• Deutsch
  • English

Morkerkestraße 17 - Heinrich van Loo

Morkerkestraße 17 is where Heinrich van Loo lived. Photo Susanne Schledt 2009
Morkerkestraße 17 is where Heinrich van Loo lived. Photo Susanne Schledt 2009

Heinrich Wilhelm van Loo was born in Berlin 14 November 1883.  On March 1, 1921 he and his wife, Rosalie Elisa Frieda, nee. Liedtke, (born 16 May 16 1885 in Berlin) moved from Schwerin to Burgstraße in Lübeck.  Heinrich van Loo was a waiter and barkeeper.  On 12 March 1921 he began running the Juno-Bar, Schmiedestraße 4/6, kitty-corner / diagonally opposite from the present Indoor Swimming Pool (Schwimmhalle).  On 28 October of the same year he and his wife moved to the 4th floor of Morkerkestraße 17.  Rosalie van Loo died 12 July 12 1927.

Schmiedestraße 4/6, the location of the Juno-Bar run by Heinrich van Loo Photo Susanne Schledt 2009
Schmiedestraße 4/6, the location of the Juno-Bar run by Heinrich van Loo  Photo Susanne Schledt 2009

Before 1933 there were only some incidences of propaganda by nationalistic political parties which were designed to incite people to commit acts of violence against Jehovah’s Witnesses.  But after the Nazis took over power this became official propaganda. 

In response the leadership of the Jehovah’s Witnesses tried to emphasize the true religious and non-political nature of their faith.  The leadership also expressed their loyalty to the state and government. Zunächst versuchte die Leitung der Bibelforscher durch Betonung des rein religiösen und  unpolitischen Charakters ihrer Organisation sowie durch Loyalitätserklärungen gegenüber Staat und Regierung Anfeindungen zu begegnen.           


On June 24, 1933 the IBV (International Watchtower Society: in German Internationale Bibelforscher-Vereinigung) was outlawed.  By September 13, 1934 no official presence of the IBV could be found in Germany. 

Reasons for outlawing the IBV were:

The teaching that the world is in the last millennium was interpreted by the regime as an intended coup in a religious disguise. Therefore the missionary zeal of the Jehovah’s witnesses was viewed as a threat to the state and was the deciding factor for outlawing the IBV. The regime also claimed that the Jehovah’s Witnesses displayed a subversive attitude by refusing to comply with any of the regime’s laws, which the Jehovah’s Witnesses believed were not congruent with the Ten Commandments, namely refusing to:


  1. Serve in the military
  2. Serve in air defence capacities
  3. Vote in elections
  4. Join Nazi organizations
  5. Take the loyalty oath to the “Führer”
  6. Use the “German Greeting” (Sieg Heil)
  7. Obey the Nuremberg Laws 


On September 15, 1935 the members of the Parliament (Reichstag), having been called to meet in Nuremberg during the 7th Nazi party convention (Reichsparteitag), passed the Nuremberg Laws, which are also known as the Nuremberg Race Laws.

The Nuremberg Laws included the Law to Protect “German Blood” and German honour as well as the Reichsbürgergesetz, which declared that only Aryans could be German citizens.   These laws formed the legal premise for the persecution and extermination of the Jewish people.


In 1935 Heinrich von Loo was sentenced to three months in jail for being a group leader.  As a group leader he had traveled in and around Lübeck coordinating the work of Cells, which were composed of three Jehovah’s Witnesses and fulfilling other tasks, for which he was responsible.  

In December of 1936 he took part in the distribution of an IBV flyer “Resolution” and again in June 1937 in the distribution of “Open Letter.”  While “Resolution” offered directions for resistance and ways to avoid the Nuremberg Laws as well as general encouragement, the “Open Letter” was much bolder in describing the Regime’s persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Heinrich van Loo was therefore charged with distribution of “Resolution” and “Open Letter” in addition to refusing to pledge the oath of allegiance and other offences.

The October 4, 1937 records of the Lübeck Secret Police (Gestapo) Station report the following concerning the arrest of Heinrich van Loo:

“As ordered by the Secret Police Kiel (October 2, 1937 express letter) the waiter Heinrich L.. ., born on November 11, 1883 in Berlin, Jehovah’s Witness, residing here on Morkerkestr. On suspicion of working for the outlawed IBV was placed in protective custody at 2:15 p.m.  At 10 a.m. Criminal Senior Assistant L., Criminal Assistant T . . ., and the undersigned entered the apartment of the waiter L.. .  He was found in bed.  Also in the apartment was his fiancée, Miss Karoline D. . ., born on June 12, 1905 in Groß Sarau, also residing on Morkerkestr.   D. . . is also known to the State Police to be a Jehovah’s Witness.  After L. had dressed, he and D . . . remained in the apartment, while it was thoroughly searched.  The following was found and taken into evidence:  3 monthly issues of the “Watchtower” pamphlet from January, March and April 1937, 1 magazine, “The Golden Age,” from January 15, 1937.  Various other publications from Bern.  Several notebooks and prepared letters by L.  In addition 260 Reichsmark were found and provisionally taken into evidence, since the possibility exists, that these were funds from or for the outlawed IBV.  The waiter, L. was brought to the Marstall prison at 2:45 p.m.”  (Report of the Border Police Commissioner Lübeck dated October 4, 1937, Landesarchiv Schleswig-Holstein Division 358, Number 875.  Quotation from Imberger, Elke, Widerstand “von unten” page 348.)

On February 25, 1938 the Special Court Kiel in Lübeck sentenced Heinrich van Loo to two years and eight months in prison.   

It is most likely that Heinrich van Loo served part of his sentence in the Bützow-Dreibergen prison.  

On July 9, 1940 Heinrich van Loo was taken to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, north of Berlin.  He was given prisoner number 027092 and assigned to Barracks 34.  Thirteen days later on July 22, 1940 Heinrich van Loo was dead.  

The next day his body was cremated.  Heinrich van Loos’ remains were interred in a common grave in the Altglienicke Cemetery in Berlin on December 12, 1940.


  • Address and Residence Registration Records of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck
  •  Garbe, Detlef: Zwischen Widerstand und Martyrium. Die Zeugen Jehovas im "Dritten Reich". Studien zur Zeitgeschichte Bd. Edition 42.4.  München Oldenbourg Verlag 1999.
  • Imberger, Elke: Widerstand "von unten". Widerstand und Dissens aus den Reihen der Arbeiterbewegung und der Zeugen Jehovas in Lübeck und Schleswig-Holstein 1933-1945. Neumünster Karl Wachholtz Verlag 1991. Page 255.
  • Mitgutsch, Andreas / Schiffer, Jochen: Zeugen Jehovas in Lübeck und Umgebung 1933-1945. Lübeck 2000.  Page 35.
  • Wörmann, Heinrich-Wilhelm: Widerstand in Köpenick und Treptow. Bd. 9 der Schriftenreihe über den Widerstand in Berlin 1933 - 1945. Berlin: Gedenkstätte deutscher Widerstand (Hrsg.) 1995. Pages 259 and 261.

Susanne Schledt,  2009

Translation: Glenn Sellick and Martin Harnisch, 2010