Hermann Otto Baltutt
Hermann Otto Baltutt (1904-1945?) was born in Memel, East Prussia, Germany. He went by his middle name, Otto. He was a skilled machinist who also served a term in the German Army before World War II. Otto was married to Gertrud Jakumeit, also of Memel and they ultimately had four daughters.
- Name: Hermann Otto Baltutt
- Birth Name: Hermann Otto Baltuttis
- Sex: Male
- Father: Christian Karl Baltuttis
- Mother: Berta Marie Willuhn
- Birth: 13 October 1904 in Memel, East Prussia, Germany
- Death: After 13 February 1945 (location unknown)
- Spouse: Gertrud Jakumeit
- Marriage: 27 October 1934 in Memel, East Prussia, Germany
- Edith Gertrud Baltutt (1934 - 2020)
- Rita Inge Baltutt (b. 1936)
- Irmgard Baltutt (b. 1938)
- Waltraut Baltutt (1940 - 2015)
Otto's birth surname was Baltuttis, and it was under that name that he was married in Memel. The change to his surname, removing the -is, was probably done while he was serving in the German Army (1934-1938). The reason for the name was due to this ending being a common way for Lithuanian surnames to end (along with -as, -is, -es, and -us), and as German cultural behavior at the time was not friendly to non-Germanic culture, especially Slavic culture (such as Lithuanian), he was urged (by his military superiors, according to family legend) to have the name changed . His homeland of Memel was at the time actually rather mixed in culture, with predominantly German-speakers in the cities, and Lithuanian-speakers in the towns and countryside. But due to intermarriage at all levels, the ethnicities were all over the map, with many ethnic Germans having Lithuanian names, and many ethnic Lithuanians having German names. There were in fact some relatives of his who were already using Baltutt instead of Baltuttis -- as can be surmised, the name is related to the Baltic Sea, and pertains to the ancient Balts. According to Wikipedia:
"The Balts or Baltic people (Lithuanian: baltai, Latvian: balti) are a group of Indo-European peoples primarily characterized as speakers of the Baltic languages. ...Among the Baltic peoples are modern Lithuanians and Latvians..."
In connection with his wife's surname, Jakumeit, it is noteworthy that there were also people in Memel who had the surname Jakumeitis, who were nevertheless ethnic German, despite having a Lithuanian-type name. There was a great deal of social distinction between ethnic Germans and Lithuanians -- once, when Gertrud's son-in-law Mike Clark suggested that the family might actually be Lithuanian rather than German, she became highly offended! Ironically, Gertrud could speak Lithuanian well enough to converse in the language.
Despite Germany being at war, and Otto being an experienced military veteran in good health, due to his profession, age, and employment he was not required to serve further in the military, and spent the entire war employed as a machinist in a munitions factory in Königsberg, East Prussia. When the Soviet Army invaded East Prussia, he and his family were only able to flee to the town Preussisch Holland in East Prussia as the Soviets overtook them on their way to Berlin in January 1945.
In February 1945 the Soviet occupation authority required all German civilian adults to "register", which he and Gertrud obediently did, whereupon they were both taken into forced labor. Gertrud ended up in the Soviet Union in the Ural Mountains, but the last anyone saw of Otto was him being used under military guard with other men to clear rubble from the streets of Preussisch Holland. His fate remains unknown.