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Heinz Colland * 1903

Wandsbeker Chaussee 270 / Ecke Menkesallee (Wandsbek, Eilbek)

JG. 1903

Heinz Colland, born 28 Mar. 1903 in Aachen, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk

Wandsbeker Chaussee 270, corner of Menkesallee (Wandsbeckerchaussee 258)

On 17 April 1935, the trial of "Colland and associates,” charged with illegal activities, took place before the Hanseatic Special Court. Heinz Colland, the electrican S. and the type-setter W. were accused of having "acted in opposition to the directive issued on 24 June 1933 by the chief authority of the state, in this case its subordinate authority, the Hamburg Police Department, in accordance with the Reichspresident’s Decree for the Protection of the People and the State of 28 Feb. 1933, by which the Freie Wirtschaftsbund e.V. (FFF, the Free Economy Association) and all of its subsidiary organizations was disbanded, effective immediately.”

Despite the prohibition of the organization, the defendants, along with four others, had continued to meet in a group called the "Rhetorical Union” for social events, lectures, and to practice public speaking, and had worn lapel pins with a green emblem as a symbol of their membership. Heinz Colland, the owner of a printing shop, was leader of the "Rhetorical Union.” Other members were the type-setter W., the electrician S., the cleaning lady B., the window-washer H., the au pair P., and the upholsterer S., from whom the lapel pins originated. On the evening of 17 August 1943, Herr H. was to hold a lecture about "Individualism and Socialism” in the apartment of Frau P., but he did not arrive, because he wanted to listen to Adolf Hitler’s speech on the radio. Colland, S., and W. walked home together. They were noticed by two SA members, because the men turned several times to look at them. The SA men accused them of having hung Social Democratic flyers on buildings, and took them to the police station. When the police searched their briefcases, they found Swiss newspapers and the invitation to the lecture at Frau P.’s apartment, from which they concluded a connection between the "Rhetorical Union” and the Freie Wirtschaftsbund.

Although the participants in the "Rhetorical Union” did practice public speaking, they did so using topics related to the Freie Wirtschaftsbund. The three Fs stood for free land, free money, and free trade – the three pillars of an anti-capitalist economic reform. The movement was based on the writings of Silvio Gesell (1862-1930), and had become widely popular in Germany and Switzerland after the First World War and its disastrous economic consequences. At the trial, Heinz Colland characterized himself as nationalistic. He had recognized the goals of the National Socialist financial policies as similar to those of the Free Economists, and had thus joined their movement, since he, as a "non-Aryan,” was not allowed to become a member of the Nazi party. He had wanted to earn some extra income with his public speaking lessons. He did not hesitate to admit that he was against the National Socialists because of the regime’s anti-Semitic measures, but he had neither planned nor supported any activities aimed at toppling them.

All seven defendants were released on bail, since none were considered a flight risk, there was no danger of suppression of evidence, and because their crimes were not considered high treason. The court did not accuse Heinz Colland of subversive intentions, but declared that "he represents those intellectuals who, because of their Jewish heritage, do not belong to the German nation, but who assume the right to criticize the government and to work against it.” The court sentenced him to one year in prison. B. was found not guilty, since she was able to persuade the court that she was only interested in furthering her education. The other five defendants were charged with cultivating the ideas of the Freie Wirtschaftsbund in the "Rhetorical Union” and were sentenced to six months in prison.

For Heinz Colland, who ran his printing shop alone, the sentence meant the destruction of his livelihood. He entered a plea to have the sentence commuted to probation so that he could continue working. He had evidently found some relatives who were willing to lend him money, because after his first appeal was denied, he requested that his prison sentence be commuted to a fine, as was the case with his co-defendants H. and S. This appeal was also denied. Due to the length of the sentence, Heinz Colland was forced to liquidate his company, which took some time, since he was unable to find a buyer for his printing press. The public prosecutor’s office granted a postponement of his sentence in order for him to do so. He requested a second postponement when, in lieu of a buyer, he found someone whom he could train to work the press so that a pending order of 1000 catalogues could be printed. This postponement was also granted.

After a last visit to his 70-year-old father in Düsseldorf, Heinz Colland began serving his prison sentence on 1 August 1936 at the Wolfenbüttel prison. After serving two-thirds of his sentence he submitted a plea for pardon to the Hamburg public prosecutor’s office. It was written in pencil in childlike handwriting, but with well-chosen wording: "I ask that you consider it mitigating that the Free Economy philosophy is not a political philosophy, nor is it inimical to the state or to the German people. Rather it is, as the court has stated, a monetary and economic theory, the discussion of which, even in today’s circumstances, is legitimate.” The prison warden characterized Heinz Colland as a somewhat peculiar person with skewed views, and denied the plea for pardon. He was released at the end of his sentence on 1 August 1936. The Wandsbek police requested his records once more in the following year, as did the Gestapo in 1939 in order to look into the freiwirtschaft writings that had been confiscated when Colland’s apartment was searched. Both events apparently were without consequence for Colland.

Little is known of Heinz Werner Colland’s life. He was born in Aachen on 28 March 1903. His parents had him christened at the age of 13. In 1919 his father Rudolf Josef, a pharmacist, changed his name from Cohn to Colland. Heinz Colland’s mother Gertrud, née Hirsch, was a "half-Jew.” At some point the family moved to Düsseldorf, where Rudolf Colland ran a pharmacy. He died at some point between his son’s last visit in 1936 and 1940.

The 1930 Hamburg address book lists Heinz Colland at the address Steilshooper Straße 108, with the profession of businessman. At some point thereafter he lived as a lodger with H. Fick at Eilbeker Weg 204 until he was sent to prison. He ran a printing shop at Mathildenstraße 12 in Wandsbek (when Wandsbek was incorporated into Hamburg in 1937, the name of the street was changed to Beim Wandsbeker Rathaus). When he was released from prison he lived as a lodger with B. Dietrich, a barber, at Wandsbeker Chaussee 258.

Heinz Colland had a steady income, the source of which cannot be determined. He was not a member of the Hamburg Jewish Religious Association. He became a compulsory member of the "Reich Association of Jews in Germany” on 5 October 1939. Mail was addressed to him without the added name of "Israel,” which male Jews were forced to adopt. The church tax he had paid was deducted when his fees for the Reich Association of Jews were assessed. He was still living at Wandsbeker Chaussee 258 when he received his deportation orders for transport to the Minsk Ghetto. The deportation list containing his transport number 170 and his profession, given as "plate technician,” is the last trace of him.

Stand Februar 2014

Translator(s): Amy Lee

Translation kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg

© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 9; AB; StaH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht Strafsachen L 358/35, 3 Bde; Archiv der Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Düsseldorf, Adressbücher; Meyers Enzyklopädie; Stadtverwaltung Aachen, Standesamt; Meyer, Reichsvereinigung.
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