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Herbert Thörl * 1889

Eißendorfer Pferdeweg 12 (Harburg, Heimfeld)

JG. 1889

further stumbling stones in Eißendorfer Pferdeweg 12:
Peter Harms, Uwe Anton Hinsch, Ewald Kuhlmann, Alfred Rahnert, Walter Carl Stein

Dr. Herbert Thörl, born 17 Mar. 1889 in Harburg, died 4 June 1945 as a result of imprisonment

Heimfeld District, Eißendorfer Pferdeweg 12

The chemist and entrepreneur Herbert Thörl was a son of the factory director Friedrich Thörl, born on 10 Apr. 1857 in Harburg, and his wife Julie, née Liebermann, born on 29 Jan. 1862 in Doal (Great Britain). At the time of Herbert Thörl’s birth, the family lived at Schloßstraße 46.

Herbert Thörl married Ilse Behne, born on 17 Aug. 1897 in Delmenhorst, who became a housewife. She had three daughters: Anneliese, born on 1 May 1922 in Harburg, Helga, born on 29 July 1924 in Harburg, and Rosemarie, born on 9 Apr. 1928 in Harburg-Wilhelmsburg. The family lived for a while in a villa at Eißendorfer Pferdeweg 12.

Herbert Thörl attended high school in Harburg at (today’s) Alten Postweg. He then studied chemistry, finishing with his doctoral exam. On 30 Oct. 1922 he and his brother Erich founded the company Dr. H. & E. Thörl. It was a grain roasting plant, a partnership with its headquarters in Hamburg. In 1924 the company acquired a margarine factory. Herbert Thörl also became an individually liable shareholder in the company Nielsen & Wüstner in 1939. In 1929 he moved to Blumenstraße 31 in Hamburg-Winterhude.

Later the city became owner of his house on Eißendorfer Pferdeweg. The building was used to house the district school of the NSDAP, and the District Head of East Hanover, Otto Telschow, temporarily took up residence there. Until it joined Hamburg in 1938, Harburg belonged to East Hanover District, its seat first in Buchholz, then in Harburg-Wilhelmsburg.

Herbert Thörl joined his local chapter of the Stahlhelm (Steel Helmut) in Winderhude prior to 1933 and became a leading member. His political orientation was most likely German national. However he was strictly opposed to the antisemitic politics of the NSDAP and vehemently proclaimed his Christian beliefs. He was arrested the first time in June 1935 – the reasons for his arrest and length of his detainment are not known. He later formed a dissident group to fight the NSDAP, a network that extended beyond Hamburg.

After the outbreak of war in 1939, listening to foreigner radio broadcasters was banned. Those caught listening to them, especially "enemy stations” like the BBC and Radio Moscow, and telling others about the broadcasts could be put to death as punishment for "aiding the enemy” or "radio crimes”.

Towards the end of the war, Herbert Thörl and two of his daughters were caught in the clutches of the Gestapo due to the radio regulations. He had been reported to the police and taken into detention on 28 Mar. 1945 at Fuhlsbüttel Gestapo Prison for "subversive statements" and listening to "enemy broadcasters". Moreover, the Gestapo accused him of forming a "unit to eliminate the old soldiers in Winterhude", which obviously referred to his circle of dissidents.

They arrested his daughters Anneliese and Helga on 4 Apr. and also took them to the prison in Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel. Anneliese Thörl was released from there to go home on 12 Apr. Helga Thörl had already been detained in Fuhlsbüttel in Dec. 1942. She allegedly had publically expressed sentiments in support of England. Herbert and Helga Thörl were then taken on 13 Apr. 1945 to the Gestapo’s "work education camp” Nordmark in the Kiel city district Russee. That camp was known to the public and hated. People in Kiel joked to insubordinate workers: "You’ll land in Russee." Helga Thörl reported having been beaten during her detainment and contracted a heart and kidney condition.

Both of them were released from Kiel-Russee on 30 Apr. After the end of the war, Herbert Thörl came down with pneumonia and died at Hamburg-Eppendorf Hospital on 4 June. The causal relationship between his detainment and his death was confirmed in a letter from the university hospital in Eppendorf dated 15 June 1945.

The informer by the name of Gerhard Lindner had reported another resident in Thörl’s building to police for owning a weapon. After the war ended, he went to Augsburg and was wanted by the National Committee of the Politically Persecuted in Bavaria. Nothing is known about the outcome.

The street Herbert-Thörl-Weg (Langenbeker Feld) was named after Herbert Thörl in 1988.

Translator: Suzanne von Engelhardt
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: March 2019
© Hans-Joachim Meyer

Quellen: StaH, 332-8 Meldewesen, A44; StaH, 351-11, AfW, Herbert Thörl; StaH, Adressbücher Harburg-Wilhelmsburg und Hamburg; VVN, VVN, Komitee-Akten; Heyl/Maronde-Heyl, Abschlussbericht; Totenliste VAN.

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