Gustav Meier 1888 - 1943

15.9.1888 St├╝rzelberg / Dormagen
9.1.1943 Mauthausen

Gustav Meier’s father, the butcher Josef Meier, married to Johanna Meier, née Baum, lived with his family in Stürzelberg, a small village near Dormagen in the Lower Rhine area. Whether he or Gustav first converted from Judaism to Catholicism could not be determined, not is it known when and with whom Gustav Meier entered a first marriage and when he moved to Hamburg. He was a plumber by profession. His second marriage on 29 March 1930 was to Johanna Rogge, born on 3 November 1898 in Hamburg-St. Pauli and a member of the Protestant-Lutheran church – since Johanna was not Jewish, they lived in a so-called ‘Mischehe’ or ‘mixed marriage’. Johanna Meier’s father, the labourer Wilhelm Rogge, had moved to Hamburg with his wife Marie, née Bergemann, from the Ruppin district before the turn of the century and had died already in 1925.

Johanna and Gustav Meier lived at 87 Glashüttenstraße, later they moved to 100 Stresowstraße in Hamburg-Rothenburtsort, and their final address was 19 Meissnerstraße with Johanna’s mother. Since they did not have children, the marriage was not considered ‘privileged’, and Gustav Meier could take no advantage of the protection that this might have afforded him.

On 30 October 1933, Gustav Meier was held for a day in Fuhlsbüttel prison for a ‘misdemeanour’ about which nothing more is known. At this time his Jewish background was not yet known. The census in May 1939 classified Gustav Meier as a ‘Volljude’, a ‘full Jew’. He had never been a member of the Jewish Community. He was now forced to adopt the name ‘Israel’ but he failed to comply with this and other identification requirements until 23 September 1941 and was therefore fined. Upon payment of this his file was closed. Why he was imprisoned on 19 September 1942 in Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp is unknown. He was transferred from there to Mauthausen concentration camp already on 19 September 1942. His prisoner number of 15210 in the arrivals book of the Political Section points to an arrival date of 26 November 1942, which raises the question of where he was in the meantime. The Mauthausen concentration camp was the only Grade III camp ‘for protective custody prisoners barely capable of re-education’. Being sent there was the equivalent of a death sentence. Gustav Meier shared the fate of a total of 27 men listed in the memorial book of Hamburg Jews who were deported to Mauthausen concentration camp, of whom five had previously been interned at Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. On 9 January 1943 Gustav Meier died in the Mauthausen main camp, allegedly from jaundice and circulatory insufficiency.

His widow Johanna worked as a tram conductor, fell very ill and died at the age of 45 on 15 April 1944 at the Eppendorf University Hospital. ‘The deceased was the widow of the plumber Gustav Israel Meier, last address unknown’, read the record in the death register. This shows that Gustav Meier’s death was known.

Hildegard Thevs

Translation into English: Joanna White