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Hermann Boje * 1891
Schedestraße 13 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)
Herman Carl August Boje, born on 4 Dec. 1891 in Göttingen, admitted on 30 Nov. 1932 to the Langenhorn State Hospital (Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn), transferred on 18 Sept. 1939 to the former Alsterdorf Asylum (Alsterdorfer Anstalten; today Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf), "transferred” on 7 Aug. 1943 to the "Eichberg state sanatorium” ("Landesheilanstalt Eichberg”) in the Rheingau, "transferred further” on 12 Oct. 1943 to the "Hadamar state sanatorium” ("Landesheilanstalt Hadamar”), murdered on 29 Oct. 1943
Hermann Boje was born on 4 Dec. 1891 at Burgstrasse 13 in Göttingen. His parents, the toolmaker and metalworker Heinrich Hermann Boje, (born in 1870) and Dorette Luise (Louise), née Schrader, (born in 1866), had married on 6 Sept. 1891. Hermann Boje had two younger siblings who were also born in Göttingen.
Hermann Boje’s biography and the summary of the "Friedrich-Langenhorn-Plan” included in it were taken with consent by the author Michael Wunder from the volume Auf dieser schiefen Ebene gibt es kein Halten mehr (literally, "On this slippery slope, there is no holding on anymore”):
"I was baptized a Lutheran and attended elementary school for eight years up to the last grade,” Hermann Boje begins his curriculum vitae, which he writes down for the psychiatrists in Eilbektal on 11 Nov. 1937.
"After leaving school, I entered a four-year apprenticeship as a toolmaker’s apprentice at Metallwarenfabrik H. B. Göttingen [a metal goods company] and remained with the aforementioned company for another year as a journeyman. In order to further my education, I worked for various companies and then moved to Hamburg in 1912, where I worked in various companies in my field in order to acquire further skills. In 1915, I was called up for military service as an engineer and took part in the battles outside Verdun in Mortar Company 243, but I was then wounded in Russia (Ukraine) by a shot in the lower right leg in 1916 and suffered a leg shortening by 60 millimeters [about 2.5 in].”
Hermann Boje further describes in his curriculum vitae how he was discharged after 1916 with a military pension, but then started working again as an operating technician in a drawing office of a Hamburg shipyard. Later he became a toolmaker again. In 1918, he married, and in 1923, he became the father of a son. For three years, he ran a small metal goods factory together with his brother-in-law and brother, which went bankrupt during the inflationary period. After that, he worked again as a toolmaker, but became unemployed in 1931.
His curriculum vitae ends with the following sentences: "Furthermore, I would like to mention that during the War, I was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class as well as the Wound Badge and later the Cross of Honor by the Reich of Adolf Hitler. Unfortunately, due to my ailment, it was not yet possible for me to find a suitable easier means to earn a living, which, however, I hope I will still be able to carry out.”
In 1936, Hermann Boje was admitted to Eppendorf University Clinic for the first time, after having been treated by a neurologist for years. The doctors at Eppendorf describe his history thus: "When he could not find work, a kind of bitterness had settled in him. Gradually, he became depressed and worried about his future. He did his odd jobs with feverish intensity. However, since he could not cope with the situation, he became more and more confused.”
The doctors at Eppendorf were trying hard. They also questioned the wife. She said that her husband no longer felt complete since he could no longer do any regular work. The Eppendorf doctors discharged Hermann Boje. A year later, he was admitted to the former "Friedrichsberg State Lunatic Asylum” ("Staats-Irrenanstalt Friederichsberg”) which was subsequently disbanded as part of the Friedrichsberg-Langenhorn Plan.
In 1935 and 1936, the Alsterdorf Asylum had to take on a total of 389 patients from Friedrichsberg as part of the "Friedrichsberg-Langenhorn Plan,” which would wind up the "Friedrichsberg State Lunatic Asylum” (later "Eilbektal Psychiatric and Mental Hospital” ["Psychiatrische und Nervenklinik Eilbektal”],” after 1945 "Eilbek General Hospital”). The patients were distributed among the other existing hospitals and asylums according to a graduated plan prepared by the social welfare authorities: The cases deemed interesting for research were sent to Prof. Hans Bürger-Prinz (1897–1976) at the newly created university psychiatric department; the inconspicuous cases still able to work to the Farmsen care home (Versorgungsheim Farmsen), which had just been expanded at the time; the supposedly hopeless, mentally ill people to the "Langenhorn State Hospital,” and the "feeble-minded” cases still able to work to the Alsterdorf Asylum.
