Because Irma Eckler had to remain single, her
daughter Ingrid, born 29th October 1935, was illegitimate. The father
acknowledged paternity and Ingrid's parents had her baptised Protestant.
As was usual at the time, the child was placed
under guardianship from birth until she was of age at 21.
In August 1937 Irma was expecting her second
child. On the 12th June 1937 they had celebrated Irma's 24th birthday.
On the same day, 12th June 1937, a secret edict
was announced intemally:
- "Secret directive from the Head of
Security Police, 12th June 1937, concerning Protective Custody of
'Rassenschänder' : . . . In the case of 'Rassenschande' between a German
male and a Jewish fernale, she is to be taken into Protective Custody immediately
after legal proceedings have been completed. The directive is not for public
(The term 'Protective Custody' was misleading.
The intent was not to protect the "women (Rassenschänderin) from the wrath
of the people", the intent was criminal imprisonment.)
- "Only the man could be punished for 'Rassenschande'.
However, the woman was also threatened with prosecution for perjury or
aiding and abetting if she tried to protect her partner. The culpability of
women, who Hitler considered as always being the 'passive partner' in sexual
matters, was not abolished until Hitler's intervening decree of 16th
February 1940. For years the Reich Ministry of Justice had been ignoring his
instruction that women were not to be punished. With the final verdict of a
case against a man of 'German Blood', the Jewess was generally taken into 'Protective
At the beginning ot July 1937, August Landmesser
tried secretly to leave Hamburg tor Denmark, where he hoped to find work, so
that Irma and the children could join him later. The plan failed because he
acted thoughtlessly under presure. (Public-record office Hamburg 213-1)
He was arrested on 28th July 1937. From prison,
on the 3rd August 1937, he put in a plea for clemency with the Amtsgericht (p.
3. August 1937
"An das Amtsgericht Hamburg Abt. 84
Ich bitte die Strafe, zu der ich am 3.8.1937 verurteilt bin, zu
Meine Verlobte erwartet in allernächster Zeit unser zweites Kind. Jetzt
möchte ich noch gern vorher heiraten aber sie doch nicht mit beiden Kindern
alleine lassen. Dann bitte ich noch zu berücksichtigen, dass ich noch nie
gefehlt habe und diesmal die Tat unüberlegt, gewissermaßen in geistiger
Wirrnis entstanden, erstens durch die ewigen Fragen der Bekannten, wie ich
durchkommen und alles bezahlen will, wenn das zweite Kind erst da ist. Dann
kam noch hinzu, dass ich eine Kollision mit einem Motorradfahrer hatte und
ich den Schaden, der am Wagen meines Chefs entstanden ist, auch noch von den
20 M, die ich im Monat zum Leben hatte, bezahlen müsste. Da ich den
Strafvollzug in der Untersuchungshaft jetzt kennen gelernt habe, bitte ich
nochmals, es diesmal mit einer Bewährungsfrist bewenden zu lassen. August
3rd August 1937
"To Amtsgericht (Lower Court) Hamburg,
I request a remittance of the punishment I was sentenced to on 3rd August
1937. My fiancee is expecting our second child any time now. Now I would
like to marry her before this occurs and not leave her alone with the two
children. I also ask that it be taken into consideration that I have never
done wrong and that in this case the crime was committed thoughtlessly
and, as it were, in a state of mental confusion, first due to the constant
questions of acquaintances about how I' m going to manage and pay for
everything once the second child arrives. Then, on top of this, I had a
collision with a motor cyclist and I had to pay for the damage to my boss'
s car from the 20 RM a month that I had to live on. As I have now got to
know imprisonment while on remand, I ask again that I be let off with
probation. August Landmesser (Public-record office Hamburg 213-11 )
He also tried to get a "Permit to marry a
Jewess" from the authorities in Berlin. Permission was not granted. (D
On the 6th
August 1937 daughter Irene was born. In July 1937, criminal proceedings tor
"Rassenschande" had already been initiated. (Noted in the judgement ot
the Landgericht in the Public-record office 213-1- ret. 11 clause 47/38)
On the 15th September 1937 a warrant was issued
against the father and he was taken into custody on a charge of
"Rassenschande". (Prison Administration II records incuide an entry
confirming the imprisonment in Fühlsbüttel jail.) (Public-record office
Harnburg 242-1 II)
At the trial, August Landmesser stated that he
was not aware of Irma' s Jewish descent. He had presumed she was "half-Jewish".
Neither was Irma conscious of the fact that she was classed as a "full Jew"
because her paternal grandfather was " Aryan".
The verdict of the Landgericht (District Court)
on 27th May 1938 was acquittal on the grounds of insufficient evidence. (Public-record
Thus, the secret directive of July 1937 could not
After being released, the father first went to
Mrs. Graumann, Irma's mother, to see the children. The parents met again and on
this occasion the only
existing photo of the entire family was taken. It was also the last one
showing the mother with her two daughters.
But August was
imprisoned again, after a short time...