Search for Names, Places and Biographies

Already layed Stumbling Stones

back to select list

Adolf Theodor (Adolph Theodor) Meyer * 1891

Clemens-Schultz-Straße 43-45 (Altona, St. Pauli)

JG. 1891
"VERLEGT" 23.9.1940
ERMORDET 23.9.1940

Adolf Theodor Meyer, born on 11 Jan. 1891

Stumbling Stone Hamburg-St Pauli, Clemens-Schultz-Strasse 43–45 (previously Kielerstrasse 44)

On 11 Jan. 1891, Adolf Theodor Meyer was born as the illegitimate son of the Jewish woman Bertha Bloch, née Meyer, in Hamburg. The name Adolph conforms to the entry on his birth certificate. Later he was mostly called Adolph Theodor. He never seems to have met his father. He grew up in the family of his mother and his stepfather, Reinhold Bloch, together with two older half brothers and sisters, Pauline (Paula) born on 10. May 1881 and Theodor born on 16. April 1864.

Adolph Meyer attended the Talmud Tora school and subsequently the Elementary school, Papendamm 5 but only till the 5th class (old numbering system). In 1905, the jewish orphanage at Papendamm 3 arranged Adolph Theodors accommodation in a jewish reform school from which he was discharged again in 1906. Before the First World War, he completed training to become a waiter and also worked as one. Adolph Theodor did not manage to keep a job for long, however. In the four years until 1910 he is said to have had at least 20 jobs, all of which he lost again after a short time. Very early on he came under compulsory state supervision. His life until his murder in Sept. 1940 was largely heteronomous, and today it can only be reconstructed on the basis of his medical files and case records.

He repeatedly came into conflict with the law for theft amongst other things. In two stays of several months each in the "Lunatic Centre Friedrichsberg” (Irrenanstalt Friedrichsberg) in the years 1911 and 1912, his capacity for criminal responsibility in connection with criminal proceedings was meant to be clarified. Further offences followed in the succeeding years so that in 1915 at the age of 24, Adolph Theodor Meyer was declared to be incapable of managing his own affairs. In this year on 20. July 1915 Adolph Theodor`s mother died. He was now without direct relatives and largely dependant on himself. After the war, he worked as a messenger for different employers, eventually for a cloth merchant in Schnelsen, who reported the loss of two suits to police in June 1935. When Adolf Meyer was interrogated as a prime suspect, he confessed to the theft and explained not only his motive but also his future plans:

"I have known Miss Will for one year. We are engaged and live together in the cottage in Schnelsen located at Weidestrasse 3 with Schulz. I am to be sterilized and as soon as that has happened and I have my papers back, I intend to marry Miss Will. I confess to the theft having taken place today …, because I still have some outstanding debts to pay off but only a small income…” According to the identification form of the police authority, his personal description was documented as follows: "Height 1.50 m [4 ft 11 in] – lean build – shape of face narrow – hair light brown – eyes gray – …”

From 1931/1932 Adolph Theodor Meyer belonged to the Jewish Community in Hamburg. According to the information on his Religious Community Tax card, he lived in the 1930’s in Kielerstrasse 44 (now Clemens-Schulz-Strasse 43–45) in St Pauli, in Kolbergstrasse 56 in St Georg as a subtenant of Rückleben and in Kastanienallee 38 in St Pauli as a subtenant of Hildebrandt.

The committal to the Hamburg pretrial detention center on 17 Oct. 1935 meant not only the shattering of Adolf Meyer’s marriage plans; this moment also equated the end to his right to a self-determined life. As early as September, the senior public prosecutor at the Regional Court (Landgericht) had requested "…to order admission to a sanatorium and nursing home because he had committed the punishable offense in a state of mental incapacity….” Adolf Meyer’s lawyer applied for an appeal against this order and pleaded for a prison sentence.

On 5 Nov. 1935 – fully six weeks before the appeal was turned down as unfounded and the order for committal to a "sanatorium and nursing home” was declared legally effective – Adolf Meyer was "turned over” to the Langenhorn sanatorium and nursing home (Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Langenhorn). The medical reports prepared on him at regular intervals reveal little information about his person or his actual behavior or his state of health, though they show all the more clearly the mindset characterized by racial ideology on which these assessments were based:
"During his two and three quarters years of institutionalization, Adolf Meyer generally made a noticeable effort not to attract attention through undisciplined actions. In the course of regular employment, he has also accomplished useful things. To the outside, he always showed – in keeping with his racial characteristic – a servile nature. However, he was not always as harmless and well-mannered as he pretended to be at every opportunity …”

With a decision of the Hamburg Genetic Health Court (Erbgesundheitsgericht), it was decreed that Adolph Theodor Meyer should be sterilized, if necessary against either his own will or that of his guardian.

