Office remains tough: Hamburger must continue to bear Adolf Hitler's first name

Office remains tough: Hamburger must continue to bear Adolf Hitler’s first name

A man must continue to be called “Adolf” because the name does not demonstrably make him ill. The justification goes back to a law under Adolf Hitler that Minister of Justice Buschmann now wants to change.

Problems in citizen registration offices could hardly be more different than in Taiwan and Hamburg: In Taiwan, changing names is a lot of work for officials when masses of residents spontaneously prefer to be called like a fish. In February 2021, a restaurant chain used a PR campaign to trigger a wave of name changes that became known as the “salmon chaos”: Those with “salmon” in their name were allowed to eat for free. Since then, there have been a three-digit number of new Mr. and Mrs. Salmon in Taiwan – at least if they haven’t already changed their names. It’s very simple.

In Hamburg, on the other hand, a man’s middle name must still be called Adolf, although he absolutely doesn’t want it to be. Administrative employees have a lot of work to explain why he has to keep the hated first name because of a law that was passed under Adolf Hitler. The 1938 law was intended to prevent Jews from evading stigma and persecution by using non-Jewish names. Due to an application under the Freedom of Information Act, Hamburg’s interior authority now had to publish the reasoning. It appeared on the transparency portal “”.

Name should honor prominent ancestors

The history is quickly told and was already in the “Stern”: “Felix Adolf” was christened more than 40 years ago by the first name of a man from Hamburg. There was a prominent ancestor “Adolf” who was so honored over generations. Papa Adolf was therefore not suspicious of wanting to pay homage to Hitler by naming Adolf Junior. But it is precisely this suspicion that Felix Adolf sees himself exposed to. At the age of 18, after his father’s death, he wanted to give up his name for the first time, but was unsuccessful at the time.

But when do you ever come across your middle name? According to Felix Adolf, this has happened hundreds of times a month for the past few years. That is very often, and that is why, at least in this text, we only write Felix A.

The entrepreneur does the bookkeeping for his company and naturally has to deal with bank documents all the time. “As a result of changed legal regulations”, the account-keeping institute lists all first names on all bank statements and transfers, he explained. And she doesn’t let herself be talked to. Business partners have even asked him if he really has that middle name and why.

Up to 410 euros fee for change

So Felix A. wanted to get rid of A. and asked the state of Hamburg.

But they preferred not to decide at all and warned in advance: If he really wanted a decision, then he would get a rejection, and that would be expensive: The administration fee could be up to 410 euros, not including fees for other necessary documents – and in the event of withdrawal or rejection, at least half will still be due.

Felix A. was worth it. He brought the required documents. And these are in such a case:

  • A certified copy of the birth register (“current, not older than four weeks”),
  • a registration certificate for the place of residence for the last five years (“complete, up-to-date, not older than four weeks”),
  • a certificate of good conduct (“document type 0, current, not older than three months, receipt is sufficient as proof”),
  • the birth certificate of the minor child (copy),
  • and, if applicable, original medical certificates.

But it must not be just any certificate. Felix A.’s cardiologist had confirmed that he repeatedly had high blood pressure without the corresponding organic diseases. The “A.” drives up the man’s blood pressure, there is a psychosomatic explanation. In order for Felix A. to do well, A. has to go.

You didn’t see it that way in the office. They expressed regret to the commissioned lawyer “that your client suffers from health problems”. But to eradicate the A., the administration does not have the expertise of the heart specialist. “A certificate from a specialist in psychiatry or a psychological psychotherapist would be required.”

And the administration found Felix A. dramatizing the name itself. After all, there are also good “aces”, scientists and artists and even resistance fighters in National Socialism, the answer says.

If you look at Wikipedia, the heyday of men with this name comes to an abrupt end in 1945: 162 prominent names are listed, only six of them were born after 1945. It feels like they are all Austrians and have something to do with football.

In the office, however, it was found that Felix was looking at his “A.” “consciously too one-dimensional”. The name was not “explicitly and exclusively associated with Adolf Hitler and inextricably linked (with the) (…) atrocities (sic) of the Nazi regime”.

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