Hermann Boje had severe anxiety and was constantly restless. Two months later, in Nov. 1937, he was transferred to Langenhorn on a collective transport with the diagnosis of "weak, insecure, deviant character.” There he was listed under the diagnosis of "schizophrenia.”
Within the next two years, his condition worsened. He became entangled in delusions, and he withdrew to his inner self. The doctors judged as follows: "Completely inactive, sub-stuporous” (i.e., in a state just before mental and physical torpor).
With this diagnosis, Hermann Boje no longer fit in at Langenhorn either. A few days before the start of the war, he was transferred to Alsterdorf on 28 Aug. 1939, along with 30 other male patients from Langenhorn, almost all of whom the doctors refer to in the files as "expired cases.” "Unhealed,” as noted in the Langenhorn file. The "Langenhorners,” as they were called in the language of the institution in Alsterdorf, were not very popular there. One could do little with them. Kreyenberg [the physician in Alsterdorf] noted in the file, "Sits on a chair all day and holds his head with both hands. He does not take the slightest interest in his surroundings, nor does he speak. Only a few days ago, he thought he could be discharged [...] He is not useful for any activity. With some supervision, he keeps himself clean, food intake is good.”
Hermann Boje was transferred from ward to ward. On 15 Oct. 1940, the Alsterdorf Asylum filled out the registration form for the "T 4 headquarters” in Berlin. In Feb. 1941, this registration form was sent to Berlin. Due to the suspension of "Operation T4” ("Aktion T4”), there was no longer an evaluation by the evaluators in Berlin. Hermann Boje remained in the Alsterdorf Asylum.
In Mar. 1943, Kreyenberg noted in the file, "He does not occupy himself in any way. Lives for himself and takes no interest in his surroundings. [...] One usually sees him with both hands covering his face, sitting on a seat.” On 7 Aug. 1943, Hermann Boje was selected for deportation to Eichberg. He arrived there on 8 August. He was transferred by the prison physician Dr. Walter Schmidt to the ward for "men’s observation” ("Männerbeobachtung”).
Schmidt came to the ward daily and segregated those men whom he then killed by injections in the killing room. Hermann Boje escaped this selection during the first weeks. On 12 Oct. 1943, however, he was selected for a collective transport to the nearby Hadamar institution. Fourteen days later, he was dead. The last entry of the "Hadamar state sanatorium and house of correction” in Nassau ("Landesheil- und Erziehungsanstalt Hadamar/Nassau”) read, ”28 Oct. 1943 – fell ill with intestinal influenza accompanied by fever. Cardiac insufficiency. 29 Oct. 1943 – did not recover. Today exitus due to intestinal influenza.”
What Hermann Boje went through in the last weeks of his life is described by no report, no record entry. There is only this falsified cause of death.
Months later, on 27 Jan. 1944, the Hadamar institution notified his wife:
"Dear Mrs. Boje! Mr. Hermann Boje was transferred from the Eichberg State Sanatorium to the local institution on 12 Oct. 1943. We can only inform you of the transfer today, as we have only now received the relevant files from the Alsterdorf Asylum. Unfortunately, we have to inform you that Mr. Boje died in the local institution on 29 Oct. 1943. He was buried quietly in our institutional cemetery, grave no. 366. We ask you to transfer a one-time payment of 50 RM to us for the permanent care of the gravesite. At the same time, we ask you to inform us whether you know when and where the wedding of Mr. B. had taken place [...] We thank you in advance for your information in this regard. The senior physician.”
The Stolperstein was erroneously laid on Bartelstrasse; relocation to Schedestrasse is being planned.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: May 2021
© Michael Wunder
Quellen: StaH 332-5_11431 Nr. 95/1920; StaH 332-5_8721 Nr. 254/1917; StaH 332-5_8727 Nr. 382/1918; Archiv Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf, Sonderakte V 112 Hermann Boje; Michael Wunder, Ingrid Genkel, Harald Jenner: Auf dieser schiefen Ebene gibt es kein Halten mehr – Die Alsterdorfer Anstalten im Nationalsozialismus, 3. Auflage, Stuttgart 2016, S. 20 ff. und S. 168 ff.