Grohé Josef, born 06-11-1902 in Gemünden, Hunsrück as the ninth of 13 children of the small farmer and general goods dealer Friedrich Jakob Grohé and his wife Maria Anna, born Ostien. His cradle was in Gemünden, in the poor Hunsrück, next to the Eifel one of the poorest areas. He attended the elementary school in Gemünden. In addition to school, he helped in the family business and in agriculture. He experienced a well-protected petty-bourgeois childhood, only clouded by the fact that the poverty of his parents made it impossible to attend a secondary school, although Grohé’s performance in elementary school was excellent: Grohé was the only one of the four Rhenish Gauleiters (Friedrich Karl Florian, Josef Grohé , Gustav Simon 02-08-1900 – Paderborn, 18-12-1945, suicide ? and Josef Antonius Heinrich Terboven, Essen, 23-05-1898 – Skaugum, 08-05-1945, suicide, who did not graduate from high school. But it was more defining for Grohé that his voluntary registration to the Imperial Navy, which he had already made in the spring of 1918, was rendered obsolete by the armistice signed on 11-11-1918, since Grohé had been postponed until he was 16 on 06-11-1918 and so was no longer able to intervene in the war, which haunted the young and older Grohé all his life as a missed opportunity: “The defeat of the German Reich shattered his soldier’s dream”
As a commercial apprentice, during the First World War, he saw how the collapse of Germany was prepared in a sophisticated and irresponsible manner. As early as 1921, the almost nineteen-year-old registered to join the German-Völkischer Schutz- und Trutzbund (DVSTB) under DVSTB founder Oberleutnant a. D. Egon Lützeler. He had been a member of the NSDAP’s local branch in Cologne since March 8, 1922 (NSDAP number: 13.340 until October 1923) and immediately one of the workers. When the French marched into the Ruhr area, he could not stand idly by. He reported to secret defense formations of the black Reichswehr and took part in the active resistance (despite Hitler’s ban on sabotage). Blasting, shutdowns of factories and train stations, blocking of roads, all this now made up the activity of the young Rhinelander Grohé, who was enthusiastic about the matter. Eventually he was wanted by the occupation authorities and had to flee. Because if it had fallen into the hands of the French, then 20 years of Cayenne would have been safe for him. So he first came to Munich, reported to the NSDAP office and, at the instigation of Adolf Hitler, was sent on to Württemberg, where he was housed on an estate. At the turn of the year 1923/1924 the passive resistance was lifted and Grohé was able to return to his homeland. When the NSDAP was re-established in 1925, Josef Grohé rejoined the party on 27-02-1925 (he kept his party number) and became “Gau CEO” under Heinz Haake, Gauleiter of the now Gaues Rheinland-Süd. At the end of the war in May 1945, Heinz Haake was arrested by the British. Interned in Recklinghausen, he was transferred from there to the prison hospital at Velen, where he died on 17-09-1945, age 53.
When Dr. Robert Ley, Head of the German Labour Front was his successor in the autumn, the 22-year-old Grohé remained as his indispensable deputy. At the same time he became editor of the “Westdeutscher Beobachter”, the West German fighting organ of National Socialism, and so he fought not only as a speaker, but also with a pen. A plethora of criminal proceedings have attempted to wear him down. He stood before the gates of the court more than a hundred times, was tried one way or another, so that he no longer counted the sentences, and a series of imprisonment sentences took him back behind the walls of the “Klingelpütz”, Cologne’s judicial prison. He was assaulted and beaten up several times; but despite thick bandages, he continued to do his job, and in the evening, wrapped in bandages, he stood on the lectern again to speak by the thousands.In 1929 he became a city councilor in Cologne and thus gained a new control room for his fights. When the Gau Rhineland was set up in several Gaue and the previous Gauleiter Dr. Robert Ley was appointed Reich Inspector West of the NSDAP, Grohé took over the Gau Cologne-Aachen (his deputy was Richard Schaller). Schaller survived the war and died age 86.
Josef Grohé (center) and Franz Binz (left) at the district party conference of the NSDAP on 13/14. June 1937 in Gemünd. The first year of construction again presented him with new difficult tasks. In his heavily industrial district, the number of unemployed was particularly high and job creation was particularly difficult to organize. In addition, there is always passive resistance from the clergy, who are unable to come to terms with the new circumstances. But this resistance was also broken. On 30-01-1941, he was awarded the War Merit Cross (KVK) 1st class without swords, and on 02-07-1942, due to his activities to care for the civilian population of his district, the War Merit Cross (KVK) 1st class with swords. Because of the dissatisfaction of the National Socialist leadership with the allegedly “flabby” infantry General Alexander von Falkenhausen, Grohé was also appointed Reich Commissioner for the occupied territories in Belgium and northern France on 19-07-1944 in order to attract more people and material for the war economy. However, since Brussels was occupied by the Allies on 03-09-1944, he was hardly able to work in this office. Although Grohé called for a final battle against the advancing US troops in the spring of 1945, he set off on 05-03-1945 in a motorboat from Cologne on the left bank of the Rhine. After the end of the war he hid temporarily as a farm worker pseudonym “Otto Gruber” in Holzhausen in Hesse. He was arrested by the British on 21-08-1946. He was first interned in Belgium and extradited to Germany in 1949. He was sentenced on 18-09-1950 in Bielefeld to 4½ years imprisonment for having been part of the NSDAP’s leadership corps, which was detrimental to knowledge. The remainder of the prison term was suspended for three years. He then became a successful company representative in the toy industry in Cologne as a commercial employee.
Grohé was one of the committed National Socialists who helped build the party and remained loyal to it until immediately before the collapse. He remained a supporter of National Socialism until the end of his life.
Death and burial ground of Grohé, Josef.
Josef Grohé died on 27-12-1987, age 85, in Cologne-Brück, he rests in a shared grave with his wife Hanny, who preceded him in 1978.
On 04-08-1928, Grohé had married the chemist Dr. Johanna “Hanny” Fremdling (1901-1978), whom he met in the office of the “West German Observer” located on the Ubierring,