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Albert Jahnke * 1886

Königstraße 15 Eingang zur Schule (Altona, Altona-Altstadt)

Verhaftet 1939 und 1941
KZ Neuengamme
Außenlager Salzgitter-Drütte
ermordet 21.11.1943

Albert Gustav Emil Jahnke, born 29 June 1886 in Eldenburg/Westprignitz, died 21 Nov. 1943 at Neuengamme concentration camp, Salzgitter-Drütte sub-camp

Königstraße 15 (Große Schmiedestraße 5)

Albert Jahnke was born in Eldenburg, Westprignitz in 1886 as the son of Christian Jahnke and his wife Henriette, née Bockje, and was baptized in the Evangelical Lutheran faith. After finishing elementary school, he completed an apprenticeship as an upholsterer but only worked in that occupation for a short time. In 1906 he moved to Hamburg where his brother lived in the Eilbek neighborhood. During World War I he served in the 86th infantry regiment and, like many soldiers, was awarded a medal for bravery, the Iron Cross II. Afterwards Albert Jahnke took on valet jobs. In 1939 he worked at the Fährhaus Lühe near Stade, in 1941 at the Ernst-Merck Hotel at the main train station. On 24 May 1939, Albert Jahnke was taken into custody for the first time by the 24th Criminal Investigations Department, Hamburg’s crime police responsible for homosexual offences, on suspicion of having committed "perverted fornication” and was detained in "protective custody” at Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. On 1 June he was transferred to remand prison at Holstenglacis and on 12 July 1939 was sentenced by the Hamburg District Court for offenses after § 175 in two cases to a six-month prison sentence which he served at the penal institutions Fuhlsbüttel and from Aug. 1939 Glasmoor near Glashütte (today Norderstedt). On 2 Oct. 1939 during his imprisonment, he was sentenced by the same court to a total of ten months in prison, taking into account the first sentence, for homosexual contact with five to seven additional partners which had later been ascertained. The last two months of his sentence he spent in the central hospital of the remand prison. From there he was given his freedom on 12 May 1940. Yet that freedom only lasted a little more than a year for Albert Jahnke: On 17 June 1941 Helmut Ernst, born in 1919, was arrested on suspicion of "breach of a labor contract, theft and perverted fornication” on the grounds of Millertor, a meeting place for male prostitutes and men who were looking for homosexual contact. During his interrogation at the 24th Criminal Investigations Department, he reported he met Jahnke in front of the boarding house in St. Pauli and twice spent the night in his room in Altona at Große Schmiedestraße 5. Both nights they had had "same-sex intercourse” for which Ernst received five Reich Marks and food, without having asked for either. That same day, the crime police also arrested Albert Jahnke. His interrogation was carried out by Criminal Investigator Gaier who already knew Jahnke as a "flaming queen” from his previous cases. Since the investigating officer did not want to believe that Albert Jahnke had not had any further partners since his last detention and wanted to conduct further investigations, one day later he ordered police custody for him in Stadthaus and had him detained at Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp from 19 to 25 June 1941. Afterwards he was transferred to Hamburg City Remand Penitentiary. While Albert Jahnke had described himself as "bisexual” during his first sentencing, in the new proceedings he admitted under pressure of the interrogations that he had homosexual tendencies and had had sexual contact with two additional men. The prosecution was led by State Attorney Nicolaus Siemssen, notorious among homosexuals, who in similar cases had cracked down on gay men with a passion out of personal conviction. His sentence was passed on 10 Sept. 1941 by District Judge Wilhelm Öhlckers who was known for particularly severe punishments. He made no effort at a detailed explanatory statement, but instead explained on a scant page his sentencing of 18 months in prison. Since Albert Jahnke was classified as a repeat offender, he stated: "This time the accused must receive a great punishment.” Albert Jahnke served his sentence from 16 Sept. 1941, first at the Fuhlsbüttel Men’s Prison, then from 1 Oct. back in Glasmoor. His release, planned for 16 Dec. 1942, was handled by the Police Authority "BK 1” who likely transferred him via the inner-city Hütten Police Jail on 23 Jan. 1943 through the main site of Neuengamme concentration camp or directly to the sub-camp Salzgitter-Drütte where he received the prisoner number 15496 and the prisoner prefix "homo”. The sub-camp had manufactured grenades for the Reichs Works "Herman Göring” since autumn 1942. The camp had been expanded to hold up to 3150 prisoners and as such was the largest sub-camp of Neuengamme concentration camp. Not even a full year passed before Albert Jahnke’s death at the age of 57 was recorded on 21 Nov. 1943 at the sub-camp Drütte. The official cause of death was given as "lung and bowel tuberculosis”. His body was buried at the Jammertal-Salzgitter Cemetery, field I, row 7, plot C, on 23 Nov. 1943. Albert Jahnke’s last freely chosen residence was at Großen Schmiedestraße 5 in Altona. Due to substantially changed post-war construction following the massive destruction of historical old town Altona, a Stumbling Stone has been laid in front of the entrance to the Königstraße School at Königstraße 15 to remind us of his fate.
Information as of Sept. 2015

Translator: Suzanne von Engelhardt
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: April 2018
© Bernhard Rosenkranz (†) / Ulf Bollmann

Quellen: StaH 213-8 Staatsanwaltschaft Oberlandesgericht – Verwaltung, Ablieferung 2, 451 a E 1, 1 d; 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen, 7763/41 und 7601/42; 242-1 II Gefängnisverwaltung II, Ablieferungen 13 und 1998/1 sowie 17818; StaH 331-1 II Polizeibehörde II, Ablieferung 15 Band 1; Mit Dank für Auskünfte an Rainer Hoffschildt, Hannover sowie Alyn Beßmann und Dr. Reimer Möller von der KZ-Gedenkstätte Neuengamme vom 27.8.2014 mit Hinweisen auf das Außenlager Drütte, das Sterberegister des Standesamts Salzgitter Nr. 678/1943, sta 00340626, das Krankenrevier-Totenbuch Außenlager I, tob 00101428, die Friedhofskartei Salzgitter-Jammertal, jam 00000637 sowie eine Mitteilung der Lagerverwaltung über Nachlasssachen, vol 01000063.

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