Erna Mayer, the murder of her brother in Barmen-Düsseldorf in May 1933

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Statement of Erna Meyer about the murder of her brother Alfred, a dentist who was harassed by a leading Nazi, also a dentist, even before 1933. In 1933 the brother voluntarily went into police custody for a few weeks as persecution got worse. He then left to work in a nearby town but on May 16, 1933 was picked up by the Nazi and his friends (all named). Several days later his dead body was found.

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  1. English
  2. German
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MASTER - INDEX ( P - Scheme )

1. Index Number: P.II.c. No. 946

2. Title: Statement regarding the murder of her brother, Dr. Alfred Meyer of Barmen-Düsseldorf, on 16th May 1933.

3. Date: 16th May 1933.

4. Number of pages: 1 plus 4 Language: Page 1 in English, pp. 1 - 4 in German

5. Author: Miss Erna Meyer, Haifa/Israel

6. Recorded by: Jacob Salomon, Notary Public, Haifa/Israel.

7. Received: November 1958 from W.L. Archives.

8. Form and contents: The document is an affidavit sworn before a notary by Miss Erna Meyer, recording the events which lead to the murder of her brother, Dr. ALFRED MEYER: Dr. M. had volunteered in the 1914-1918 war and had been decorated several times. After the war he studied dentistry and set up in practice in WUPPERTAL-BARMEN. He had never been interested in politics, but even before 1933 there was animosity against him in Nazi circles, fostered by a jealous colleague and leading Nazi VIERING. Viering had also been sentenced for slander of Dr. Meyer, and his charges against Dr. M. for returning false reports on his patients had been dismissed as unfounded by the Medical Board. - Soon after the Nazis came to power, Dr. M.'s home was frequently searched, Viering always taking an active part, as were the Nazis FISCHER, BIRKENSTOCK und NOELLE. When the searches became obviously malicious, Dr. M. asked the Police for protective custody. During this period, a political charge was brought against him, but the investigation proved this to be unfounded, and Dr. M. was released on May 10th, 1933. The night after his release, his home was ransacked, and Dr. M. left Barmen and went to Düsseldorf, where his wife practiced as a dentist. On May 16th Noelle telephoned and asked for Dr. M. After a second telephone call in the afternoon Dr. M. went to the house of friends of his, but five persons, the four above named among them, followed him there, overpowered and handcuffed him and took him away in a car with a false number plate. A few days later a ranger reported that his corpse had been washed ashore at the BEWER TALSPERRE. It was handed over to the Oberrabbiner of Düsseldorf with strict instructions not to show the badly mutilated body to his relatives. The Court refused to deal with the matter, and the records were sent to Berlin and allegedly lost en route.

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P.II.c. No. 946

Statement regarding the murder of her brother , Dr Alfred Meyer of Barmen-Düsseldorf, on 16 May 1933

To ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME I, Jacob Salomon, of Haifa, Palestine, Barrister-at-Law, a Notary Public duly licensed and competent to do this act under the Notaries Public (Foreign documents) Ordinance, 1921, DO HEREBY CERTIFY AND ATTEST that on the day of the date hereof personally appeared before me Erna Meyer and in my presence subscribed the document annexed hereto and marked A (purporting to be an affidavit in the German language and did solemnly and in due form of law declare to the truth thereof, before me and acknowledged the same as her act and deed.

In WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal notarial at Haifa this 27th day of November, in the year One Thousand nine hundred and thirty six.

signed Signature.

Notary Public

Palestine

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I, the undersigned

Erna Meyer

hereby swear by this affidavit that the following statement is the truth. I am fully aware that this statement is to be used by a Swiss law court and I am aware that those who swear a false affidavit, either deliberately or inadvertently, are subject to severe penalties under the criminal law of all countries including Switzerland and Palestine. For this reason, and of course as a matter of morality which requires me to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, I have considered every word that I have written and fully guarantee the truth of this affidavit.

