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Wilhelm Buch * 1883
Amandastraße 35 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)
IM WIDERSTAND / KPD
SEIT 1933 MEHRMALS
VERHAFTET / INHAFTIERT
Wilhelm Heinrich Friedrich Buch, 31 July 1883, arrested several times for his part in German communist resistance 1933-1934, 1939, 1941-1942, incarcerated in Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp, transferred to Neuengamme concentration camp, murdered 24 March 1943
Amandastraße 35, Eimsbüttel
Wilhelm Heinrich Friedrich Buch was born in Gaarden near Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein on 31 July 1883. He was the fourth child of Joachim Friedrich Wilhelm Buch (born 1848) and Anna Maria Buch, nee Bielenberg (born 4 October 1850). He had one sister, Wilhelmine (born 21 October 1885) and three brothers, Ernst Heinrich Friedrich (born 10 September 1875), Johannes Hermann Rudolph (born 23 January 1877) and Carl August Nis Buch (born 12 March1879).
We have no information about the early years of Wilhelm Buch. He was 14 years old when his father died, on 8 May 1898. In 1903 Wilhelm Buch successfully completed his journeyman's examination in shipbuilding at the Imperial Shipyard (Kaiserliche Werft) in Kiel. On 9 December 1905 he married Lina Auguste, nee Wagner (born 14 September 1885), who was also from Gaarden, where her parents, Carl Wagner (agricultural worker) and Henriette Wagner, nee Paul lived.
Wilhelm and Lina Buch had a son, Hermann Rudolf Wilhelm Buch (referred to here as Wilhelm Buch jun(ior)), who was born on 17 June 1906. Like his father, he learned the profession of turner.
Six months later the Buch family moved to Hamburg. In 1908 they lived at Marthastraße 52, Eimsbüttel. In 1909 they moved to Amandastraße 49, in 1911 to Bartelsstraße 58, Sternschanze, and in 1915 to Susannenstraße 35 (ground floor), Sternschanze.
Wilhelm Buch was drafted into the army during the First World War. On 21 September 1917 he began his service as a gunner with the 20th Reserve Foot Artillery Regiment (Reserve-Fussartillerie-Regiment Nr. 20). This reserve regiment belonged to the Lauenburg Foot Artillery Regiment (Lauenburgisches Fussartillerie-Regiment). Its three active battalions were divided into three divisions with a replacement (reserve) battalion. It was in the nature of replacement battalions to stay at home to serve as a "personnel reservoir” for the active battalions. Presumably, Wilhelm Buch was deployed in one of the three divisions and in battles with the reserve regiment, although there is no reliable information to support this.
However, it has been proven that Wilhelm Buch was treated in war hospitals on several occasions: on 20 November 1917, 7 January 1918 for gastric catarrh and tonsillitis, from 1 March until 12 March 1918 for bruising of the toes and from 15 March until 11 May 1918 for bruising of the left foot. He was treated at least once in the Le Chateau war hospital.
According to his son Wilhelm Buch jun., his father worked as a turner in Hamburg before and after the First World War. From 1921 the family lived on the third floor at Amandastraße 35 in Eimsbüttel. Wilhelm Buch passed his driving test in 1928. He joined the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in 1929. He also became a member of the Red Front Fighters' League (RFB) and the German Metal Workers’ Union (DMV).
When the National Socialists seized power in January 1933, the Buch family faced persecution. Wilhelm Buch became a victim of the first state repression measures against communists. Under the "Ordinance for the Protection of the People and the State” ("Verordnung zum Schutz von Volk und Staat”), which came into force on 28 February 1933 after the Reichstag fire, it became possible to arrest undesirable persons and keep them imprisoned indefinitely. Wilhelm Buch was held in "protective custody” at Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp from 26 July 1933 until 12 April 1934. The reason stated was that he was suspected of offering to allow the KDP to use his name as the sender on letters. His wife Lina Auguste Buch, Wilhelm jun. and his future daughter-in-law Nanny Emma Johann Buch, nee Steinhagen, were also arrested.
