The baker’s apprentice Siegbert Kindermann was born on 4 February 1915 in Berlin and grew up in a large family with fourteen brothers and sisters. His father was a master sign painter and the family lived at Franseckystrasse 5 (now Sredzkistrasse) in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin.
Siegbert Kindermann had ties to the Communist Party of Germany and on 18 March 1933 was abducted by members of the SA. At the time, the SA was already serving as an auxiliary police force in Germany.
At around 6 pm, Siegbert’s father, Moritz Kindermann, appeared at Police Precinct 72 to report that his son had been arrested by SA troopers in front of the family’s home and taken to their pub at Schönhauser Allee 159. According to the police, the pub was searched, but Siegbert Kindermann was not found. Passersby reported that he had been taken away on a motorcycle immediately after his arrest.
Because the information we have on the crime is contradictory, it is impossible to precisely reconstruct the course of events. It is certain that Siegbert Kindermann was taken to Hedemannstrasse 5 in Kreuzberg, the location of an SA barracks used as an early concentration camp. The address is mentioned in a document linked to his death in our archives.
The front of this document – a narrow strip of paper printed on both sides – contains a death certificate issued by the registry office on 24 March 1933. It lists the immediate cause of death as a
“leap out the window.”
The back shows a burial permit that was issued by the district inspector the same day. It mentions “Hedemannstrasse 5” as the place of death and notes that the police had no objections to an immediate burial.
Further information is contained in a file from 1933 in the Berlin State Archive. It indicates that Siegbert Kindermann was arrested because he was allegedly the
“leader of a Communist Party terror group” that was held responsible for several attacks on the SA between 1931 and 1932.
Six other people were arrested the same day. The only witnesses questioned were members of the SA. The attached autopsy report makes clear that the eighteen-year-old was mistreated before his death. From the file we also learn that the SA took his body to the morgue before the inspector arrived, meaning there was no proper examination of the crime scene. In line with information in the death certificate, the SA claimed that Kindermann had jumped out of a bathroom window on the third floor.
The authorities and the SA obviously covered up Siegbert Kindermann’s murder and made it out to be a suicide. His family ran a death notice in the Berliner Tageblatt but kept quiet about the circumstances of his death:
“On March 18, our beloved, optimistic son and brother, the baker’s apprentice Siegbert Kindermann, died at the age of eighteen as a result of a tragic turn of events . . . Please refrain from paying condolence visits.”
The funeral took place on 26 March 1933 in the Jewish cemetery in Weißensee.
Sabrina Akermann (2020), Siegbert Kindermann’s Death Certificate.
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Online Project: Documenting Brutality (7)
Historical sources on the antisemitic violence in Germany between 1930 and 1938 in the holdings of the JMB
A “Letter of Protection” for Heinrich Katz
Prisoner Registration Slip Issued to Erich Simenauer
Report by Alfred Binswanger
Siegbert Kindermann’s Death Certificate
The Roos Family’s Photo Album
Letter of Complaint by Jakob Steinhardt
The Becker Family’s Bread Bowl