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Heinrich Blume * 1919

Kastanienallee 9 (Hamburg-Mitte, St. Pauli)

JG. 1919
ERMORDET 27.2.1943

further stumbling stones in Kastanienallee 9:
Leo Hoffmann

Karl Heinrich "Heiner” Blume, born on 18 June 1919, detained in 1938 and 1940, died on 27 Feb. 1943 in the Neuengamme concentration camp, Wittenberge external camp

Kastanienallee 9 (Kastanienallee 38)

Heinrich Blume was born the child of the unmarried seamstress Katharine Blume in Frankfurt/Main. Apparently, hers was "not the best of reputations” and she "was incapable of bringing up the boy, who had a difficult character to begin with.” Blume’s father was the married window cleaner Heinrich Pfahl.

Until he was four years old, Heinrich Blume grew up with his mother in the "most miserable circumstances.” Afterwards, he was put into various foster homes and six different supervised homes. Blume was placed under the official guardianship of the Youth Welfare Office in Frankfurt/Main. He repeatedly fled from institutions and foster homes, causing the Frankfurt District Court (Amtsgericht) to order correctional education (Fürsorgeerziehung) for him when he was 14 years old. In 1933, he roamed around as a vagrant, being sentenced in Ulm for the first time to a prison term for vagrancy, begging, and providing false identification. After serving his sentence, he was committed to a compulsory training institution, where he was employed as a groom and driver. In 1934, the Kassel District Court (Amtsgericht) sentenced him to seven months in prison for various property offenses and for bearing a false name and for violation of gun laws. Once released, he was forced to work at several farms. In Feb. 1937, he was again committed to an institution.

On 20 Mar. 1938, he left his employer and took to the road to Hamburg, where he stayed overnight at various guesthouses. "He came to Hamburg in order to try from here to get into seafaring. An entirely rash step and evidently arisen from pure thirst for adventure. After all, he must have realized beforehand that he would never get a job here without any identity papers. His modest means were soon used up; for obvious reasons he did not want to and was not able to turn to the authorities for support and accommodation; and thus in the course of searching for lodgings and a livelihood in St. Pauli, he got mixed up with homosexuals,” as the report by the "Investigative Assistance for Criminal Justice” (Ermittlungshilfe für Strafrechtspflege) would subsequently indicate. For until 18 June 1938, he was still under the educational guardianship of the Governor (Oberpräsident) for Nassau in Wiesbaden. "He was passed around and subjected to variety of correctional measures, so that it is small wonder that his character and attitude lacks steadiness and firmness, eventually causing recalcitrance, dishonesty, and a strong desire for freedom to emerge. Intellectually, he seems to have good aptitudes.” Thus the assessment by the "Investigative Assistance for Criminal Justice” (Ermittlungshilfe für Strafrechtspflege) in 1938.

In Apr. 1938, Heinrich Blume was caught in the meshes of police and the justice system for the first time because of homosexual acts. The report by the 24th Office of the Criminal Investigation Department on combating homosexuality read, "Investigations revealed that a young man, migrated from Frankfurt/Main, has been living here without being registered and has supposedly been earning his livelihood by engaging in unnatural prostitution. The young man reportedly stays with his johns at lodging houses on Finkenstraße in Altona. He looks for his acquaintances at the Minulla and Monte Carlo gambling halls, places known to be gay bars. Late at night on 13 Apr. 1938, this young man was located and arrested on the Reeperbahn.” One of the sexual partners whose identity police established was the steward Willi Willmer (born on 19 May 1900 in Wandsbek, died on 23 Mar. 1943 in the Neuengamme concentration camp), previously convicted for similar offenses. For him, the new proceedings because of his relationship with Heinrich Blume meant the death sentence. At Brauhausstraße 32 (formerly Holstenstraße 34) in Wandsbek, a Stolperstein commemorates his fate.

From 14 to 22 Apr. 1938, Blume was detained at the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. In contrast to many other comparable defendants facing the police and the justice system because of their activities as young male prostitutes, in the case of Heinrich Blume the investigating officer displayed a certain degree of sympathy for his situation: "Blume, a tall, strapping, and powerfully built person, is not homosexual by nature. In his case, it is an income-related crime out of necessity because he did not see any other way. … Obviously, an unfavorable hereditary disposition, senseless and frequent changes of educators, surroundings, and impressions, as well as fundamental and aimless correctional measures … at a young age have spoiled his character, as a result of which one cannot expect much good for his future.”

