsrentengesetz. A 1959 application under the Federal Compensation Act was rejected because his brother, who had been convicted under § 175 of the German Penal Code and murdered in a concentration camp, was not "to be regarded as a victim of Nazi persecution" "pursuant to § 1 of the Federal Compensation Act."

Translation by Beate Meyer

Stand: January 2022
© Ulf Bollmann

Quellen: StaH, 213-8 (Staatsanwaltschaft Oberlandesgericht – Verwaltung), Abl. 2, 451 a E 1, 1 b; StaH 242-1II (Gefängnisverwaltung II), Ablieferung 16; StaH 213-11 (Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen), 2041/38 und 1060/41; StaH 351-11 (AfW), 26866 und 27165; Auskunft Rainer Hoffschildt, Hannover aus 2010.

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