KREUZBERGED BERLIN

Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin

TODAY IN KREUZBERG: MARCH 22 – THE SUICIDE OF LITTLE PAUL

1912

The local newspaper BZ am Mittag prints the following short note:

“In Urbanstrasse 65 today in the morning the 12-year-old son of Widow Luchterhand, Paul, jumped out of the third-floor window into the courtyard of the house. The gravely injured boy was brought to Krankenhaus Am Urban where he died soon after his arrival. Fear of school was allegedly the reason for his taking his life. Frau Luchterhand is a widow and a mother of nine. The family are popular with all who know them and the children well-behaved, however they are not fond of going to school.”

An apparently completely insignificant piece of information that tells a crushingly sad story. As a most likely oldest son of a widow Paul Luchterhand had to face the fate that luckily not many children must brave today: he was a child at school and a man at home. In both cases he must have felt inadequate and frightened: in his 1901 book Der Selbstmorn im kindlichen Lebensalter Dr A. Baer from Berlin quotes fear of punishment as the most common cause for suicide among children. 56.5%  of the boys and 66.67% of the girls who killed themselves at the turn of the century in Berlin did so to escape chastisement.

2 comments on “TODAY IN KREUZBERG: MARCH 22 – THE SUICIDE OF LITTLE PAUL

  1. berlioz1935
    March 29, 2014

    I know the feeling. As a child I wanted to be dead many times but did not know how to kill myself. I wanted my mother to feel guilty.

    • notmsparker
      March 29, 2014

      I guess we all have such thoughts as kids. Luckily for the human kind that’s also what they remain.

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