I had a brother, Dr Alfred Meyer, who was born on 24 March 1898. He left grammar school even before the age of seventeen to join the army as a volunteer; in February 1915 he marched into battle and was a soldier until the end of the war. He was wounded no less than three times but nevertheless went back to the battlefield each time, was awarded the Bayrische Verdienstkreuz and the Iron Cross Second Class, and was promoted to Vizewachtmeister. On returning from the war he completed his education, first at school where he passed the Abitur; he then studied dentistry and set up in practice as a dentist in Wuppertal-Barmen. He had never been active politically, either before or after this; in particular, he had never been a member of the Socialist or Communist Parties, nor had he ever done anything for any of these parties. Even before the revolution of 1933 he knew that there was a certain antipathy towards him in National Socialist circles in Barmen; he attributed this to the fact not only that he was a Jew, but also that one of the leading National Socialists of Barmen, a dentist named Viering, had had his practice opposite my brother’s for some time, and as my brother was very popular with his patients he Viering found it difficult to get a practice.

This Viering had been sued for libel even before the revolution of 1933 because he had stated that my brother was suffering from a sexually transmitted disease. My brother underwent a very thorough examination proving that this accusation was completely false. Consequently, Viering was punished. Viering tried another libel, saying that my brother, in his capacity as a certifying doctor, had produced false certificates for patients to claim on national health insurance. Again, this accusation was proved to be unfounded after the dentists’

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professional body had thoroughly examined the case and found my brother to be blameless.

After the beginning of the revolution my brother’s house was immediately searched but nothing was found which might be used against him in some way. These searches were mainly carried out by the following National Socialists: Fischer, Viering, Birkenstock and Noelle. These searches took place at a time when my brother was travelling abroad trying to discover whether there was a possibility for him to emigrate. My brother then returned and even went back to Barmen despite several warnings, because he was of the opinion that he was an honest and upright man, and that running away would be the action of a coward.

Whilst he was in Barmen he felt so persecuted that one night he did not sleep at home but instead at a friend’s. During the night his house was searched again. This search was conducted in such a way that damage to the property was clearly intended. The next day my brother went to the police and asked to be kept in so-called voluntary protective custody because he feared for his life. The police did as he asked and so he spent the time from the end of March until 10 May in protective custody.

I must state, however, that his voluntary stay in protective custody became involuntary during this time because an investigation was started against him, for political reasons. This investigation was extremely hard for him, mainly because he tried desperately for five weeks to have his first interrogation, which in the end was only brought about by friends, including non-Jewish friends, who finally convinced the authorities to carry out an interrogation.

The investigation did not bring anything to light since, as already mentioned, there was nothing that could come to light, and so he was released on 10 May 1933. In the night after his release his house was searched again; he was not at home because he had preferred to spend the night at the house of a Christian family he was friendly with. On that occasion his flat was devastated, all kinds of valuables like record players and records were destroyed, carpets were slashed, lamps were broken, the fully fitted kitchen was torn out. Many valuable goods were stolen, and they even went so far as to take away his suits and shoes.

After this occurrence my brother preferred to leave Barmen and after spending some days somewhere else

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he started work as a dentist in Düsseldorf whilst preparing to emigrate. His wife, also a dentist, had a practice in Düsseldorf and the two decided to stand in for each other until they could emigrate, as having only a little money they could not do without an income.

On 16 May the telephone rang in his practice in Düsseldorf. It was Noelle – already mentioned above – who asked whether my brother was there and when the answer was yes he said, thats all I want to know’ and rang off. In the afternoon he rang again and soon after the call my brother left the practice and went to a family he was friendly with. In the street he was followed and soon after he had arrived a car stopped in which there were five people, among them the four mentioned above, who had taken part in the previous searches.

Viering stayed at the wheel, the four others went into the flat, threw my brother onto the floor, tied him up and dragged him into the car. The other people present were also tied up, and as one of them had tried to get to the telephone to call for help before being tied up, the telephone was destroyed, to make any communication with the outside world impossible.

