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Bruno Gortatowski * 1892
Eiffestraße 606 (Hamburg-Mitte, Hamm)
gedemütigt / entrechtet
Flucht in den Tod 11.03.1943
Bruno Gortatowski, born on 28 Nov. 1892, date of death 11 Mar. 1943 in Hamburg
"Probably G. was confirmed definitively to be a Jew, or he was imposed the condition of separating from M. … Involvement of another person can be ruled out.” This is the way the detective of the criminal investigation department summed up the reason for Bruno Gortatowski’s death on 11 Mar. 1943.
Bruno Gortatowski was born on 28 Nov. 1892 in Stettin (today Szczecin in Poland). Little is known about his life in Hamburg. As a partner in the Johannes Lüdtke Company, located at Wendenstrassse 435, he earned a good income. He shared his apartment with Vera Adelheid Marcus, a Protestant "Jewess” born in St. Petersburg on 5 Dec. 1893. "The residential quarters were a two-bedroom apartment in immaculate and orderly condition,” the police officer recorded.
His business partner Johannes Lüdtke clarified the situation in which Bruno Gortatowski found himself in these days: "Gortatowski had been declared to be a Jew in Jan. 1943. He had filed an appeal against this decision. The authorities initiated new proceedings and G. was exempted from wearing the Jews’ star until the final decision. On Tuesday, 9 Mar. 1943, G. had to report to the Hamburg police headquarters for the purpose of definitive racial classification. Afterward, he told me that the matter had been trivial and that he would come to the office again on 10 Mar. 1943.” When he did not show up at work on 11 Mar., Johannes Lüdtke went to his apartment, for which he had a key. He found his business partner and his roommate Vera Adelheid Marcus dead, both hanged from a doorpost. Lüdtke stated in evidence to police what he knew about the possible background to the suicide. Bruno Gortatowski’s birth certificate indicated both of his parents to be "Mosaic,” i.e., "Jewish.”
In retrospect, many clues suggest that the act of desperation was premeditated: In the period leading up to it, Bruno Gortatowski had sent to his brother Felix quite a few parcels; sorted documents and papers as well as an explanatory letter to police were laid out ready.
Bruno Gortatowski’s relatives organized the burial and agreed to pay the costs.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Hildegard Thevs
Quellen: 4; 5; StaH 331-5 Polizeibehörde – Unnatürliche Todesfälle, 1943/923.
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