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Paul Heidebrecher * 1920

Engelbrechtweg 37 (Altona, Lurup)

JG. 1920
TOT 3.5.1945

Paul Wilhelm Heinrich Heidebrecher, born on 31 Mar. 1920 in Altona, detained from 1941 to 1942, in 1944 in the Neuengamme concentration camp, died probably on 3 May 1945 during the sinking of the "Cap Arcona”

Engelbrechtweg 37

Paul Heidebrecher is among those victims whose biographies cannot be reconstructed because criminal case files were destroyed. They [these persons] were, so to speak, obliterated a second time. Only two prisoner’s file cards and one detail of the International Tracing Service in Arolsen provide meager clues concerning his fate.

Paul Heidebrecher was born in Altona as the son of a worker by the same name and his wife Margarethe, née Fehen, in 1920. He also had a sister Helene, who was three years his senior.

Before being arrested, the young man aged 21 still lived with his parents in Hamburg-Lurup at Engelbrechtweg 37, working as a longshoreman.

Paul Heidebrecher was taken to the Hamburg-Stadt pretrial detention center on 4 Sept. 1941 on charges of having committed "unnatural sexual offenses” ("widernatürliche Unzucht”). The partner in crime noted down was a certain individual by the name of "Oestmann,” who cannot be identified any further. In the past, Paul Heidebrecher had been detained already once before by the 24th Office of the Criminal Investigation Department, responsible for combating "homo offenses” ("Homo-Delikte”) since 1 Sept., and committed to the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. After a conviction on 28 Oct. 1941 by the Hamburg District Court (Amtsgericht) because of an offense in accordance with Sec. 175 of the Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch – StGB) to a prison term of eight months, he was sent to the Fuhlsbüttel penitentiary, and he was subsequently transferred to the Hamburg-Harburg penal institution in early 1942. In addition, because of a theft dating from 1940, he received a subsequent penalty of two weeks. On 13 May 1942, he was released, though initially transferred to the "BK 1” police authority and then drafted into the German Wehrmacht on 18 May.

Possibly, an additional conviction occurred during his wartime deployment; at any rate, Paul Heidebrecher was in the Neuengamme concentration camp with prisoner number 67,384 since Nov./Dec. 1944. We have no information about his subsequent fate.

His personal belongings continue to be kept at the International Tracing Service in Arolsen to this day. The Hamburg-Altona District Court (Amtsgericht) pronounced him dead in an official declaration of death dated 26 May 1975 under file number "309 b II 5/75 T” as of the "end of 1945.” It is likely that he belonged to the approx. 6,400 fatalities among prisoners of the Neuengamme concentration camp that were evacuated on to the "Cap Arcona,” "Thielbek,” and "Deutschland IV.”

Translator: Erwin Fink

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: October 2016
© Bernhard Rosenkranz (†) / Ulf Bollmann

Quellen: StaH, 331-1 II Polizeibehörde II, Ablieferung 15, Band 1; StaH 332-8 Meldewesen, A 50/1; StaH 242-1 II Gefängnisverwaltung II, Ablieferung 13; Auskunft der KZ-Gedenkstätte Neuengamme; Rosenkranz/Bollmann/Lorenz, Homosexuellen-Verfolgung in Hamburg, S. 217.

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