Search for Names, Places and Biographies
Already layed Stumbling Stones
Ernst Frehe * 1906
Großmoordamm / Ecke Hörstener Straße (Harburg, Harburg)
Ernst Frehe, born 17.12.1906 in Harburg, admitted on 11.11.1941 to the Langenhorn sanatorium and nursing home, 'transferred' on 9.6.1943 to the Weilmünster sanatorium and nursing home, 'transferred' on 22.4.1944 to the Hadamar state sanatorium, murdered on 8 May 1944.
Großmoordamm/corner of Hörstener Straße (formerly Moordamm 14) Harburg
Ernst Frehe was born in Harburg on December 17, 1906 and grew up in Harburg with 5 siblings. After finishing school, he worked in several Harburg companies as an unskilled laborer, acquiring skills in blacksmithing and welding.
On July 20, 1929, he married Gertrud Ott, a native of East Prussia, and their daughter Christa was born in 1933.
For 18 years, Ernst Frehe worked as a welder at Oelwerke Schindler in Neuhof. His work consisted of performing welding work inside the oil boilers, which had a diameter of about 3 meters. In February 1939, he was admitted to the Eppendorf University Hospital with health problems. The doctors suspected that the physical complaints, which urgently required inpatient treatment, as well as the psychological instability, were consequences of the working conditions.
On March 15, 1940, Ernst Frehe was drafted into the military; he was stationed first in the Stade air base company, then in Diepholz. On August 2, 1940, he was discharged from military service again because his former employer, a company important to the war effort, had requested him as a laborer. However, he was discharged again by the Schindler company, worked for a short time in other companies and was a soldier again from August 12, 1941, now stationed at Luftgaukommando XI in Hamburg-Blankenese.
He did not return to the barracks from an evening leave with his family. Soldiers picked him up on November 4, 1941 and took him to Reserve Hospital XI, and the next day he was admitted to the Nerves Department of Reserve Hospital V in Wandsbek. The doctors asked the military superiors for a certificate of good conduct on Ernst Frehe. His performance was described as impeccable and good, his nature as reserved.
On November 11, 1941, he was admitted to the Langenhorn Sanatorium and Nursing Home. He was accommodated in house 14, where he received regular visits from his wife and other family members. After some time he was transferred to house 19, in this ward visits were not allowed. The family doubted the patient's insanity. Rather, the wife suspected that her husband's strictly religious views and statements against the war had led to his admission to the sanatorium and nursing home.
On March 20, 1942, he was discharged from active military service on April 10, 1942, due to incapacity. The medical opinion was "fit for discharge, medical treatment required." The district court of Harburg informed the institution that a guardian had been appointed for the patient. On October 15, 1942, the Hereditary Health Court in Hamburg announced the decision that the patient "is to be made infertile”. The operation was performed, against the patient's will, on December 10, 1942.
In a letter dated June 2, 1943, the wife asked the doctors to subject her husband to "a thorough examination for the purpose of parole from the front". This attempt was unsuccessful, Ernst Frehe was 'transferred' to Weilmünster on June 8, 1943, and a few months later, on April 22, 1944, to the Hadamar killing center.
Between January 1941 and March 1945, approximately 14,500 people with disabilities or mental illness were murdered at the Hadamar killing center. Between January and September 1941, about 10,000 patients died in the gas chamber. After the gas chamber was dismantled, the murders were continued by doctors and nurses from August 1942. About 4,500 patients died from lethal injections, failure to treat illnesses, or starvation.
Dated May 6, 1944, the Frehe’s wife was told by telegraph, "Your husband ... seriously ill with high fever. Visitation is permitted." Two days later she also received the death notice by telegraph. Gertrud Frehe, accompanied by her mother-in-law, drove to Hadamar to attend her husband's funeral.
Ernst Frehe died on May 8, 1944, the cause of death given was "mental illness and intestinal flu."
Translation Beate Meyer
Stand: February 2023
© Margrit Rüth
Quellen: Staatsarchiv Hamburg 3528/7 Sign. Abl. 1/1995 Nr. 29145; Einwohnerbuch Harburg-Wilhelmsburg 1938; Hamburger Gedenkbuch Euthanasie. DIE TOTEN 1939-1945 (Jenner/Wunder) S. 189; Gedenkstätte Hadamar: Schriftliche Auskunft am 27.7.2020.