The registration number had been noted by several people but the investigation showed that it was false. The help the police gave us was just a formality with no practical and effective support at all, and so we were not able to discover his whereabouts.

At first we had engaged the National Socialist lawyer KINTZEN in Düsseldorf; he, however, later terminated the brief because the Party had advised him not to engage in this case – a fact we do know for certain.

Some days after my brother had disappeared a forester informed [us] that at the Bewerdam, between Düsseldorf and Barmen, the dead body of a man had been washed up. It turned out to be my brother’s corpse, which had been thrown into the water; his head had been stuck into a sack and his feet tied to a copy machine to prevent the body from surfacing. There must have been very particular circumstances which allowed the body to come up again nevertheless. We ourselves did not get the body

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on the contrary, it was handed over several days later to the chief rabbi in Düsseldorf who in exchange had strict orders not to show his corpse to his relatives. Later we learnt – not from the rabbi but from others who had seen the corpse – that he had been stabbed in the abdomen and other parts of his body; he had been shot in the head twice and his body had been maltreated and mutilated in a disgusting way. The court refused to deal with the case, so the records were sent to Berlin, but are said to have been lost in transit.

By order of the authorities the funeral was secret and very quiet. Any newspapers which reported the case were confiscated. We were dictated the text of the obituary notice, so we preferred to simply inform people that he had died.

I declare again that everything I have described here is the truth and that I have not added or changed anything.

Signed Erna Meyer

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MASTER - INDEX ( P - Scheme )

1. Index Number: P.II.c. No. 946

2. Title: Statement regarding the murder of her brother, Dr. Alfred Meyer of Barmen-Düsseldorf, on 16th May 1933.

3. Date: 16th May 1933.

4. Number of pages: 1 plus 4 Language: Page 1 in English, pp. 1 - 4 in German

5. Author: Miss Erna Meyer, Haifa/Israel

6. Recorded by: Jacob Salomon, Notary Public, Haifa/Israel.

7. Received: November 1958 from W.L. Archives.

8. Form and contents: The document is an affidavit sworn before a notary by Miss Erna Meyer, recording the events which lead to the murder of her brother, Dr. ALFRED MEYER: Dr. M. had volunteered in the 1914-1918 war and had been decorated several times. After the war he studied dentistry and set up in practice in WUPPERTAL-BARMEN. He had never been interested in politics, but even before 1933 there was animosity against him in Nazi circles, fostered by a jealous colleague and leading Nazi VIERING. Viering had also been sentenced for slander of Dr. Meyer, and his charges against Dr. M. for returning false reports on his patients had been dismissed as unfounded by the Medical Board. - Soon after the Nazis came to power, Dr. M.'s home was frequently searched, Viering always taking an active part, as were the Nazis FISCHER, BIRKENSTOCK und NOELLE. When the searches became obviously malicious, Dr. M. asked the Police for protective custody. During this period, a political charge was brought against him, but the investigation proved this to be unfounded, and Dr. M. was released on May 10th, 1933. The night after his release, his home was ransacked, and Dr. M. left Barmen and went to Düsseldorf, where his wife practiced as a dentist. On May 16th Noelle telephoned and asked for Dr. M. After a second telephone call in the afternoon Dr. M. went to the house of friends of his, but five persons, the four above named among them, followed him there, overpowered and handcuffed him and took him away in a car with a false number plate. A few days later a ranger reported that his corpse had been washed ashore at the BEWER TALSPERRE. It was handed over to the Oberrabbiner of Düsseldorf with strict instructions not to show the badly mutilated body to his relatives. The Court refused to deal with the matter, and the records were sent to Berlin and allegedly lost en route.

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P.II.c. No. 946

AUSSAGE UEBER DIE ERMORDUNG VON Dr. ALFRED MEYER AUS BARMEN-DUESSELDORF AM 16. MAI 1933.

To ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME I, Jacob Salomon, of Haifa, Palestine, Barrister-at-Law, a Notary Public duly licensed and competent to do this act under the Notaries Public (Foreign documents) Ordinance, 1921, DO HEREBY CERTIFY AND ATTEST that on the day of the date hereof personally appeared before me Erna Meyer and in my presence subscribed the document annexed hereto and marked A (purporting to be an affidavit in the German language and did solemnly and in due form of law declare to the truth thereof, before me and acknowledged the same as her act and deed.

In WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal notarial at Haifa this 27th day of November, in the year One Thousand nine hundred and thirty six.

gez. Unterschrift.

Notary Public

Palestine

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Ich, die Unterzeichnete,

Erna Meyer

gebe hierdurch die folgende Erklaerung als eidesstattliche Versicherung ab. Mir ist bekannt, dass diese Erklaerung vor einem schweizerischen Gericht verwendet werden soll und mir ist bekannt, dass die Strafgesetze aller Laender, darunter auch das schweizerische und das palaestinensische, mit schweren Strafen denjenigen bedrohen, der eine falsche eidesstattliche Versicherung bewusst oder fahrlaessig abgibt. Ich habe aus diesem Grunde und selbstverstaendlich auch aus den moralischen Gruenden, die mich zur vollen Wahrheit zwingen, jedes Wort ueberlegt, das ich im folgenden niederlege und stehe fuer die Wahrheit dieser eidesstattlichen Erklaerung in vollem Umfang ein.

Ich hatte einen Bruder, Dr. Alfred Meyer, der am 24. Maerz 1898 geboren ist. Er verliess noch vor Vollendung des 17. Lebensjahres das Gymnasium, um sich freiwillig zum Heer zu melden, rueckte im Februar 1915 ins Feld und blieb von da an bis Kriegsende Soldat. Er wurde nicht weniger als drei Mal verwundet, ging dennoch immer wieder hinaus, bekam das Bayerische Verdienstkreuz und das Eiserne Kreuz II. und rueckte auf bis zum Vizewachtmeister. Nachdem er aus dem Krieg zurueckgekehrt war, vollendete er seine Ausbildung erst in der Schule bis zum Abitur, dann studierte er Zahnheilkunde und liess sich in Wuppertal-Barmen als Zahnarzt nieder. Weder vor noch nach seiner Niederlassung hat er sich jemals politisch betaetigt, insbesondere gehoerte er auch weder der sozialistischen noch der kommunistischen Partei an, noch betaetigte er sich irgendwie in oder fuer eine dieser Parteien. Schon vor der Revolution von 1933 war ihm bekannt, dass in nationalsozialistischen Kreisen Barmens eine Antipathie gegen ihn bestand, die er nicht nur auf die Tatsache seines Judeseins zurueckfuehrte, sondern auch darauf, dass einer der fuehrenden Nationalsozialisten Barmens, ein Zahnarzt Viering, der geraume Zeit ihm gegenueber seine Praxis ausgeuebt hatte und durch die Beliebtheit meines Brudes bei seinen Patienten wohl schwer eine Praxis bekommen konnte.

Der genannte Viering hatte schon vor der Revolution von 1933 einmal ein Strafverfahren, weil er gegen meinen Bruder die Verleumdung ausgesprochen hatte, dass mein Bruder geschlechtskrank sei. Mein Bruder unterzog sich einer eingehenden Untersuchung, in der die voellige Unwahrheit dieser Verleumdung festgestellt wurde. Viering wurde daraufhin bestraft. Viering versuchte es noch mit einer anderen Verleumdung, dass mein Bruder in seiner Eigenschaft als Kassenarzt falsche Berichte gemacht hatte. Es wurde dann festgestellt, dass auch diese Verleumdung grundlos war, nachdem der zahnaerztliche

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Verband die Sache eingehend untersucht und restlos zu Gunsten meines Bruders aufgeklaert hatte.

