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Karl Wieduwilt * 1909

Celsiusweg 20 (Altona, Bahrenfeld)

JG. 1909

Karl Willi Wieduwilt, born on 29 Aug. 1909, executed on 24 Oct. 1940 in the Brandenburg penitentiary for "treason”

Celsiusweg 20

The Reich Court Martial (Reichskriegsgericht) in Berlin sentenced Karl Willi Wieduwilt to death. Allegedly, he had supplied Polish agents with important material.

Karl Wieduwilt was born on 29 Aug. 1909 in the small town of Obdrup, a part of today’s municipality of Satrup in the Schleswig-Flensburg administrative district, as the son of Karl Oskar Hugo and Josefa Wieduwilt, née Lisniak. The parents lived in Flensburg at the time.

Nothing is known about Karl Wieduwilt’s childhood, schooling, and vocational training, or about his brother Wilhelm’s date of birth.

Until 1935, Karl earned a living as a self-employed commercial agent for several companies, subsequently as a traveling salesman. His income declined steadily, prompting him to assume a position as a PE teacher with the German Labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront) in late 1938, promoting corrective exercises on a half-hour basis in larger industrial plants. By mid-1939, he was dismissed, probably because he did not belong to the Nazi party. A contributing factor may have been that in Apr. 1938, Karl Wieduwilt was sentenced for "non-compliance with an order” to which we are not privy to one day in prison, which he served from 29 Aug. until 30 Aug. 1938.

In 1937, Karl Wieduwilt and Elisabeth Mertel, born on 17 Aug. 1915 in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld, were married. The couple had two daughters, Luise, born on 5 May 1939 in Hamburg-Wandsbek, and Margret, born on 6 July 1940 – during Karl Wieduwilt’s subsequent imprisonment – in Hamburg-Altona.

Until he was drafted into the German Wehrmacht on 1 Dec. 1939, Karl Wieduwilt was unemployed, interrupted only by short, independent jobs. A few days after his drafting into the military, he was arrested on 5 Dec. 1939; the apartment on Bahrenfelder Steindamm was searched without any explanation given to Elisabeth Wieduwilt. Despite intense efforts, she did not learn the reason for his imprisonment. The interrogations by the criminal investigation department and the Gestapo did not provide any explanation either. Elisabeth Wieduwilt received a postcard from the pretrial detention facility. She was allowed to visit her husband once for the duration of ten minutes. It was not until 1946 that the Chief Public Prosecutor (Generalstaatsanwalt) with the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court (Hanseatisches Oberlandesgericht) confirmed "that proceedings were pending against the PE instructor for treason, which were taken over […] by the Senior Reich Prosecutor [Oberreichsanwalt] with the People’s Court [Volksgerichtshof] in Berlin-Charlottenburg on 3 Jan. 1940.”

On 29 Feb. 1940, Karl Wieduwilt was transferred to the Berlin-Moabit pretrial detention center and on 21 Aug. 1940 to the Berlin-Tegel pretrial detention facility of the Wehrmacht.

On 28 Aug. 1940, the People’s Court sentenced him for high treason to death and loss of his civil rights for life. Two months later, on 24 Oct. 1940, Karl Willi Wieduwilt was guillotined at the Brandenburg/Havel penitentiary. Elisabeth Wieduwilt’s request to the prison chaplain to let her know the location of the burial site was left unanswered.

From the day of her husband’s arrest, Elisabeth Wieduwilt was utterly destitute because she received no assistance at all. The neighbors avoided her. Her repeated pleas for clemency were left unanswered. In the face of hidden threats by the Gestapo, she decided to resume her premarital name, Mertel.

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

Stand: April 2018
© Ingo Wille

Quellen: StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 40574; AB Alto­na; Auskunft des Landesarchivs Ber­lin, 3.1.1012; Auskunft der Ge­denkstätte für die Opfer der Euthanasie-Morde in Brandenburg und
Dokumentationsstelle Zuchthaus Brandenburg c/o Stiftung Brandenburger Gedenkstätten, 4.5.2012; Auskunft der Stadt Brandenburg an der Havel, 9.1.2012, Sterberegistereintrag von Karl Willi Wieduwilt.

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