Search for Names, Places and Biographies

Already layed Stumbling Stones

back to select list

Henry Möbius * 1902

Breite Straße 120 (Altona, Altona-Altstadt)

JG. 1902
INHAFTIERT 1937-1939
ERMORDET 1.7.1941

Willy Henry Möbius, born 05/15/1902 in Altona, died after 06/05/1941 at the killing institution Pirna-Sonnenstein in Saxony

Breite Strasse 120 (Breitestrasse 146)

The stevedore Henry Möbius was born in Altona on May 15th, 1902 as the second youngest child of the machine operator Edmund Möbius and his wife Minna, née Höfer. After prematurely finishing elementary school, he started an apprenticeship as a plumber, which he quit after six months. Until the end of the war in November, 1918, he worked as a car washer for the state railroad. Until 1928, he was employed by various factories in Altona. After being dismissed, he went waltzing until 1931. From 1931 to 1933, he worked for a furrier in Berlin.

In February, 1933, Henry Möbius came to Hamburg, where he worked in the port until 1937, when he was arrested for the first time accused of homosexual activity pursuant to Art. 175 of the Penal Code. Between 1920 and 1936, he had been sentenced a total of four times for theft and begging. On March 15th, 1937, he was arrested for the first time for "perverted buggery” (widernatürliche Unzucht) and taken into "protective custody” at the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp form March 17th to May 18th, 1937; subsequently, he was transferred to the regular remand prison at Holstenglacis 3. He had admitted having engaged in homosexual actions with a seaman, and on July 21st, 1937, the Hamburg district court sentenced him to one year in prison less the period of protective and remand detention, which he served at the Fuhlsbüttel prison.

After completion of his sentence on March 15th, 1938, the Hamburg employment agency placed him in a job with a construction company in Voorde near Kiel. He quit the job on account of the meager pay and found new work on a farm in Marne in Dithmarschen. Accused of "immoral conduct” with a farm hand, he left his job and found work again in Kiel and on the island of Fehmarn. On account of an arrest warrant, he was detained on April 13th, 1939 and then sentenced to nine months in prison for "violent abuse” and pursuant to Art. 175 by the district court of Itzehoe. An appeal was rejected, and Möbius was sent to the Neumünster prison to serve the sentence.

During his imprisonment, the male prostitute Werner Schmidt (born 1918, died 1941 due to the effects of imprisonment, cf. Stumbling Stones in Hamburg-St. Pauli) named him as a partner in sexual activities. Möbius first denied the "crime” but eventually confessed having engaged in homosexual activity once. Möbius said that Schmidt had approached him several times in various bars in St. Pauli, but that he had rejected the hustler’s offers. Henry Möbius at that time was staying as a subtenant with Walter Lau (born 1906, died 1942 at Ravensbrück concentration camp, cf. Stumbling Stones in Hamburg St. Pauli). It was at Lau’s home that the incriminated sexual contact occurred in January, 1939, and Möbius was sentenced to another nine months in prison by the Hamburg district court. The judge combined this with the Itzehoe sentence to a total of one year and three months, which Möbius served in Neumünster.

On account of Möbius’ enduring denial of the "crime”, his pre-trial imprisonment was not deducted from his sentence. Having served the full sentence, he was not released, but transferred to the Hamburg criminal investigation department and detained at the Hütten police jail in the city on September 28th, 1940. On November 16th, Henry Möbius’ name is listed in the admittance records of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp with the code "BV/175”, short for "homosexual professional criminal.” On June 5th, 1941, his name is on the transport list cryptically called "Kommando S” of persons who were to be sent to the "euthanasia” Killing institution Sonnenstein near Pirna in Saxony. The medical doctor and lieutenant colonel of the SS Friedrich Mennecke selected 269 persons, mostly incapable of work, among them many homosexual men, to be sent to Sonnenstein to be killed. On June 4th, 5th, and 6th, they were transported to Sonnenstein by truck and poisoned by carbon monoxide in the gas chambers. Officially, the circumstances of their deaths were faked and death certificates issued indicating a "natural” cause of death issued. Thus, the registrar’s office of Oranienburg issued a death certificate for Henry Möbius dated July 1st, 1941, attesting a "natural death.”

The real place and date of his death only came to light after the Stumbling Stone had been laid in front of Möbius’ last residence at Breite Strasse 120 (formerly number 146), so it is inscribed "KZ SACHSENHAUSEN ERMORDET 1.7.1941.”

Translated by Peter Hubschmid
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 b; StaH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen, 5944/40; StaH 242-1 II Gefängnisverwaltung II, 21954 und Ablieferung 13; StaH 332-5 Standesämter, 13880 (Eintrag-Nr. 1422); Mit Dank an Dagmar Lieske, Hamburg, für Hinweise aus dem Archiv und Gedenkstätte Sachsenhausen; Müller/Sternweiler: Homosexuelle Männer im KZ Sachsenhausen, S. 17; Ley, Vom Krankenmord zum Genozid, S. 36–49; Rosenkranz/Bollmann/Lorenz: Homosexuellen-Verfolgung in Hamburg, S. 238.

print preview  / top of page