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Wilhelm Krüger * 1874

Börnestraße 73 (Wandsbek, Eilbek)

JG. 1874
HAFT 1935 - 1938
TOT 14.3.1938

Fritz Carl Wilhelm Krüger, born 25 Dec. 1874 in Wandsbek, died 14 Jan 1938 in pre-trial detention in Hamburg

Börnestraße 73 (formerly Börnestraße 71)

Wilhelm Krüger was a member of the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) resistance organization centered around Walter Schmedemann. He worked with Emil Göthel (see Biographies: Emil Göthel) and was tried together with him.

Wilhlem Krüger was born on 25 December 1874 in Wandsbek, which at that time was a part of Prussia. His father was a carpenter. He apprenticed as a metal-worker at the PEG in Wandsbek, which was later merged with the Hamburg Straßen-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft. He worked at the Imperial Shipyards in Kiel during the First World War.

In late August 1898 he married Frieda Jandt (*6 April 1878 in Wandsbek). She was also from a working-class family. Both listed their religion as Protestant. The couple had four daughters: Maria Luise Martha Marie (*3 October 1898), Helene Wilhelmine Sophie Frieda (*6 April 1900), Hertha Minna Emma (*23 March 1903), and Wilhelma Sophie Elisabeth (*14 July 1908).

As a young journeyman, Wilhelm Krüger became a member of the German Metal Workers’ Union, and joined the SPD in 1900. He left the party in the 1920s, but returned to it in 1930. Before the Nazis came to power, Krüger lived in the same neighborhood as Emil Göthel, the chairman of the local SPD chapter. The two men must have at least been acquainted with each other before 1933, even though Wilhelm Krüger had no official function in the SPD. His only contact to the party was to the party treasurer, who regularly collected his dues. When the treasurer asked Krüger for help after the Nazi takeover, he offered his apartment at Josef-Klant-Straße 73 (present-day Börnestraaße) for use as a meeting place for the SPD functionaries, who were under observation after the party was banned. There they held meetings, drafted flyers and printed newspapers. Their activities did not remain secret. The third daughter, Helene, later recalled police searches of the apartment. Wilhelm Krüger was arrested on 8 October 1935. Before the trial on 30 June 1936, he spent more than eight months in the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp and then in pre-trial detention in Hamburg.

During his trial for intent to commit high treason before the Hanseatic Regional Court, it was held to his credit that he did not give the impression of being a dangerous revolutionary. The court judged him to be good-natured and "easy to sway to questionable acts.” He was sentenced to two years and six months in prison and the revocation of his civil rights for two years. The time he had already served, eight months and three weeks, was deducted from the sentence.

Wilhelm Krüger served his prison sentence in the Fuhlsbüttel penitentiary. Three months before he was due to be released he was transferred to the infirmary at the pre-trial detention center on Holstenglacis. It was there that he was found unconscious on 14 January 1938. By the time his wife was notified, he was already dead. The cause of death was supposedly not able to be determined. On the death certificate, however, it is given as "weakness of the heart.”

Later, during compensation proceedings, it was determined that his death was caused by "National Socialist acts of violence.” Wilhelm Krüger had been either willfully or neglectfully killed or caused to die. He was 63 years old at the time of death.

Wilhelm Krüger’s eldest daughter Maria, who worked at the State Employment Agency, also personally experienced the Nazi’s disciplinary and conformity enforcing measures. She was fired on 30 June 1934 on the basis of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, because her "previous political activities did not warrant the belief that she would support the national government unequivocally and at all times.”

Translator: Amy Lee

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: October 2016
© Ingo Wille

Quellen: AB; StaH 242-1II Gefängnisverwaltung II Abl. 16 (U-Haft); 332-5 Standesämter 1086-16/1938, 3826-174/1874, 4077-147/1898, 3832-187/1878; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 2599; 352-5 Gesundheitsbehörde – Todesbescheinigungen 2 1938/16; VVN-Hamburg, Archiv K 30; VAN-Totenliste, S. 50; Gedenkbuch Kola-Fu, S. 61; Für Freiheit und Demokratie, S. 299.

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