Events (in german)
Bereits wenige Wochen nach dem Machtantritt der Nationalsozialisten
richtete die Hamburger Staatspolizei in Gebäuden der Fuhlsbüttler Strafanstalten ein Konzentrationslager ein. Hier wies sie zunächst kommunistische und sozialdemokratische Regimegegner ein. Am 4. September 1933 erfolgte die formelle Übertragung der Leitung an besonders brutale und skrupellose SS- und SA-Angehörige. Das im zeitgenössischen Sprachgebrauch als »Kola-Fu« bezeichnete KZ Fuhlsbüttel wurde innerhalb kürzester Zeit zu einem Inbegriff für Grauen, Leiden und Sterben. Bis zur Befreiung im Mai 1945 kamen über 250 Frauen und Männer ums Leben – sie starben an den Folgen der Misshandlungen, wurden ermordet oder in den Tod getrieben.
Ab 1936 wurde das KZ Fuhlsbüttel als Polizeigefängnis weitergeführt. Nahezu alle verhafteten Hamburger WiderstandskämpferInnen kamen in das »Kola-Fu«, ebenso wie Zeugen Jehovas und Juden, mit dem Regime Unzufriedene, Swing-Jugendliche und Menschen, die die Nationalsozialisten als »Asoziale« und »Volksschädlinge« verfolgten. Während des Krieges waren auch viele ausländische WiderstandskämpferInnen und ZwangsarbeiterInnen im »Kola-Fu« inhaftiert. Es gab neben dem Polizeigefängnis auch ein Zuchthaus auf dem Gelände. Von Oktober 1944 bis Februar 1945 nutzte die SS einen Gebäudeteil als Außenlager des KZ Neuengamme. Über 200 KZ-Gefangene aus zehn verschiedenen Nationen starben an den Folgen der unmenschlichen Behandlung.
Between 1933 and 1945
people of different gender, origin and religion were held prisoner at the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp and prison. Among them were German and foreign resistance fighters, artists or individuals who, due to their way of life, did not fit the Nazi world view. A number of them were transferred from Fuhlsbüttel to other prisons or concentration camps; others were murdered at Fuhlsbüttel itself. The twelve biographies featured here are representative of the fate of the prisoners held at Fuhlsbüttel. Clicking a picture displays that person’s short biography.
(born December 14, 1922) studied in Gent and was involved in resistance activities and anti-Nazi propaganda as a member of “People’s Revolutionary Youth.” She was one of the non-German Night and Fog prisoners in the Fuhlsbüttel prison. She was arrested in Belgium on January 11, 1942 and deported to Germany. In February 1943, a special court in Bochum sentenced her to one year in prison, while the other two defendants in this trial were sentenced to death and executed. From May to July 1943 Pierrette Cuelenaere served her sentence in the Fuhlsbüttel prison, later in other prisons. She was liberated by the Allies in 1945.
Dr. Hermann da Fonseca-Wollheim
(born August 22, 1893) lived and worked at the Bahrenfelder Marktplatz. His family faced discrimination because he was a quarter-Jew. During the war he provided medical treatment to forced workers in the Bahrenfeld industrial area. A commandant of a forced labor camp denounced him and he was arrested by the Gestapo on August 27, 1943. He was accused of having contact with Ukrainian women, learning Russian and accepting a thank-you letter. Without a trial he was transferred from the Fuhlsbüttel police prison to the Buchenwald concentration camp in March 1944. He died there on May 13, 1944.
(born July 18, 1920) was a junior manager of the book shop “Agentur des Rauhen Hauses” which developed into a meeting point of oppositionists, artist, students and intellectuals. As a member of the Hamburg branch of the student movement White Rose from Munich, he was involved in the flyer production and other forms of political activism. Reinhold Meyer was arrested by the Gestapo on December 19, 1943 and sent to the Fuhlsbüttel police prison where he died on November 12, 1944. He reportedly died of diphtheria. His fellow prisoners and family assumed, however, that he was fatally injured during an interrogation.
