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Herbert Kurt Friede * 1902

Eppendorfer Landstraße 6 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)

KZ Fuhlsbüttel
ermordet am 5.12.1938 KZ Fuhlsbüttel

Herbert Kurt Friede, born 20 Mar. 1902 in Hamburg, died 5 Dec. 1938 in the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp

Eppendorfer Landstraße 6

In September and October 1920, the 18-year-old Herbert Friede was in the Langenhorn State Hospital, on judge’s orders, "for observation of his psychological condition.” At this time he was in business school, and was causing his parents quite a bit of concern. He had repeatedly stolen money from them, and also stolen things from their landlady which he then sold. He falsified documents, embezzled money, and stole again and again. During his stay in Langenhorn he refused to follow the rules and provoked fellow patients and staff. His hospital record states: "Friede is notorious for his mendacity. … He seems to have a pathological desire to make himself as unpopular as possible [among his fellow patients].”

We do not know why Herbert Friede was such a difficult young man. His father, Dr. Hugo Friede, was a lawyer, born in Helmstedt in 1860. His mother Margarethe, née Marcuse, was Hugo Friede’s second wife and 15 years younger than her husband. Hugo had one son, Edgar (*1892), from his first marriage. Herbert’s sister Gerda was four years younger his junior. According to his own statement, Herbert couldn’t stand Edgar, but "was lovingly attached to his mother,” as the hospital record states.

The record contains some details about Herbert’s childhood. At four weeks, he became severely ill. "It was something of a miracle,” his parents said, that an aunt was able to nurse him back to health. After his recovery he "developed well.” He attended the Thomsen pre-school, and was accepted to the tradition-rich Wilhelm Gymanasium in the sixth grade. His tuberculosis flared up again, and he had to spend some time in a sanatorium in Wyk on the island of Föhr. When he was not promoted to the higher classes for the second time, he was taken out of the gymnasium and sent to the Wahnschaffsche secondary school. He was often caught cheating on his classwork and used forged excuses to get out of school. He said himself that he would liked to have learned a profession, but his father had different plans for him. He took him out of school and he was tutored at home. He probably hoped that his son would attend college.

At that time Edgar had already finished law school and would eventually become a lawyer. Herbert complained about his father to the assessor, saying that he had kept him at home for two years, without "doing anything.” Hugo Friede, according to his son, must have been a strict and class-conscious man. He surely only wanted the best for his son, but was at his wit’s end with his son’s escapades.

After his stay at the hospital, Herbert was put into investigative custody for a few weeks. It is not known whether he was sentenced for his crimes. His private life also was cause for concern. At 17, he had met a girl, Paula, who was two years older than himself, and with whom he "ran around.” Sometimes he didn’t come home for days. His father called her a "harlot.” He told the administration at Langenhorn that the vice squad supposedly had a file on her. In 1920, she and Herbert had a son – certainly a scandal for Herbert’s family. Two-and-a-half years later a second son was born. Herbert and Paula married at some point, but the exact date is not known. According to church tax records, the children were christened as Protestants, like their mother. Did the family have a normal life? In the 1933 Address Book, Herbert is listed as a businessman at the address Abendrothsweg 38.

Herbert’s parents and his sister Gerda withdrew from the Jewish Community in 1924. The church tax record has the entry "moved away.” Nothing is known about the rest of their lives.

Herbert’s half-brother Edgar opened a law office with his uncle Max Friede in 1924. Both of them were arrested in 1938 in the wake of the November Pogrom, and Edgar was sent to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Since he had already made plans to emigrate, he was able to flee the country as soon as he was released. Max Friede died of the long-term effects of his imprisonment.

On 16 November 1938, Edgar and his non-Jewish wife – they had no children – fled to Holland and there boarded a ship for Batavia in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), where friends of Edgar were waiting for them. The authorities there denied them entry, however, so they returned on the same ship to England. From there they moved to the US, where Edgar worked as a travelling salesman, an elevator operator, and a dock worker. He suffered from the effects of his imprisonment in the concentration camp for the rest of his life, as he told the Restitution Authority after the war. Edgar died in 1984 in California, aged 92.

Herbert Freide’s eldest son said in the 1950s of his father’s working situation, "I only remember that my father had learned some kind of business work. As far as I remember, after 1933 he worked in different offices, always with long breaks in between jobs. He also worked for a time selling newspapers at a kiosk.”

By September 1936, Herbert’s financial situation had deteriorated to the point that he sought re-admittance to the Jewish Community "so that he could receive subsidies,” as is noted in his church tax record. The note continues: "In consideration of the fact that his wife and children are not Jewish and that he should spare them any difficulties, I recommended that he withdraw his application for re-admittance to the Community, and to come back when his financial situation had improved.” We do not know if Herbert requested financial aid at a later time or not.

In 1937 and 1938 he was "conscripted to forced labor in a Jewish detail in Waltershof,” according to a fellow conscriptee. This was probably forced labor for unemployed welfare recipients. It is unknown what kind of labor it was. The last two years of his life are puzzling. At some point the remark "separated” was added to his wife’s name in the church tax records. Had the couple separated under the pressure of the Nazi laws or was their marriage simply over? When did Herbert move to Eppendorfer Landstraße, and did he live there alone or with his family? Why was he sent to the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp?

He was arrested at the latest in October 1936. On 5 December 1938 he was found dead in his cell at the Fuhlsbüttel prison. The death certificate states "suicide by hanging” as the cause of death. It cannot be determined if he was murdered or driven to suicide. One year later, on 6 December 1939, Herbert Friede’s wife died. His sons, as "first-degree half-breeds,” were allowed to serve in the Wehrmacht. The younger son was killed in 1942 near Leningrad.

Translator: Amy Lee

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Sabine Brunotte

Quellen: 1; 2; 4; StaH 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn, Abl. 2/1995; StaH 351-11 AfW, Abl. 2008/01 130120 Friede, Rolf; StaH 351-11 AfW, 14506 Friede Edgar; StaH 314-15 OFP, F 608; AB 1933; Morisse, Jüdische Rechtsanwälte, 2003, S.52 f, S. 129.
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