02/18/2015 Report, Archival Research

Hermann Hoffmann’s family papers handed over

The Hoffmann family handed over the documents and objects which belonged to Hermann Hoffmann to the Neuengamme Memorial Site Archive last Friday. In 1936, Oberlandesgericht (Higher Regional Court) convicted Hermann Hoffmann of illegal resistance activities in cooperation with the Communist Party of Germany after which he was brought to the Fuhlsbüttel penitentiary.

Hermann Hoffmann, born in Altona in 1903, married, a father of two sons, had been a member of the Communist Party of Germany since 1924. In 1935 he took part in an attempt to reorganize the Party and put his apartment at the Party’s disposal for meetings. He was arrested by the Gestapo and sentenced to two years and six months of prison on the charge of treason. He served the sentence in Fuhlsbüttel and in the Aschendorfer Moor Prison Camp in Emsland.

His literary remains consist mostly of the letters he wrote to his family while he was in prison. The Neuengamme archive specialists have never in their careers had the opportunity to set eyes on such a bulky and diverse set of personal documents.

In addition to the documents, there is a red arrest warrant with the signature of the Hamburg Gestapo chief Bruno Streckenbach and the bill of indictment. In the course of the extensive proceedings against Heldt und Genossen, 750 defendants were brought before the court. Especially interesting is Hoffmann’s lunch box which he decorated himself, having been gifted in art. The back side shows a Moorsoldat (a moor soldier).