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This digital book of commemoration is dependend on your support. We’d like to ask those who possess photographs, videos, diaries or documents to write an e-mail to us or to upload them by means of the commentary function. We’ll check any information as soon as possible and put them online. The list is not completed, the biographies are somewhat fragmentary or may be partly erroneous. Often the dates of death and especially the causes for death were forged by the murderers and their bureaucrats. In many cases the killers did not even indicate the names of their victims, they were anonymously killed in some forest, in the gas chambers and in antitank ditches. Their bodies were burnt in the crematories or, in other cases, first exhumed from mass graves and then burnt to leave no traces of the mass murder. Here for the first time are documented the names of inhabitants of Wuppertal, who became victims of the nazis, in fact of every group of nazi victims from Wuppertal.
The “Wuppertaler” whose names are shown here and whose biographical dates we intend to collect here did move to Wuppertal from everywhere in the world. According to our definition “Wuppertal” nazi victims are those people who are related to Wuppertal, who were born or died in Wuppertal and who lived at least for some time in Wuppertal. Mentioned, too, are victims of the military justice who were sentenced to death in Wuppertal and executed in Dortmund or Cologne. “Wuppertaler” might be Ukrainians, French, inhabitants of Hamburg or of Minsk. Also enlisted for example are allied soldiers whose planes were shot down above Wuppertal and American soldiers who died during the liberation of Wuppertal.
A peculiar catogory is formed by the honorary Wuppertaler – political activists from the Netherlands who were members of the Wuppertal Committee and who were killed by the nazis. In 1935 to 1936 they had organised acts of solidarity in favour of labourers from Wuppertal who had been sentenced in the Wuppertal Union Trials (www.gewerkschaftsprozesse.de) These Dutch activists were arrested after the occupation of the Netherlands in 1940 and died in concentration or extermination camps.
The most extensive groups of victims are jews and forced labourers. More than 1000 forced labourers and prisoners of war died in Wuppertal. They were hanged or shot by the Gestapo, grinded to death in so called Arbeitserziehungslager (AEL) and concentration camps, but most of them died of forced employment of labour in Wuppertal, during air raids, of accicdents at work or they died because of tuberculosis, dysentery or malnutrition. 174 children of forced labourers did not survive, because they were looked after insufficiently in the factory owned so called “Kinderpflegestätten” (special institutions for child care).
More than 300 Wuppertaler fell victim to the mercy killings of the Euthanasia programme. They died in the gas chambers of the killing institutions of the so called T4-action or they were killed by means of a deadly injection, of poison or of malnutrition. Besides the large group of politically persecuted people we also document the names of the religiously persecuted. In addition to the names of well-known nazi victims Bernard Letterhaus and Helmut Hesse we also researched the names of Jehova’s Witnesses. Up to now widely unknown was the fate of Sinti and Roma people. We found the names of about 60 of them who lived in Wuppertal and were killed during the nazi period. For the first time also the names of those who became victims of military justice are documented publicly. They were rehabilitated only lately by the German parliament.
Last baut not least we document the names of three further groups of nazi victims: those who were forced into the penalty units of Wehrmacht and SS, those who fought for the republican side in the Spanish civil war and those, who fought in one of the European resistance or partisan movements.
Still forgotten are those who were persecuted as so called anti-socials, work dodgers, gays, professional criminals or because of so called racial defilement. They were arrested in round-ups and detained in concentration camps. After having served their sentence of imprisonment they were taken into preventive detention and reimprisoned in concentration camps for extermination by labour. Due to cooperation with several concentration camp memorials we can document their names for the first time. Furthermore we document the names of still different forgotten nazi victims: the names of those who were sentenced to death by special courts as looters or “Volksschädling”.