Nach Beginn der Revolution fingen sofort Haussuchungen bei meinem Bruder an, die jedoch nichts zu Tage foerderten, was man irgend wie ihm haette zur Last legen koennen. Bei diesen Haussuchungen beteiligten sich vor allem die folgenden Nationalsozialisten: Fischer, Viering, Birkenstock und Noelle. Diese Haussuchungen fanden in einer Zeit statt, in der mein Bruder eine Auslandsreise machte, um zu sehen, ob er eine Moeglichkeit einer Auswanderung finden koennte. Mein Bruder kehrte dann zurueck und ging sogar, trotz Warnungen, nach Barmen zurueck, da er den Standpunkt einnahm, dass er ein ehrlicher und aufrechter Mann sei und dass es feige von ihm sein wuerde, fortzulaufen.

Waehrend er in Barmen war, fuehlte er sich in so starkem Masse verfolgt, dass er eines Nachts nicht zu Haus sondern bei einem Freunde schlief. In dieser Nacht fand wiederum eine Haussuchung bei ihm statt. Diese Haussuchung verlief schon in einer Weise, bei der man den Willen zur Sachbeschaedigungdeutlich merkte. Mein Bruder ging am naechsten Tage zur Polizei und bat, ihn in sogenannte freiwillige Schutzhaft zu nehmen, weil er sich seines Lebens nich sicher fuehlte. Die Polizei kam dem auch nach und er verbrachte die Zeit von Ende Maerz bis zum 10. Mai in Schutzhaft.

Dabei muss ich allerdings bemerken, dass die Freiwilligkeit der Schutzhaft waehrend dieser Zeit abgeloest wurde durch Unfreiwilligkeit, da man eine Untersuchung politischer Art gegen ihn anzustellen begann. Diese Untersuchung war deshalb ausserordentlich quaelend fuer ihn, weil es fuenf Wochen lang dauerte, bis es ihm ueberhaupt gelang zu erreichen, dass er das erste Mal vernommen wurde. Auch dies gelang nur durch das Eingreifen von Freunden, darunter nicht juedischen Freunden, die auf die Behoerden einwirkten, seine Vernehmung endlich durchzufuehren.

Die Untersuchung brachte nichts zu Tage, da, wie schon erwaehnt, es eben nichts gab, was haette zu Tage kommen koennen, und so wurde er dann am 10. Mai 1933 aus der Haft entlassen. In der Nacht nach der Haftentlassung fand wieder eine Haussuchung bei ihm statt, bei der man ihn nicht antraf, da er es vorzog, bei einer ihm befreundeten christlichen Familie zu uebernachten. Bei dieser Gelegenheit wurde furchtbar in seiner Wohnung gewuetet und alle moeglichen wertvollen Gegenstaende wie Grammophon, Grammophon-Platten zerstoert, Teppiche zerschnitten, Lampen zerbrochen, die eingebaute Kueche herausgerissen. Viele wertvolle Gegenstaende wurden ihm entwendet und man ging so weit, selbst seine Anzuege und Schuhe mitzunehmen.

Nach diesem Vorkommnis zog es mein Bruder vor, aus Barmen fortzugehen und nachdem er erst einige Tage anderswo verbracht hatte,

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fing er dann an, in Duesseldorf beruflich zu arbeiten mit dem Ziel der Vorbereitung seiner Auswanderung. Seine Frau, die ebenfalls Zahnaerztin war, hatte ihre Praxis sonst in Duesseldorf und mein Bruder und sie beschlossen nun, bis zur Auswanderung einander gegenseitig zu vertreten, da sie auf den Erwerb bei ihren geringen Mitteln nicht verzichten konnten.

Am 16. Mai ging in seiner Praxis in Duesseldorf das Telefon. Es meldete sich der oben schon erwaehnte Noelle, fragte, ob mein Bruder da sei und als er eine bejahende Antwort erhielt, sagte er: das habe ich nur wissen wollen und haengte an. Nachmittags rief er erneut an und kurze Zeit nach dem Anruf verliess mein Bruder die Praxis und ging zu einer befreundeten Familie. Dorthin wurde er verfolgt und kurze Zeit, nachdem er dorthin gekommen war, fuhr ein Auto vor, in dem sich fuenf Personen befanden, darunter die oben genannten vier, die schon frueher an den Haussuchungen teilgenommen hatten.