Regional Court Director (Landgerichtsdirektor) Adolph Gernet, the presiding judge at the trial before the Hamburg Regional Court on 10 Oct. 1938, essentially followed the assessment of the criminal investigation department, sentencing Heinrich Blume to four months in prison pursuant to Sec. 175 of the Reich Criminal Code (Reichsstrafgesetzbuch – RStGB) and not for "prostitution” pursuant to Sec. 175a Item 4 of the RStGB. An excerpt from the verdict read: "The first criminal offense at Thomsen’s guesthouse was merely an opportunistic offense that Blume got into without any intention of obtaining for himself more than only a temporary source of income by receiving 2 RM (reichsmark). The second criminal offense, committed on the grounds on the other side of the Elbe River, was an opportunistic offense as well. In this instance, too, it is not possible to furnish conclusive evidence against Blume that he had the intention of obtaining for himself more than only a temporary source of income.” The sentence was considered served because of the pretrial detention suffered. From then on, the underage Heinrich Blume was a previously convicted "175er,” which meant little chance of a regular civilian life.

Once released from prison, Blume was unemployed. In order to ease his hardship and get his hands on money, he broke open the coin boxes of three payphones. He was caught and punished with nine months in prison. The release from prison took place on 1 Aug. 1938. Due to his previous convictions, he was unable to find regular employment. When police caught him sleeping in a stolen car, he claimed a former fellow inmate had given it to him. Heinrich Blume was in prison again from 18 Sept. 1939 to 19 Feb. 1940. After his release, he was subject to "systematic police surveillance.” Until 31 Mar. 1940, he worked as a yardman at a lumberyard in Wilhelmsburg. He gave up this work because of suppurative osteomyelitis of the jaws.

Since he had not reported to police, a search warrant was issued for him. Crime investigation staff on standby duty (Kriminalbereitschaftsdienst) arrested him on 14 Apr. 1940. That same evening, the proprietor of Hotel Seefahrt called police to denounce Blume and his companion. Due to risk of suppression of evidence, Blume was detained at the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp from 17 to 26 Apr. 1940. On 22 Aug. 1940, he had to appear before the Hamburg Regional Court (Landgericht) on charges of "prostitution” in two instances pursuant to Sec. 175a item 4 of the Reich Criminal Code (Reichsstrafgesetzbuch – RStGB). An excerpt from the verdict reads: "He is accused of being a young male prostitute on a commercial basis. In the course of proceedings in 1938 … this question had already been considered, though it could not be decided with certainty against the defendant. In the cases under review here, the facts are that the defendant was, as he admits himself, destitute at the time of the offenses. Consequently, there is strong suspicion that he got involved with Boisen and Junge only in order to obtain food, drink, and a visit to the movies, as well as a place to stay in the hotel. … It is imperative that the defendant be made aware by penalties of the fact that he must give up the track on which he has maneuvered himself, lest he become a habitual criminal and end up in preventive detention. One year each [for each offense] is the required penalty.” Overall, the court sentenced him to an 18-month prison term pursuant to Sec. 175 RStGB. Thus, the court decided on the lighter sentence.

In Sept. 1940, Heinrich Blume already appeared once more as a defendant before the Hamburg District Court (Amtsgericht), which sentenced him to six months in prison for theft. Together with the previous penalty, the court handed down an overall sentence of one year and eleven months in prison. From 26 Sept. 1940 until his transfer to the Hamburg criminal investigation department (Kriminalpolizei), Blume served the prison term in the Wolfenbüttel penitentiary. Back in Hamburg, he was detained in the Hütten police prison and transported to the Neuengamme concentration camp in Sept. 1942, where he was assigned prisoner number 9,835. On 27 Feb. 1943, Heinrich Blume was murdered at the age of 23 in the Wittenberge external camp of the Neuengamme concentration camp.

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

© Bernhard Rosenkranz (†)/Ulf Bollmann

Quellen: StaH 213-8 Staatsanwaltschaft Oberlandesgericht – Verwaltung, Abl. 2, 451 a E 1, 1 b und 1 e; StaH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen, 9682/38 und 4593/40; StaH 242-1 II Gefängnisverwaltung II, Abl. 16.

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