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Auguste Hüpper (née Hoffmann) * 1882
Valentinskamp 63 (Hamburg-Mitte, Neustadt)
further stumbling stones in Valentinskamp 63:
Auguste Hüpper, née Hoffmann, born on 13 July 1882 in Rübenzahl, admitted on 27 Oct. 1935 to the Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” (Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Langenhorn), transferred on 14 July 1943 to the Hadamar State Mental Hospital (Landesheilanstalt Hadamar), murdered on 7 July 1944
Valentinskamp 63 (Fürstenplatz 3)
Auguste Hüpper was born on 13 July 1882 in Rübenzahl in the East Prussian district of Lötzen (today Rybical in Poland) to a Protestant family. She and her sister Charlotte had grown up with stepsiblings in the Masurian town of Sensburg (today Mragowo in Poland), after her mother Marie Hoffmann, née Zachriss, had died early. Her father Johann Hoffmann was a dyer and also "Losmann,” as small rural leaseholders were called in East Prussia. He died at the age of 45. Auguste attended the eight-grade elementary school (Volksschule) in Sensburg up to the 1st grade (equivalent to today’s 8th grade), was a good student, and finished school at the age of 14. She then went "into service,” i.e., worked for a farmer for one year and then for two years in the household of a doctor.
In 1905, at the age of 23, she arrived in Hamburg, where she married the shoemaker Joseph Hüpper (born on 22 Dec. 1880) on 8 Nov. 1909. The son of the Catholic miner Heinrich Hüpper came from Altenhof/District of Olpe in Westphalia; his mother’s name was Maria Katharina, née Wurm. At the time of the marriage, Joseph Hüpper lived at Kohlhöfen 17, Auguste at Bäckerbreitergang 32. The couple moved to Schlachterstrasse 51 (a street that no longer exists). At nearby Wexstrasse 32a, Joseph Hüpper set up his own business as a master shoemaker. Auguste and Joseph Hüpper had four children: Maria Katharina (born on 20 Dec. 1909), Margaretha Charlotte (born on 18 June 1911), Anna (born on 27 June 1912, died on 22 Aug. 1912), and Heinrich (born on 23 Nov. 1915).
During the war years, from 1915 to 1918, the Hamburg directories listed Joseph Hüpper without a business address as residing at Hohlerweg 19. He was probably drafted and took part in the First World War. In 1919, Joseph Hüpper reopened a shoemaker’s workshop in the basement of the Klopstockhaus at Königsstrasse 48/52 (today Poststrasse). The private address was then Neue ABC-Strasse 16.
Joseph Hüpper regarded himself as an atheist and Communist, and his workshop saw political discussions.
In 1934, the private household moved to Fürstenplatz 3 (the street no longer exists) on the third floor. Around this time, Auguste Hüpper joined the Philadelphia community of faith at Holstenwall 21 (see Israel Johannes Rubanowitsch, Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel, www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de).
At the beginning of Feb. 1935, Auguste Hüpper was admitted to the Friedrichsberg State Hospital (Staatskrankenhaus Friedrichsberg) because of a mental illness.
At the end of Mar. 1935, her health improved. The following note was entered in her medical record: "Continued to be orderly, quiet, friendly, hardworking in the household, inconspicuous.” Based on the positive diagnosis, Auguste Hüpper was "granted leave” to go home, but did not return to the State Hospital at the agreed time.
On 27 Oct. 1935, the physician Ernst Meinecke again ordered her admission, to the Langenhorn State Hospital. Her mental condition had deteriorated. According to the entries in the medical records, she was described by the nursing staff as very friendly, accessible and very diligent, and she sewed and worked in the gardening department. Auguste’s married sister Charlotte Gerck kept in contact with her; in Dec. 1935, she asked for a visiting card, which she did receive.
Joseph Hüpper did not lose contact with his wife either until he became seriously ill himself in Sept. 1936. He died on 8 Jan. 1938.
On 27 Aug. 1939, Auguste was transferred from the therapy department in House 16 to the nursing department in Düssin, an estate in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania acquired by the Hanseatic City of Hamburg at the end of 1938. When the Hamburg Social Administration took over the estate in Sept. 1940 to accommodate inmates from its care homes there, Auguste Hüpper was transferred back to the Langenhorn State Hospital on 4 Oct. 1940, by then renamed "sanatorium and nursing home” ("Heil- und Pflegeanstalt”). On 1 October, the Hamburg Social Administration had asked for a medical report on the state of health of patient Hüpper to be sent to them, and they were informed that "possibility of discharge is not yet foreseeable.”
Since the beginning of the war, the need for hospital beds for wounded and injured people was increasing. Langenhorn was developed into an auxiliary hospital, and "unusable” patients with a high need for care, low work performance, or no contact with relatives were transferred to other institutions.
Although Auguste Hüpper was considered a "diligent field worker” right to the very end of her medical record, she and 49 other patients were transferred to Hadamar in Hessen on 14 July 1943. In 1940, the Hadamar State Mental Hospital was converted into one of the six euthanasia killing centers where the so-called euthanasia was carried out. In the basement of the institution, killing with carbon monoxide took place in a gas chamber disguised as a shower room. Even after the first phase of "euthanasia” had been halted in Aug. 1941, Hadamar retained the function of a killing institution, i.e., the murders of mentally ill and disabled patients were continued, no longer using gas, but with the help of overdosed medication, nursing neglect, and deliberate malnutrition.
On 5 July 1944, the management of the institution in Hadamar sent a "letter of deterioration” ("Verschlechterungsschreiben”) by telegram to Auguste Hüpper’s oldest daughter Maria Heise: "Mrs. Hüpper has contracted pneumonia with high fever. Since cardiac insufficiency exists, risk of death cannot be ruled out. Visit is allowed!” The telegram was returned to sender as undeliverable.
The contact to her family had probably broken off in July/Aug. 1943 because of the heavy air raids on Hamburg. Auguste’s sister Charlotte Gerck was bombed out twice in Hamburg. The last letter she wrote to her sister in Hadamar on 27 Aug. 1944, in which she asked for a sign of life, did not reach her anymore.
Auguste Hüpper was murdered in the Hadamar killing center as a patient "unworthy of living” ("unwertes Leben”) As the official time of death, the Hadamar records office certified 7 July 1944; as the cause of death, mental illness and pneumonia were indicated. The burial is said to have taken place five days later "quietly” in the institution’s cemetery, presumably in one of the mass graves disguised as individual graves.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: May 2020
© Susanne Rosendahl
Quellen: StaH 352-8/7 Abl. 1995/01 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn 22475 (Hüpper, Auguste); StaH 352-8/7 Abl. 2/1995 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn 23946 (Hüpper, Joseph); StaH 332-5 Standesämter 3132 u 638/1909; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 9893 u 9/1938; Auskünfte von Rosemarie Reh am 3.12.2016; Informationsblatt der Gedenkstätte Hadamar, Gedenkstätte für die Opfer der NS-Euthanasie-Verbrechen; Diercks: "Euthanasie", S. 16 u. S. 24.