Viering blieb am Steuer, die anderen vier gingen in die Wohnung, warfen meinen Bruder nieder und schleppten ihn mit Gewalt gefesselt in das Auto. Die anwesenden Personen fesselten sie ebenfalls und da eine von ihnen bevor sie gefesselt war, versucht hatte, das Telefon zu erreichen, um Hilfe herbeizurufen, zerstoerte man das Telefon, um jede Kommunikation mit der Aussenwelt zu verhindern. Die fuenf Personen fuhren schleunigst mit dem Auto fort in einem so rasenden Tempo, dass es ueberall auffiel, es gelang auch nicht, das Auto einzuholen oder anzuhalten oder auch nur festzustellen, wohin es schliesslich entschwand.

Die Nummer wurde von mehreren Leuten erkannt, es stellte sich aber dann bei der Nachpruefung heraus, dass sie gefaelscht war. Wir fanden aber bei der Polizei nur eine rein formale und in keiner Weise praktische, wirksame Unterstuetzung und so gelang es nicht, seinen Verbleib festzustellen.

Wir hatten zu Anfang den nationalsozialistischen Rechtsanwalt Kintzen in Duesseldorf genommen, der jedoch spaeter das Mandat zurueckgab, wie wir zuverlaessig wissen, weil man ihm von Parteiseite nahegelegt hat, sich mit der Sache nicht zu beschaeftigen.

Einige Tage nach dem Verschwinden meines Bruders teilte dann ein Foerster mit, dass in der Bewer-Talsperre, das ist zwischen Duesseldorf und Barmen, ein toter Koerper eines Mannes angeschwemmt sei. Es stellte sich dann heraus, dass dies die Leiche meines Bruders war, die man ins Wasser geworfen hatte; nachdem man einen Sack ueber den Kopf gezogen und an die Fuesse eine Kopierpresse gebunden hatte, um so das Wiederauftauchen zu verhindern. Es muss ganz besonderen Umstaenden zuzuschreiben gewesen sein, dass dennoch der Koerper zum Vorschein kam. Wir selbst bekamen ihn nicht

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ausgehaendigt, er wurde vielmehr erst nach einigen Tagen dem Duesseldorfer Oberrabbiner uebergeben gegen die strikte Verpflichtung, den Angehoerigen den Leichnam nicht zu zeigen. Wir haben dann spaeter, nicht durch den Rabbiner, sondern von anderen, die die Leiche gesehen haben, gehoert, dass er Dolchstoesse im Unterleib und an verschiedenen anderen Koerperteilen gehabt hatte und dass er zwei Kopfschuesse gehabt hatte und dass der Koerper in gemeiner Weise misshandelt und verunstaltet war. Das Gericht hat sich mit dem Fall nicht beschaeftigen wollen, die Akten wurden daraufhin nach Berlin gesandt und sollen angeblich unterwegs verloren gegangen sein.

Die Beerdigung fand auf Veranlassung der Behoerde in aller Heimlichkeit und Stille statt. Zeitungen, die etwas ueber den Fall brachten, wurden beschlagnahmt. Der Text, in dem wir die Todesanzeige haetten aufsetzen sollen, wurde uns vorgeschrieben. Wir zogen es aber vor, ueberhaupt nur die Tatsache des Ablebens mitzuteilen.

Ich erklaere nochmals, dass alles vorstehend Geschilderte die reine Wahrheit ist und ich nichts hinzugesetzt und nichts veraendert habe.

gez. Erna Meyer

References

  • Updated 1 year ago
The United Kingdom declared war on Nazi Germany on 3 September 1939, after the German invasion of Poland. After the defeat of France in the spring of 1940, the British Expeditionary Force withdrew from the European Continent. Although the Channel Islands near the French coast did fall into German hands, from the summer of 1940 until 1945, mainland Britain resisted German invasion and became a refuge for many governments-in-exile and refugees of the occupied countries in Europe. At the outbrea...