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Hugo Ludwig * 1907

Blücherstraße 8/10 (Altona, Altona-Altstadt)

JG. 1907
ERMORDET 6.12.1942

Hugo Paul Ludwig, born 16 July 1907 in Neumünster, died 6 Dec. 1942 at the Emslandlager V, Neusustrum

Blücherstraße 8/10

Hugo Ludwig was born in 1907 in Neumünster in Schleswig-Holstein. He was the third of four children of Hugo Ludwig, a mechanical engineer, and his wife Franziska, née Husfeld. His parents divorced around 1920. His father lived in Rendsburg until his death, aged 73, in 1940. His mother, who was 15 years younger than her husband, lived in Kiel. As an adult, Hugo Ludwig was not in contact with his siblings, but remained close to his mother.

He attended elementary and middle school until around 1922 in Neumünster. He had to repeat one year. From 1923 to 1926 he apprenticed as a tradesman and then attended a trade school for six months. Afterwards he worked for a year as a salesman in Kiel, but lost the job when the business went bankrupt.

For a short time he worked in temporary jobs, and then was registered as unemployed. He then travelled about the country, until he arrived in southern Germany. He had no permanent jobs during this time, but earned a living doing odd jobs and begging. In Garmisch in Bavaria and in Heidenheim/Brenz and Schorndorf in what is now Baden-Württemberg, he was jailed shortly for begging.

He returned to Hamburg in 1936, but had no permanent residence. In that year he was sentenced twice by the Altona Court to four weeks in jail for begging. After the second sentencing the court ordered that he be sent to a workhouse. He served this sentence in the workcamp in Glückstadt from 17 July 1936 until September 1938.

Hugo Ludwig’s life story is a prime example of how a person, despite having learned a profession, could suffer a dramatic downfall in Germany during the Weimar Republic and the Nazi era. His dire financial situation, or in Nazi terminology his "asocial lifestyle” was made worse by his homosexuality, which he lived openly from the time he was 20 years old.

When he was admitted to the St. Georg hospital in October 1938 with an infection of the jaw, he was denounced as a homosexual to the police by an orderly and by the ward physician Adolf Meincke. He had spoken to other male patients about homosexuality and tried to establish sexual relations with them. On the same day that he was denounced, he was released from the hospital and arrested. After initial interrogations, during which he admitted to having engaged in homosexual activities in the boarding house Klein Concordia in St. Pauli, he was sent to the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp, where he remained until 20 October. After that he was held in pre-trial detention until 17 March 1939. On 9 March 1939 he had been convicted of "unnatural fornication” and defamation by the Hamburg State Court, and was sentenced to a year in prison. He served this term, after his release from pre-trial detention, first at the Fuhlsbüttel prison, then from 25 March 1939 onwards at the Glasmoor prison near Glashütte outside of Hamburg.

After his release from prison in October 1939, the Hamburg Unemployment Office assigned him to construction work at a company in Lokstedt. On 8 May 1940 he was once again arrested for homosexual activities. He was once again interrogated and imprisoned at the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp from 11-20 May 1940, then held in pre-trial detention until 20 July. His trial was on 26 June 1940 in Hamburg, but the court records no longer exist. He was again sentenced to one year in prison for homosexuality, and served the term in the Fuhlsbüttel prison, Glasmoor, and Hahnöfersand. He was released on 17 May 1941.

His freedom did not last long, however. On 3 August 1941 he was reported to the police by Reichsbahn security for loitering in the waiting area of the Harburg train staion. Because he had no apartment at that time, he was living in a men’s home at Blücherstraße 8/10 in Altona. He had not registered with the authorities because, as he told the police, he didn’t want to be called to serve in the military. The police did not believe him, instead assuming that he had once again been engaging in homosexual activities, and he was sent to the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp, where he remained until 12 August 1941.

After repeated interrogations by the Criminal Secretary Johannes Voigt at the Hamburg Stadthaus, during which Voigt "once again earnestly urged the prisoner Hugo Ludwig to tell the truth and remonstrated with him,” – according to survivors of these interrogations, Voigt’s "urging” was nothing less than physical abuse – Ludwig admitted to having engaged in homosexual activities with unknown persons in the public toilets in St. Pauli and in the park near the Bismarck monument. His situation as a previously convicted repeat offender was made even more difficult by a medical assessment for the trial on 26 November 1941, written by the physician Rolf Schwarke. The assessment was a standard condemnation of homosexuality, which, during the Nazi regime, was tantamount to a death sentence: "In light of the fully untenable, weak-willed, and degenerate personality in which the homosexual drive is deeply rooted, it is not to be expected that the drive can be controlled or reversed. After serving his sentence, the accused will immediately relapse, as he has done after his previous sentences. From a medical standpoint, preventative measures are strongly recommended. As the accused refuses to undergo voluntary castration, an extended period of imprisonment is called for.”

It is thus no wonder that the Hamburg District Court sentenced Hugo Ludwig as a "dangerous repeat offender” to one year and nine months in prison. On 16 January 1942 he was transferred from the Hamburg detention facility to the prison camp Rodgau Lager II – Rollwald – in Nieder-Roden in Hesse. He arrived there on 22 January 1942. On 16 February 1942 he was transferred to the Brual-Rhede prison camp in Emsland.

The constant transfer of prisoners between concentration camps and prison facilities was part of the system of destabilization and demoralization of prisoners. As a victim of this system, Hugo Ludwig was once again transferred, on 18 March 1942, to another Emsland camp, Neusustrum, which was to be the final station in a life dominated by prisons. He died there on 6 December 1942 at 5:15 pm. He was 35 years old.

Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

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

Quellen: StaH, StaH, 213-8 Staatsanwaltschaft Oberlandesgericht – Verwaltung, Ablieferung 2, 451 a E 1, 1 b, Ablieferung 2, 451 a E 1, 1 c und Ablieferung 2, 451 a E 1, 1 e; StaH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen, 2322/39 und 925/42; StaH 242-1 II Gefängnisverwaltung II, 20843 sowie Ablieferungen 13 und 1998/1; StaH 331-1 II Polizeibehörde II, Ablieferung 15, Band 1, Rosenkranz/Bollmann/Lorenz: Homosexuellen-Verfolgung in Hamburg, S. 233.

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