The actress Hanne Mertens (born March 13, 1909) started working in the Thalia Theater in Hamburg in 1943. She had already come into conflict with the Gestapo multiple times due to her open animosity towards the Nazi regime. After she had mocked Hitler and other high-ranking Nazis at an acquaintance’s party and sang the song “This Too Shall Pass” with the following text: “...starting with Hitler, followed by the party.” A member of the Gestapo, who attended the party, reported her on the same day. The actress was arrested on February 6, 1945 and taken to the Fuhlsbüttel police prison. Together with 70 more Fuhlsbüttel prisoners, Hanne Mertens was taken to Neuengamme and murdered in the detention bunker in April 1945.
(born August 6, 1905) was a communist, unionist, worker athlete and a member of the Hamburg resistance group “Red Fighters”, a council communist group which originated from the Communist Party of Germany. They printed their illegal flyers in his grandfather’s print shop. He was arrested by the Gestapo on January 5, 1937 and died only five days later, on January 10, in the Fuhlsbüttel police prison.
Dr. Fritz Solmitz
(born October 22, 1893) was the editor of the socialist newspaper Lübecker Volksboten. Being an ardent anti-fascist of Jewish background he was arrested by the Gestapo in March 1933. In May he was transferred to the Fuhlsbüttel police prison. Fritz Solmitz was brutally tortured by the Fuhlsbüttel guards. During his imprisonment he kept a secret journal on thin cigarette paper. His last entry in the journal is dated shortly before he was reportedly found hanging in his cell on September 19, 1933. He had hidden the papers in his pocket watch and they are a unique record of the inhumane conditions in Fuhslbüttel.
(born August 19, 1908 as Heinrich Eugen Habitz) was a trans woman from Ludwigshafen who worked in Hamburg as a sex worker. In March 1936 she was convicted for her trans-identity and prostitution due to stricter laws on prostitution and theft. During her persecution in Hamburg, she was imprisoned in the Fuhlsbüttel police prison and penitentiary. In November 1942 she was transferred to the Mauthausen concentration camp where she was murdered on January 6, 1943.
Hans Peter Viau
(born March 12, 1925) belonged to the Swing youth, a group of young jazz and swing lovers in Hamburg. In the fall of 1942 he was arrested due to his “Anglophile tendencies” and contempt for the Hitler Youth. In 1994 he described the interrogations in the following manner: “The record of the interrogation was not kept properly and the Gestapo man got violent. […] So the file was very thin. The Gestapo had to prove they had been successful so they added a number of lies to the report. (Interview, November 8, 1994. Ang.) He was transferred from Fuhlsbüttel to the Neuengamme concentration camp. His parents were told their son was sent to a reeducation camp. He was released after ten days.
(born December 15, 1877) and her husband Friedrich were members of the SPD and the consumers’ cooperative “Produktion”. After SPD was banned in 1933 she was involved in the production of flyers and provided financial support for imprisoned oppositionists and their relatives. She was the first woman to die in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. On June 27, 1935 Friedrich Corleis was informed that his wife hanged herself in her cell.
The Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp and Penal Facility 1933–1945 Memorial
was established in 1987 and is located in the former gatehouse entrance of the prison, which is still in operation today. On a memorial plaque at the entrance, visitors can read the names of the prisoners killed in the KolaFu prison and satellite camp. The exhibition, which focuses on the theme of resistance, explores the history of the concentration camp and the lives of the prisoners. Visitors can also view original objects and a reconstructed solitary confinement cell. The Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp and Penal Facility 1933–1945 Memorial was established in 1987 and is located in the former gatehouse entrance of the prison, which is still in operation today. On a memorial plaque at the entrance, visitors can read the names of the prisoners killed in the KolaFu prison and satellite camp. The exhibition, which focuses on the theme of resistance, explores the history of the concentration camp and the lives of the prisoners. Visitors can also view original objects and a reconstructed solitary confinement cell.