In Spring/Summer 1940 the "Euthanasia” Central Office in Berlin, Tiergartenstrasse 4 planned a special operation against Jews in public and private nursing and care centres. On 30. August 1940, the Reichs Ministry of the Interior ordered that all mentally ill and mentally handicapped Jewish people in public and private institutions should be registered and transferred to so called collection institutes (Sammelanstalten). The Nursing and Care centre Langenhorn was designated the Collection Institute for North Germany. All institutions in Hamburg, Schleswig Holstein and Mecklenburg were instructed to transfer all the Jews living in their establishments to Langenhorn by 18. September 1940. After all the Jewish patients from the North German centres had arrived in Langenhorn, they were transferred to Brandenburg an der Havel on 23. September 1940 together with the Jewish patients who had already been living in Langenhorn for longer. Adolph Meyer was among them. On the same day, the people were killed with carbon monoxide in a part of the former prison which had been converted into a Gas Extermination Centre. Only one patient, Ilse Herta Zachmann, avoided this fate for the time being (see her entry).

It is not known whether and, if so, when relatives learned about Adolph Meyer’s death. In all communications which have been documented, it was claimed that the person concerned had died in Chelm or Cholm. The entry in Adolph Meyer`s birth registry contains the supplementary note "Died no. 433/41 St.A. Chelm II Gen Province”.

A letter dt. 8. July 1941 to the Hamburg District Court from the "Lunatic Centre Cholm, Post Lublin, PO Box 822” contains the notification that "The Patient Adolph Meyer born 11.01.91 in Hamburg and transferred to our centre at the time by order of the Reich’s Defence Commissioner died here on 02. February 1941. The letter has the reference X1330/LY. The roman numeral X was used for correspondence with the relatives of jewish patients whilst otherwise the code letters A, B, Be, C, D and E indicated one of the six extermination centres.

However, the people murdered in Brandenburg were never in Chelm (polish) or Cholm (german), a town east of Lublin. The polish nursing home which had been there before no longer existed after SS units had murdered almost all the patients on 12. January 1940.

Through the false date of death given for Adolph Theodor Meyer, it was possible to claim unwarranted care charges for approximately four months for somebody who had long since been murdered. The Hamburg Public Prosecutors Office attached an internal order to the letter from the "Lunatic Centre Cholm” with four instructions for action. Clause 4 of the order read "Put Aside as a Research Matter”. Was the justice administration even then aware of the far reaching meaning of the "Administrative Process”?

Adolph Theodor’s half-brother, Theodor Bloch, and his half-sister, Pauline (Paula) Bloch (widowed Dratwa) also died in the Holocaust. Theodor Bloch was deported to Auschwitz and was murdered there on 28. January 1943. Pauline (Paula) Dratwa was deported to the "Litzmannstadt” (Lodz) Ghetto on 25. October 1941, deported again from there to Kulmhof (Chelmno) on 10. May 1942 and murdered there. Their biographies will be described in detail in the volume "Stumbling Stones in Hamburg-Neustadt” which is in preparation.

Adolph Theodor Meyer is commemorated by a Stumbling Stone in Hamburg – St Pauli, Clemens-Schulz-Strasse 43–45 (previously Kielerstrasse 44)

Translator: Erwin Fink, updated Steve Robinson

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: January 2018
© Gunhild Ohl-Hinz

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; 9; AB; StaH 133-1 III Staatsarchiv III, 3171-2/4 U.A. 4, Liste psychisch kranker jüdischer Patientinnen und Patienten der psychiatrischen Anstalt Langenhorn, die aufgrund nationalsozialistischer "Euthanasie"-Maßnahmen ermordet wurden, zusammengestellt von Peter von Rönn, Hamburg (Projektgruppe zur Erforschung des Schicksals psychisch Kranker in Langenhorn); 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen, 935/36; 224-2 Erbgesundheitsgericht Beschlüsse 1939 Nr. 6 (Adolph Theodor Meyer); 332-5 Standesämter 723 Sterberegister Nr. 720/1915 Betty Meyer, 2253 Geburtsregister Nr. 928/1891 Adolph Theodor Meyer; 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn Abl. 1/1995 Aufnahme-/Abgangsbuch Langenhorn 26. 8. 1939 bis 27. 1. 1941; UKE/IGEM, Archiv, Patienten-Karteikarte Adolph Theodor Meyer der Staatskrankenanstalt Friedrichsberg. Staatsarchiv Hamburg (Hrsg.), Jüdische Opfer, 1965 (Gedenkbuch). Hinz-Wessels, Annette, Antisemitismus und Krankenmord. Zum Umgang mit jüdischen Anstaltspatienten im Nationalsozialismus, in: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte (VfZ) (2013) 1, S. 65-92. Wunder, Michael/Genkel, Ingrid/Jenner, Harald, Auf dieser schiefen Ebene gibt es kein Halten mehr. Die Alsterdorfer Anstalten im Nationalsozialismus, Stuttgart 2016.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

print preview  / top of page