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Leo Hoffmann * 1908

Kastanienallee 9 (Hamburg-Mitte, St. Pauli)

JG. 1908
ERMORDET 18.6.1942

further stumbling stones in Kastanienallee 9:
Heinrich Blume

Leo Josef Hoffmann, born on 12 Jan. 1908, detained in 1937, 1939, and 1941, died at the Bernburg euthanasia killing center in June 1942

Kastanienallee 9 (Kastanienallee 36)

Leo Hoffmann was born as the son of the plant supervisor Franz Hoffmann in Niederotterbach, District of Bergzabern (Palatinate) in 1908. He grew up in Ludwigshafen, where he quit two apprenticeships after completing his schooling. Following this, he entered a monastery for two years, where he was molested by a superior. Afterward, he took to the road, earning his livelihood as a farm hand, artiste, and locksmith’s assistant. In 1936, he stood trial for a property offense.

In 1937, two convictions by the Altona District Court (Amtsgericht) and the Hamburg Regional Court (Landgericht) followed for offenses pursuant to Sec. 175 [concerning homosexuality] of the Reich Criminal Code (Reichsstrafgesetzbuch – RStGB). The two penalties were combined to add up to an overall sentence of 21 months in prison.

In 1939, a young male prostitute named Leo Hoffmann to police as a john. Consequently, he was arrested and placed in police custody on 29 Sept. 1939. From 1 to 9 Oct. 1939, he was in police "protective custody” ("Schutzhaft”) in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. In 1940, he was penalized by the Hamburg Regional Court with two years in prison. What had happened? The 30-year-old Hoffmann had met the 17-year-old male prostitute Günter H. at the Minulla gambling hall on Hamburg’s Reeperbahn.

The fact that had a negative impact on the length of the sentence was that sexual acts between Leo Hoffmann and Günter H. had transpired in the presence of a third party – a friend of H. A passage from the verdict reads as follows:

"The court has no reservations ascertaining that [the person present] too is a human being who at least is not far removed from things homosexual. Otherwise, he would not have calmly watched this type of conduct. For the accused, too, carrying out mutual masturbation in the presence of a third person constituted particular shamelessness. Obviously, the accused is a person morally sunk so low already that only a harsh penalty can make him aware that he is well on his way to land in preventive detention. In the case at hand, the court deemed preventive detention not necessary yet because the court believes that the accused may be put back on the straight and narrow through a harsh sentence.”

Leo Hoffmann served his sentence in the Wolfenbüttel penitentiary as well as in the Emsland camps V Neusustrum and in the Rollwald prison camp (near Rodgau) in Upper Hessen. After being released on 3 Oct. 1941, he was transferred to the Hamburg Criminal Investigation Department. Back in the Hanseatic city, he was taken to the Hütten police prison.

From there, he was committed to the Neuengamme concentration camp (date of committal and prisoner number are unknown). After an interruption of detention in the Neuengamme camp from 6 to 12 Nov. 1941 spent in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp, he was returned to the Neuengamme concentration camp and transferred from there to the euthanasia killing center in Bernburg. There Leo Hoffmann was murdered using poison gas in June 1942.

Translator: Erwin Fink

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: October 2016
© Bernhard Rosenkranz/Ulf Bollmann

Quellen: StAH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen, 320/40; StaH 242-1 II Gefängnisverwaltung II, Abl. 13 und 16; 331-1 II Polizeibehörde II, Abl. 15, Band 1. Quelle: Abbildung Stolperstein: Thomas Seelig

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