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Rudolf Bartelt * 1911

Marckmannstraße 100 (Hamburg-Mitte, Rothenburgsort)

JG. 1911
TOT 28.8.1944

Rudolf Bartelt, born on 28 May 1911 in Hamburg, killed on 28 Aug. 1944 serving as a soldier in the 999th Division Probation Battalion (Bewährungsbatallion Division 999)

Marckmannstraße 100 (Marckmannstraße 102)

"In subjective terms, the defendant Bartelt conceded being aware that the intention of distributing the newspapers was bringing the old comrades together and promoting the efforts of the illegal SPD by means of the money received,” the prosecutor of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht – OLG) detailed the grounds for the judgment against Rudolf Bartelt on 15 Aug. 1935.

He was born as the son of the crane operator Rudolf Bartelt and his wife Martha, née Roggow, in Hamburg-Rothenburgsort. He successfully completed the eight-grade elementary school (Volksschule) and afterwards began an apprenticeship as a bookbinder, while becoming a member of the "Graphic Arts Union” ("Gewerkschaft Graphisches Gewerbe”). In 1929, he joined the SPD, in 1931 also the "Banner of the Reich” (Reichsbanner), and, from 1932 onward until the SPD was banned, acted as a district leader. When he lost his job, he participated in the foundation of the "self-help of the unemployed” ("Erwerbslosen-Selbsthilfe”), filling the post of head chef on an honorary basis. In 1933, the National Socialist People’s Welfare authority (Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt – NSV) absorbed the self-help organization and took him over on a permanent basis.

In Rothenburgsort, the district treasurer of the SPD, Franz Wendt, strove to rebuild the party. He gathered the party comrades, provided them with writings, and organized assistance for relatives of imprisoned functionaries and members with the aim of "keeping up the ‘old spirit of the SPD’ and the ‘spirit of solidarity.’” Rudolf Bartelt participated in distributing Socialist political publications, the "Sozialistische Aktion” and the "Rote Blätter.” He also had in his possession a copy of the leaflet with the camouflage title of "Die Kunst des Selbstrasierens” (literally, "The art of self-shaving”). The magazines were sold or passed on for propaganda purposes, with the proceeds going, like the donations, to the relief fund in Franz Wendt’s responsibility.

At the end of Aug. 1934, Rudolf Bartelt was dismissed from his job at the Volkswohlfahrt. The reasons for the firing are not known. On 15 Feb. 1935, he was committed to pretrial detention in Fuhlsbüttel for "preparation of high treason” and "violation of the Law against the Formation of New Political Parties.” The accusation was that the content of the writings distributed illegally aimed at "shattering” the new system of government and that assistance to imprisoned comrades served the same purpose. The six-month period of pretrial detention ended with the trial on 15 Aug. 1935, the eighth partial proceedings "Wendt und Genossen" attached to the trial "Menke und Genossen,” in which Rudolf Bartelt faced charges together with 13 others. It was impossible to uphold the charge of high treason, which meant that only violation of Sec. 2 of the "Law against the Formation of New Political Parties” dated 14 July 1935 was punished. The penalty stipulated for this ranged between six months and two years imprisonment. Rudolf Bartelt was sentenced to one year and four months in prison. Calculated against the period of pretrial detention, his prison term ended on 8 Aug. 1936. On 9 Apr. 1937, Rudolf Bartelt and Frida Eschenburg married and moved to Marckmannstrasse 102; the marriage produced one child.

The Nazi state initially classified political convicts as "unworthy of military service,” conscripting them, however, from 1942 onward to form so-called "probation battalions.” Thus, Rudolf Bartelt, too, was drafted to the regional infantry troops (Landesschützen) in Lübeck on 3 June 1944, and then transferred because of his previous conviction for political offenses to the 999th Division Probation Battalion. He was killed in military action near Riga on 28 Aug. 1944.

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

© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: VAN-Totenliste 1968; StaH 332-5 Standesämter, 1320-139/1952; 351-11 AfW, 26502; Archiv der VVN Hamburg B 6; FZH Archiv, 833-8, SPD 1933-1945 Prozesse, Band 3, Nr. 8; Für Freiheit und Demokratie, Hamburg 2003;; ttps:// Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, Gräbersuche online; Deutsche Dienststelle Berlin, II B 415 106-14 1308 14 188, am 19.11.2014.

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