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Walter Grieshaber * 1888

Hinrichsenstraße 19 (Hamburg-Mitte, Borgfelde)

JG. 1888
ERMORDET 24.2.1945

Walter Grieshaber, born on 26 Oct. 1898 in Hamburg, died on 24 Feb. 1945 in the Neuengamme concentration camp

Hinrichsenstrasse 19 (Baustrasse 19)

Max Gustav Walter Grieshaber was born on 26 Oct. 1898 as the son of the cabinetmaker Karl Wilhelm Grieshaber and his wife Louise, née Gaedecke, at Lindleystrasse 89 in what was then Billwärder, today Rothenburgsort. The married couple belonged to the Lutheran Church. The only detail known about the siblings is that Walter Grieshaber had a brother called Willy, who survived the "Third Reich.” Walter Grieshaber married Antonie Fieg, born on 3 Nov. 1905, also in Hamburg. By trade, he was an assistant commercial clerk and his wife a kitchen help. The marriage produced no children.

In political matters, their views diverged. Whether Antonie Grieshaber belonged to a political party is not known. Walter Grieshaber, without any religious creed, joined the German Communist Party (KPD) and refused to give up his convictions even when the party was banned in 1933. It was not possible to ascertain the degree to which he was involved in illegal work; at any rate, he did not attract the attention of the Gestapo prior to 1942. Perhaps health problems kept him from illegal activities; as an effect of a diabetic condition, one of his legs was amputated.

On 18 Dec. 1942, the Gestapo detained Walter Grieshaber due to "publically voiced heterodox statements.” On 2 Apr. 1943, the Hamburg "special court” (Sondergericht) sentenced him on these charges to one year in prison, a penalty he served only in part. On 5 Aug. 1943, he was released from the Fuhlsbüttel prison, with the remainder of the sentence suspended on probation until 1 June 1947.

Upon his release, Walter Grieshaber could not return to a home any longer, as it had been rendered uninhabitable during the air raids in July 1943. The destruction of Hamburg by aerial warfare, which had also taken its toll on the prisons, was the reason for Walter Grieshaber’s suspended sentence. Like many other hospital employees, his wife, working in the St. Georg General Hospital as a "ward sister,” lived in the hospital, and her husband found a place to stay there as well. During her husband’s prison term, Antonie Grieshaber had filed for divorce, subsequently withdrawing the petition for divorce, however. She continued to take offense to the "political activities” of her husband, complaining to the director of St. Georg Hospital toward the end of 1944 that her husband "obviously did not intend to reform.”

Just what type of political views Walter Grieshaber held remained unclear. On 6 Dec. 1944, he was committed to the Farmsen care home (Versorgungsheim Farmsen) as a "work-shy person” ("Arbeitsscheuer”), then transferred to the Neuengamme concentration camp as an "asocial” ("Asozialer”). He died there on 24 Feb. 1945 of "enteritis acuta,” i.e., acute enteritis, ultimately though of the inhuman living conditions combining hard labor and insufficient nutrition, particularly in light of his disease and physical disability.

Based on Secs. 1 and 3 of the Hamburg Judiciary Decree no. 1 (Hamburger Justizerlass Nr. 1) dated 2 Oct. 1945, Walter Grieshaber’s probationary sentence became invalid, and his sentence was struck from the criminal record. Thus, he was rehabilitated.

Translator: Erwin Fink

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: VAN-Totenliste 1968; VVN 21.G 21; AB 1933; StaH, 242 – 1 II, Abl. 1998/1, U-Haft, und Abl. 13, jüngere, Strafgefangene Fuhlsbüttel; 332-5 Standesämter, (StA 23) 2473+2384/1898; OStA AZ 11 Js., P. Sond. 435 oder 455/42 (11 KMs. P. Sond. 25/43).

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