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Bruno Beuthner * 1880
Dunckersweg 8 (Hamburg-Mitte, Horn)
Bruno Beuthner, born on 19 Sept. 1880 in Königshütte/Upper Silesia, arrested on 21 Dec. 1942, transferred on 25 Feb. 1943 to Auschwitz concentration camp, death on 7 May 1943 at the Bielitz external camp
In a letter dated 28 Nov. 1968, 25 years after Bruno Beuthner’s death in the Auschwitz concentration camp, the International Tracing Service of the Red Cross in Arolsen informed the Restitution Office (Amt für Wiedergutmachung) in Hamburg of the following: Bruno Beuthner "was committed to the Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel police prison as a prisoner of the Gestapo Hamburg on 21 Dec. 1942, then transferred from there to the Auschwitz concentration camp on 25 Feb. . Category or reason for the arrest: ‘protective custody prisoner’.” On the one hand, this official proof became the basis of restitution payments and, on the other hand, for the relatives it shed some light on the darkness related to the fate of Bruno Beuthner, an established merchant from Hamburg-Horn with a clean record.
Bruno Beuthner was born in Königshütte (Upper Silesia) on 19 Sept. 1880, the son of the merchant Markus Beutner and his wife Ernestine, née Behnsch. He attended Breslau High School until he completed his intermediate secondary school certificate (Mittlere Reife), subsequently adding training in banking. Following a temporary stay abroad, he came to Hamburg in 1908, setting up business as an established merchant. In 1912, he took up a position as an auditor, something he pursued in addition to other business activities, such as work as an agent and general manager, until his arrest. He always worked on a small scale, and he lived in modest circumstances. No Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card of the Jewish Community existed for Bruno Beuthner, but he was registered in the membership count of 1935 when he was already living in a "mixed marriage.”
On 7 Sept. 1930, he married Charlotte Adolph, born in Danzig on 9 Dec. 1891, a Protestant who worked as a salaried employee. Together, they moved to Dunckersweg 8, into an apartment belonging to the "Neue Heimat,” a housing company. Soon after passage of the Nuremberg Laws on race, Bruno and Charlotte Beuthner felt harassed by the building superintendent and his enquiries with the neighbors. In 1936, their economic situation improved when the Hamburg-Süd Tax and Revenue Office authorized Bruno Beuthner as a tax adviser (Helfer in Steuersachen) on 17 July. Among his clients were the interior decorator Albert Hornung, the Eugen Siller Company, and a safe business. On the occasion of an audit in 1940, the auditors of the tax office proposed to Bruno Beuthner to take on additional companies. For health reasons and perhaps also in order not to expose himself needlessly, he turned down the offer.
After the harassments had already increased in 1938 and 1939, Bruno and Charlotte Beuthner were denounced by a resident of a neighboring street in 1942. They had not followed orders to put up flags, which caused the Gestapo to interrogate them. During a previous search of the apartment for Bruno Beuthner’s birth certificate, the radio set disappeared. When Bruno and Charlotte Beuthner refused to sign transcripts of the interrogation, they were mistreated. Consequently, Bruno Beuthner filed a complaint, and on 19 Dec. 1942, the Gestapo inspectors Walter Mecklenburg and Götze arrested him at his workplace, the Hans D. Freymuth Company (at Neuer Wall 56), on charges of insulting a police officer on duty.
Bruno Beuthner was interrogated at the Gestapo office at Rothenbaumchaussee 38 and taken from there to the Fuhlsbüttel police prison. Two months later, the Gestapo transferred him to the Auschwitz concentration camp. After that, Charlotte Beuthner did not receive any more signs of life from her husband.
After her husband’s arrest, she was asked to vacate their apartment and get a divorce, because in the opinion of the general manager of the "Neue Heimat,” she was Jewish. With the help of a lawyer, however, she managed to stay in the apartment. She rented out two furnished rooms and worked part-time.
At the end of Apr. 1943, the Nordstern Lebensversicherungs AG Berlin, a life insurance company, received a query by an SS-Untersturmführer [SS rank equivalent to second lieutenant] from Auschwitz, asking whether the company was willing to cover the treatment costs for Bruno Beuthner, who was increasingly suffering from bouts of diarrhea. Such a course of action by a concentration camp administration was unusual. At this time, Bruno Beuthner was at an external camp of the Auschwitz concentration camp located in Bielitz. Whatever the reply by the insurance company may have been: Bruno Beuthner died in Bielitz on 7 May 1943 of "gastroenteritis and cardiac insufficiency,” as the medical certificate regarding the development and course of the illness as well as the cause of death reported. Charlotte Beuthner received the death certificate by mail from the Auschwitz concentration camp. She did not believe the information pertaining to the cause of death.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Hildegard Thevs