Remembering the Legendary “Beautiful Klaus”: Klaus Barkowsky, Head of the Hamburg’s “Nutella Gang,” Passes Away at 69.
A Neighborhood Legend’s Tragic Demise Leaves Hamburg Mourning
Klaus Barkowsky, known affectionately as “Der Schön Klaus” or “the beautiful Klaus,” and the revered leader of the notorious “Nutella Gang,” has left an indelible mark on the streets of Hamburg. Unfortunately, on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, this neighborhood legend met a tragic end at the age of 69. Multiple media outlets have reported the untimely demise of Barkowsky, who, according to DPA, took his own life by jumping from a balcony in Hamburg-Altona. The news has left the community in shock, especially considering Barkowsky’s recent struggles with deteriorating health.
From a Bar on the Reeperbahn to a Fearsome Pimp: Klaus Barkowsky’s Enigmatic Journey
In the Amazon series “Luden,” portraying Barkowsky’s life, actor Aaron Hilmer vividly depicts the captivating story of this enigmatic figure. Riding a gray horse to a lavish party with his girlfriends, Barkowsky longed to revel in the opulence experienced by celebrities alongside the renowned artist, Andy Warhol, at New York’s iconic 54-story studio. “First class flight” served as the guiding principle for this pimp who began his journey in a humble bar on the Reeperbahn and ultimately ascended to become a feared presence in the 1980s.
The Legacy of “Beautiful Klaus”: Founder and Leader of the “Nutella Gang”
Barkowsky, also known as “Handsome Klaus,” not only captivated the neighborhood of Hamburg but also established himself as the revered founder and leader of the notorious “Nutella Gang.” Operating primarily along Herbertstrasse and Reeperbahn in St. Pauli, Barkowsky rented establishments at the Eros Center and employed up to 15 women under his tutelage. Unafraid of confronting rival pimps, he fiercely protected his turf. In an era overshadowed by the AIDS epidemic and its detrimental impact on the business, the gang also engaged in illicit drug trade to make ends meet. Despite later transitioning into the world of art, Barkowsky’s life was not without its hardships and setbacks.
“Lamborghini-Klaus”: A Legend Shrouded in Myth and Controversy
The persona of Barkowsky is laced with captivating tales and intriguing rumors. It is said that he earned the moniker “Lamborghini-Klaus” after a Porsche 911 overtook his first car, a Corvette, during the early 1970s. Determined to possess a vehicle that no one could surpass, he set his sights on a Lamborghini. However, in 1989, Barkowsky’s fortunes took a drastic turn when he was sentenced to prison for his involvement in a stabbing incident that left a 21-year-old woman wounded. Prior to that, he found himself embroiled in a heated dispute with another pimp at a bar, resulting in a gunshot wound. Over time, he grappled with alcohol-related issues and was frequently spotted at Hamburg’s trendy bar, “Elbschlosskeller.”
A Cinematic Tribute to Klaus Barkowsky: The Netflix Series “Luden”
The six-part Amazon series, “Luden – Könige der Reeperbahn,” serves as a cinematic monument to the life and legacy of Klaus Barkowsky. Hamburg actor Aaron Hilmer, who skillfully portrays Barkowsky, describes the character as “a very difficult persona.” Hilmer, in an interview with the German News Agency, states, “There are people who believe their own lies,” alluding to the complex nature of Klaus. “He is highly calculating, yet possesses a radiant charm that enables him to effortlessly overcome obstacles with unwavering confidence,” adds the 23-year-old actor. In his preparation for the role, Hilmer relied on a handful of evocative pictures capturing the essence of Klaus Barkowsky, which proved sufficient to understand and embody the enigmatic figure.
The passing of Klaus Barkowsky has left a void in the heart of Hamburg, marking the end of an era defined by his colorful presence. As the neighborhood mourns the loss of this charismatic legend, his legacy as the head of the “Nutella Gang” and his fascinating life will forever be etched in the annals of Hamburg’s history.