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Gustav Remi * 1905
August-Krogmann-Straße 100 (Versorgungsheim Farmsen) (Wandsbek, Farmsen-Berne)
Gustav Hermann Remi, born on 4 June 1905 in Hamburg, imprisoned from 1936 to 1938 and from 1940 to 1942, died on 11 Mar. 1943 in the Neuengamme concentration camp
Gustav Remi, also called "Guschi,” was born in Hamburg in 1905 as the son of Julius and Maria Remi, née Held. He had at least two other siblings. Dropping out of the eight-grade elementary school (Volksschule) prematurely, he subsequently worked in an industrial plant, before joining a variety show, where he performed on stage as a humorist for four years. Due to pulmonary tuberculosis, he was unable to continue practicing his occupation. After recuperating, he made ends meet as an assistant waiter. Between 1923 and 1932, Remi was sentenced several times for theft, homelessness, and fraud.
In the police interrogations, Remi indicated having bisexual tendencies and having been involved with male prostitutes from time to time. Later, he spoke very openly about his homosexual predisposition. Remi stated, "Based on my own bent, I also often wore women’s clothes in the past because I felt particularly comfortable in women’s clothes. In this attire, I went to dances and such. I did not use these garments toward any indecent ends.” It appears that due to wearing women’s clothes, Remi was detained in a concentration camp for nine weeks in 1933.
At least until 1934, Remi worked as a male prostitute. From July until Sept. 1935, he was accommodated "voluntarily” in the Farmsen care home (Versorgungsheim Farmsen). In fact, persons classified as "work-shy” ("arbeitsscheu") were committed to these homes by means of various levers. In the Farmsen care home, Remi had sex with different men and met his boyfriend Otto Giering. A fellow inmate reported Remi for "unnatural sexual offenses” ("widernatürliche Unzucht”) at the end of Jan. 1936. On 16 Feb. 1936, he was arrested and taken into pretrial detention two days later. In July 1936, the Hamburg District Court (Amtsgericht) sentenced him to one year and nine months in prison for "continued sexual offenses between men” in accordance with Sec. 175 of the Reich Criminal Code (Reichsstrafgesetzbuch – RStGB), without the period of pretrial detention calculated against his prison sentence. An appeal was dismissed by the Regional Court (Landgericht) in October of that year. He served his sentence initially in the Fuhlsbüttel men’s prison and from Dec. 1936 onward in Wolfenbüttel. Otto Giering was also sentenced to one year and nine months in prison.
At the end of May 1940, Gustav Remi once again attracted the attention of investigators. An imprisoned male prostitute recognized him in a photograph card file as a former sex partner. By this time, Remi was no longer a free man. He was in pretrial detention in Altona, scheduled for indictment because of his "pimping relationship to a female prostitute.” In July 1940, he was transferred from the prison in Altona to the Fuhlsbüttel men’s prison.
In Aug. 1940, the Hamburg District Court sentenced him, initially only in accordance with Sec. 175, to one year in prison, but then, in Oct. 1940, to a total of one year and five months in a verdict combining the original sentence with an additional penalty for pimping. He served his prison term in the Hahnöfersand and Glasmoor prisons.
Following his release on 30 Oct. 1941, Gustav Remi was handed over to police, being detained in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp from 6 to 13 Nov. 1941, and then initially remaining in the pretrial detention center on Holstenglacis until 10 Apr. 1942. After being transferred to the Hamburg Criminal Investigation Department once more, in May 1942 he was committed to "preventive detention” ("Sicherungsverwahrung”) in the Neuengamme concentration camp, where he had prisoner number 7,076. In the camp, he was considered a "175er” [someone convicted in accordance with Sec. 175 of the German Criminal Code], and possibly he was also used there as a "Kapo,” i.e. as an employee of the prison administration overseeing inmates. Gustav Remi died there on 1 Mar. 1943.
According to the most recent research, Gustav Remi’s last address registered with the police authorities in the years 1940/1941 was in Altona at Kleine Freiheit 20, on the third floor with Hahn. As a reminder of the injustices committed in the Farmsen care home and in memory of the fact that he had met his boyfriend Otto Giering there, a Stolperstein at August-Krogmann-Strasse 100 commemorates his fate. His friend survived the Nazi regime but had to endure "voluntary castration” and years of imprisonment in concentration camps. In 1976, he died in Berlin after a lengthy battle for restitution payments.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: October 2018
© Bernhard Rosenkranz(†)/Ulf Bollmann
Quellen: StaH 213-11 (Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen), A05008/33, 8467/38 und 2758/42; StaH 242-1II (Gefängnisverwaltung II), Ablieferungen 13, 16 und 1998/1; StaH 331-1II ( Polizeibehörde II), Ablieferung 15, Band 1; Andreas Pretzel, NS-Opfer unter Vorbehalt, Münster 2002, S. 266ff.; Bernhard Rosenkranz/Ulf Bollmann/Gottfried Lorenz, Homosexuellen-Verfolgung in Hamburg 1919–1969, Hamburg 2009, S. 249.