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Paul Meilicke * 1893

Pepermölenbek 2 (Altona, Altona-Altstadt)

Verhaftet 1940 und 1941
KZ Fuhlsbüttel
KZ Neuengamme
ermordet 06.01.1943

Paul Friedrich August Meilicke, born 21 May 1893 in Grunow (present-day Oberbarnim, Brandenburg), died 6 Jan. 1943 at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp

Pepermölenbek 2 (Schlachterbuden 2)

Paul Meilicke was born in 1893 in Grunow (present-day Oberbarnim), a village in Brandenburg 40km east of Berlin. He was christened in the Lutheran church, but later distanced himself from religion. He was the illegitimate son of Auguste Zipperling, née Meilicke, a manual laborer. He never knew his father. When he was born his mother was separated from her alcoholic husband, with whom she had nine children.

In 1907, after finishing his basic schooling, Paul Meilicke began an apprenticeship as a stonemason, and achieved the journeyman stage. In 1911 he came to Hamburg and earned his living with various jobs – as a coal stove installer, as a dockworker and construction worker. He later moved to Altona.

Paul Meilicke had his first run-in with the police because of his homosexuality in 1935. The surviving police records do not indicate who reported him. What is known is that he met Robert Reinecke on 15 February in a bar in St. Pauli, probably the Monte Carlo, which was frequented by homosexuals. Reineke (*1915) was an unemployed, homeless musician from Hanover. Meilicke offered to let him spend the night in his room in the ground-floor apartment at Große Bergstraße 155. The two men slept in the same bed. Meilicke was jailed by the Altona police the next day.

At his trial on 12 March 1935, Paul Meilicke denied having had homosexual relations and claimed that he planned to marry soon. The young people in his circle of friends were simply acquaintances he knew from acting. But because he had previously been identified by a "young person” who claimed that Meilicke wanted to have sexual relations with him, and because the co-defendant Robert Reinecke confessed to the charges, the court did not believe him. He was found guilty of "unnatural fornication” and sentenced to eight months in prison. He served the sentence from 21 March to 19 October 1935 in the Neumünster prison.

After his release his freedom lasted only a month. On 13 November he was again jailed, this time on charges of intent to commit high treason. He had supposedly voiced his opposition to the Nazi regime, and had earlier been a member of the Communist Party. His trial before the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court on 27 June 1936 resulted in a verdict of guilty, with a sentence of two years in prison and two years of the loss of civil liberties. He was sent to the Fuhlsbüttel prison on 1 July, then transferred to the Bremen-Oslebshausen prison on 6 August. He was to be turned over to the Gestapo upon his release on 30 October 1937.

Paul Meilicke was held in the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp from 30 May to 4 June 1940 by the Hamburg 24th criminal division, responsible for prosecuting homosexuals. Thereafter he was held in pre-trial detention on suspicion of having violated the law against homosexual activities. The suspicion that he had "come onto” teen-age boys in order to have "sexual relations” with them could not be proven.

But on 7 March 1941 he was once again interrogated by the police, because the rent-boy Hans Andres (*1921) identified a police photo of him. He claimed that Meilicke had been with his friend Rolf Petzold and had given him money. Petzold had kept the incident quiet "to keep the man out of it.”

The two had met in the Monte Carlo, the same bar that had been Paul Meilicke’s downfall in 1935, and in the Anker bar on the Reeperbahn. Meilicke was once again taken to the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp, where he remained until he was transferred to pre-trial detention on 14 March 1941. During his trial the couple with whom he boarded testified that the defendant had never taken men to his room, but as he had access to a separate entrance, the court assumed the couple had simply not seen the visits. After several interrogations, Meilicke admitted that he had invited Petzold to his room and slept with them in a bed, that it was "foolish” but for reasons of "kindness.” He claimed that the sexual activities were initiated by Petzold.

The police did not believe his statements, and his partner denied them. Police investigations had also revealed that he was well-known in the bar scene as a "homo.” It was thus no wonder that on 23 May 1941, the court sentenced Meilicke as a repeat offender to a 15-month prison sentence, without consideration of time spent in protective custody and pre-trial detention. He was sent to Fuhlsbüttel on 29 May, then transferred to the Glasmoor men’s prison near Glashütte on 10 June 1941.

Despite the fact that he was "well-behaved,” "worked diligently,” and was assured of a job and living quarters on a farm after his release, his petition in June 1942 that the time spent in pre-trial detention be deducted from his sentence was declined by the prison warden.

There are no documents that indicate whether Paul Meilicke actually went to work on the farm when he was released on 23 August 1942 or whether, as often happened in similar cases, he was jailed by the police as a "preventative measure.” What is certain is that he was registered with the prisoner number 10317 on 3 October 1942 at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp. His death was recorded on 6 January 1943 in the death registry of Stammlager III. The official cause of death was "heart and circulatory failure caused by pneumonia.”

A Stolperstein was placed in his memory at Schlachterbuden 2 (present-day Pepermölenbek 2) in Altona, his last freely-chosen residence.

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

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

Quellen: Landesarchiv Schleswig-Holstein, Abt. 352.1 (Landgericht und Staatsanwaltschaft Altona), Nr. 6200, mit Dank an Dr. Stefan Micheler, der uns Einblick in seine Aufzeichnungen über die von 1933 bis 1937 in Altona geführten Verfahren nach § 175 gab, die im LSH verwahrt werden, und an Dr. Elke Imberger, LSH, für die Vorbereitung einer Vorort-Recherche; StaH, 213-8 Staatsanwaltschaft Oberlandesgericht – Verwaltung, Ablieferung 2, 451 a E 1, 1 e; StaH 213-9 (General-)Staatsanwaltschaft Oberlandesgericht – Strafsachen, Verfahrensregister OJs 1937 Sonderband Heldt u.a. (Anklage 38, OJs 123/36); StaH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen, 5537/42; StaH 242-1 II Gefängnisverwaltung II, 21507 und Ablieferungen 13; StaH 331-1 II Polizeibehörde II, Ablieferung 15, Band 1; StaH 332-5 Standesämter, 10720 (Eintrag-Nr. 613); Rosenkranz/Bollmann/Lorenz: Homosexuellen-Verfolgung in Hamburg, S. 236.

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