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Martin Furmanek * 1877

Kunertweg Ecke Ernastr. (Harburg, Wilhelmsburg)

Zuchthaus Brandenburg
hingerichtet 6.3.1944 Zuchthaus Brandenburg

Martin Furmanek, born on 9 Oct. 1877, executed on 6 Mar. 1944 in the Brandenburg-Görden penitentiary

Ernastraße (in the "Asphaltkehre” [asphalt loop])

Martin Furmanek was born as the son of the worker Jakob Furmanek and his wife Petronella in Jaskulki, District of Adelnau, Province of Posen (today: Jaskolki, Poland). It is not known when he left his hometown and moved to Wilhelmsburg. Based on the preserved registration card file, one can merely establish that the Furmanek family lived in Wilhelmsburg in 1903. In that year, one of their daughters was born on the Elbe Island (Elbinsel).

In Jan. 1933, Martin Furmanek lived at Am kleinen Kanal 13. Very likely he was among the participants of protest marches appearing repeatedly in front of Wilhelmsburg city hall in early 1933. In this way, the protesters wished to bring about special deliveries of coals for the unemployed and their families. A delegation of the demonstrators negotiated with the authorities. However, the latter rejected the idea of a special coal shipment.

On 30 Jan. 1933, the demonstrations escalated. Around 10 a.m., a protest march comprised of some 600 to 800 people moved toward city hall. The civil servants at city hall established phone contact with Harburg-Wilhelmsburg Senator Klemm (SPD) and learned that demonstrations were also taking place in Harburg. Again the demonstrators formed a commission demanding at the welfare office the issuing of coal stamps. Once again, the request was refused. In the meantime, increasing numbers of people had thronged into the city hall. The crowd announced that they would not leave before their demands were met; people stormed the offices and threatened the administrative officials. Police, who by then had surrounded the city hall, did not intervene.

Eventually, Senator Klemm ordered the issuing of coal stamps. After a three-and-a-half-hour siege of the office by the unemployed, the coal stamps had been distributed by 2 p.m. In the aftermath, charges were brought against some ten persons by the public prosecutor with the Stade Regional Court (Landgericht) for "aggravated rioting and breach of the peace, extortion by means of force, breaking and entering, and slander.” The defendants were placed in pretrial detention. Their number also included the worker Martin Furmanek, who received a suspended sentence of six months in prison.

From then on, he was probably under close surveillance by the authorities. Ten years later, in May 1943, someone denounced him. He was arrested and taken to the Hamburg pretrial detention center on 16 July 1943, then transferred to the pretrial detention center at (Berlin) Plötzensee on 6 Dec. 1943. There he awaited his trial before the "People’s Court” (Volksgerichtshof). The court accused him of having held "subversive speeches” in a train compartment. Allegedly what emerged from them was that Furmanek wished the Soviets to be victorious and that he belonged to an "illegal Communist organization.” The "People’s Court” was unable to prove Martin Furmanek’s guilt on the latter charge. However, he had a "previous history” related to Communism due to his active membership in the "Red Aid” ("Rote Hilfe”): Before 1933, Martin Furmanek had gone door to door to collect monetary donations from members. The Rote Hilfe collected donations for, among other things, supporting the families of political prisoners and for campaigns toward granting amnesty to political prisoners as well as against the execution of death sentences. Therefore, the "People’s Court” now classified his political attitude as being Communist.

Even before this arrest, Martin Furmanek had been denounced twice already: Once in 1942, he had allegedly responded to the "German salute” [the Nazi salute] by a domestic help with the "Red Front salute,” and in May 1943, he had supposedly made "derogatory comments about the Reich government in a restaurant.”

The "People’s Court” passed a brutal verdict: On 22 Dec. 1943, the 66-year-old retiree Martin Furmanek was sentenced to death by the Second Senate for "preparation to high treason (undermining military strength).” On 29 Dec. 1943, he was brought to the Brandenburg-Görden penitentiary and executed there on 6 Mar 1944.

The Stolperstein for Martin Furmanek lies in the asphalt loop (Asphaltkehre) at the end of Ernastrasse in Wilhelmsburg. In the meantime, the old houses there were torn down. Martin Furmanek had his last place of residence in the former house at Ernastrasse 15.

Translator: Erwin Fink

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Barbara Günther

Quellen: AfW, 091077 Furmanek, Martin; Recherche und Auskunft Prof. Dr. Johannes Tuchel, Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand, vom 24.7.2007; VVN-BdA Harburg (Hrsg.), Die anderen, S. 75, 246; Anklageschrift und Bericht in der Wilhelmsburger Zeitung vom 2.9.1933, Kopie VVN-BdA Harburg; Brauns, Hilfe, S. 37f.

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