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Martin Leuschel
© Arbeiter-Illustrierte

Martin Leuschel * 1905

Herbert-Wehner-Platz (vor Karstadt) (Harburg, Harburg)

Im Widerstand
von SA erschossen 07.02.1933

Martin Leuschel, born 31 Jan. 1905 in Neuwittendorf, shot by a member of the SA on 7 Feb. 1933

Harburg-Altstadt, Herbert-Wehner-Platz (at the entrance to Karstadt)

The metal worker Martin Leuschel had lived in Harburg at the boarding house "Stadt Hannover” at Großer Schippsee 9 since November 1929. The establishment belonged to the former Social Democrat Georg Reus, who had joined the KPD (Communist Party of Germany) in 1932. Across the street at Großer Schippsee 8 was the SPD’s publishing house, where the Free Trade Unions also had their headquarters.

Martin Leuschel had also become a member of the KPD. He was also a member of the metal workers union. He was good friends with the son of the boarding house owner, Hermann Reus. The house was known as a meeting place for workers, where many Social Democrats and Communists gathered.

After the Nazis came to power, torch-lit marches were often organized. This was the case on the evening of 6 February in Hamburg. The SA organization in Harburg also participated (see Karl Karcz). When the marchers returned to Harburg, three of the SA members went to the building on Große Schippsee, where Martin Leuschel and the Social Democrat Karl Karcz were. Shortly before midnight a worker left the building, then returned, covered in blood. The SA men had beaten him up. Everyone at the boarding house ran outside. At about 12:40 there were shots. Martin Leuschel was shot in the stomach and died a few hours later at the hospital. Karl Karcz was badly wounded. He died of his injuries at the hospital on 10 April.

Martin Leuschel was the first victim of a political murder by the Nazis in Harburg-Wilhelmsburg. He was buried three days later, on 10 February. On this day the workers of Harburg came together for a huge demonstration of solidarity. Many factories closed down. Martin Leuschel’s body was laid out in the Wolkenhauer establishment in Eißendorf on Kirchenhang (later Eichenhöhe). At 4:00 p.m. around 20,000 Social Democrats, Communists, and others accompanied the coffin through Harburg to the river, where it was to be transported through Wilhelmsburg to Hamburg, and then to the Ohlsdorf Cemetery. The demonstration was permitted by the authorities as a funeral march. Chants and banners were forbidden, and the KPD was only allowed to carry a limited number of flags.

In an obituary notice, Martin Leuschel’s family wrote: "If this front of solidarity among the workers of Harburg remains constant, then we will have the satisfaction that our Martin’s blood was not shed in vaid.” Unfortunately, this front of solidarity came too late. The Nazi power could no longer be broken. After the Reichstag fire on 27 February 1933, the KPD was banned and Communist and Social Democrat publicatons were prohibited. The SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) was banned on 22 June.

The "Stadt Hannover” survived the war. It was torn down when Harburg city center was restructured. The Harburg Ring now runs along Herbert-Wehner-Platz at the place where it stood.

In 1985 a street in Harburg was named in honor of Martin Leuschel (Martin-Leuschel-Ring, in the Altstadt, a side street off od Wallgraben).

Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: March 2017
© Hans-Joachim Meyer

Quellen: VVN-BdA Harburg (Hrsg.), Die anderen, S. 47ff.; VVN-BdA Harburg (Hrsg.), Stumme Zeugen, s. Per­sonenverzeichnis; Hochmuth/Meyer, Streiflichter, S. 18ff.; StaH, 332-8 Meldewesen, A44; Sta Stade, Rep. 171a 143; Volksblatt vom 12.2.1933; Heyl/Maronde-Heyl, Abschlussbericht; Totenliste VAN.

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