His wife and future daughter-in-law were released 12 weeks later, his son was imprisoned from July 1933 until May 1934. Wilhelm Buch was first imprisoned, and subsequently remanded in custody from 13 April until 22 June 1934. Upon his release he found work as a turner with the company Kampnagel.
During his imprisonment the Gestapo confiscated two motorcycles: a Triumph worth over 1,000 Reichsmark and a Super-Ex with sidecar.
Wilhelm Buch’s freedom was short-lived. He was arrested again on 7 September 1934, and on 14 November 1934 the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court (Hanseatisches Oberlandesgericht) sentenced him to one year’s imprisonment for preparation for treason. According to his son, Wilhelm had been in possession of a "Maizeitung” (KPD paper published for the First of May). According to the Gestapo, he was sentenced for distributing leaflets. He served his sentence in Lübeck-Lauerhof prison.
On 3 May 1935 Wilhelm Buch and his lawyer, Dr. Walter Klaas, filed an application for clemency. Wilhelm Buch asked that his time spent in "protective custody” be taken into account and, as his wife Lina Auguste Buch was ill, requested early release. Given the relatively small extent of the punishable act, his defence counsel hoped that the remaining sentence would be remitted. However, the prosecutor general rejected the request for clemency because of the alleged dangerousness of the actand further stated that the sentence had already implicitly taken into account the time spent in "protective custody”. The court concurred on 9 May 1935, and Wilhelm Buch was not released until 7 September 1935. At this point in his life he was 52 years old.
His mother Anna Maria Buch died on 25 December 1935 in Kiel. Wilhelm Buch went back to work for Kampnagel, and then moved to Blohm & Voss, where he was dismissed four weeks later at the instigation of the Gestapo. He found new employment at the Stülcken Sohn shipyard, but was dismissed eight weeks later, again at the instigation of the Gestapo.
He subsequently found work as a turner with U.v.d. Osten & Kreisinger, Maschinenfabrik und Eisengießerei, Winterhuder Weg. He remained employed with this company until his third arrest.
On 24 December 1936 his son, Wilhelm Buch jun., married Nanny Emma Johann Buch. Wilhelm Buch senior was the best man. By this point he was already a grandfather, a son having been born to the young Buch couple in 1934, according to a later police interrogation protocol. A second son was born probably in 1944.
In 1936/1937 the family of Wilhelm Buch senior moved to Lindenallee 10, Eimsbüttel (the house number no longer exists).
Wilhelm Buch senior was not called up when the war began. Due to his previous political convictions, he was considered "unfit for military service”.
On 13 November 1941 he was summoned by the Gestapo office K.II A ("Communism and Marxism”) and placed under arrest. He was interrogated several times and remained in police detention in the "Stadthaus” in Hamburg until, on 22 November 1941, he was transferred to the Fuhlsbüttel police prison, formerly known as the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp ("Kolafu”). A court case followed in which he was accused of passing a pistol on to a serious criminal. For this, and for receiving stolen goods (buying around two pounds of butter) he was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment.
Although Wilhelm Buchhad already served this sentence through his time in protective custody, he was transferred to the Neuengamme concentration camp "for re-education”, as he was still considered an opponent of the regime. His wife was informed of this verbally at the Stadthausbrücke Gestapo office when she inquired why her husband had not been released from prison, even though court documents stated that he had served his sentence. (The daughter-in-law recalled that she also expected her husband to be sent to Neuengamme. This was prevented, however, because his employer, Kampnagel, claimed he was an indispensable worker.)
Wilhelm Buch senior and his wife as well as their son’s family lost their apartment furnishings as a result of bomb damage in 1942.
Wilhelm Buch was "released” from the Fuhlsbüttel police prison on 2 July 1942 and on 3 July was taken to the Neuengamme concentration camp, where he was given the inmate number 07675. The prefix to the inmate number ("Pol.”) stood for "political prisoner”, and it is likely that his clothes bore a red triangle. He was 59 years old by this time, and the physically demanding work as turner, his injuries from the First World War and the years of imprisonment had taken their toll.
The daily routine of the Neuengamme inmates was arduous. They worked 10 to 12 hours a day, and the hygiene facilities were completely inadequate. Records at the present-day Neuengamme Memorial provide information to the effect that Wilhelm Buch was treated in the sick bay several times between July and the winter months of 1942. (Obviously, this is not comparable with medical treatment in the usual sense.) The medical care granted by the SS served only to a very limited extent to heal the inmates. Rather, the aim was to maintain the manpower of the prisoners with minimal effort, whereby the death of many inmates was accepted.
An entry in the sick bay book of deaths dated 24 March 1943, the date of Wilhelm Buch’s death, states "cardiac insufficiency” (heart failure) as cause of death. The Neuengamme Memorial commented: "Whether this is true is unclear, as the SS often entered arbitrary reasons for the death of inmates in these documents in order to conceal the actual causes of death such as mistreatment, hunger and death due to exhaustion.”
After his body was cremated at the Neuengamme concentration camp’s own "crematorium”, the urn was buried in the cemetery in Ohlsdorf. The grave location was Plot 6, No.707. (Wilhelm Buch jun. had the urn removed to the cemetery of the protestant church (Evangelische Kirche) in Bergstedt on 15 July 1954. According to the cemetery administration, it is not possible to determine whether the urn is still there.)
In July 1948 Lina Auguste Buch, as survivor of Wilhelm Buch, who died as a victim of National Socialist persecution, received notification from the Labour Authority of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg (Arbeitsbehörde Hansestadt Hamburg) that she would receive a survivor's pension according to the Act on Special Assistance Pensions (Gesetz über Sonderhilfsrenten). Her monthly pension was 140 DM. She died in Hamburg on 5 July1954.
After the end of the Second World War Wilhelm Buch jun. filed a number of claims. Amongst other things, he received from the Regional Insurance Office (Landesversicherungsanstalt) in Hamburg under a settlement agreement compensation for the two confiscated motorcycles. He died on 26 February 1964, followed by his wife Nanny on 5 September 1986, both in Hamburg.
Translation by Tommy McClymont
Stand: August 2022
© Marc Petzoldt/Bärbel Klein
Quellen: StaH, 213-13 Staatsanwaltschaft – Strafsachen 26026 (Wilhelm Buch), 67720 (Wilhelm Scheuermann); 351-11 Amt f. Wiedergutmachung 8254 (Wilhelmine Fabreck), 30988 (Wilhelm Buch), 30991 (Lina Auguste Buch); 332-5 Heiratsregister 8652 Nr. 51/1907 Fabeck/Buch,14688 Nr. 665/1936 Buch/Steinhagen, Sterberegister 431 Nr. 641/1899 Joachim Adolf Friedrich Buch,10721 Nr. 1496/1943 Wilhelm Heinrich Buch; ITS Archives Bad Arolsen Digital Archive 22.214.171.124 , , , 126.96.36.199 , 188.8.131.52 , , (Email vom 6.10.2021); Kremation in Neuengamme, Arbeitsnachweis Kampnagel, DRK, KZ Nachweis schriftliche Unterlagen von der Ernst Thälmann Gedenkstätte 1.11.2021; Nachweis zur Grabstätte Friedhof Ohlsdorf; Bundesarchiv Berlin R 3001/181083 und R 3018/9967 Verurteilung; Archiv der Gedenkstätte Neuengamme: Krankenreviertotenbuch, Laboruntersuchungsbuch, E-Mail vom 13.11.2020 von Johanna Kornell; Unterlagen der VVN, E-Mail vom 14.10.2021, ein Karteiblatt "Unsere Toten", sowie In den Personenakten desselben Komitees fanden sich Akten zu Lina Buch (geb. Wagner), Hermann Rudolf Wilhelm Buch und Nanny Buch (geb. Steinhagen); www.wikipedea.de (Einsicht am 6.10.2021).