He was born in Bremen in 1835 as Jürgen Heinrich Keberle. During his apprenticeship as a port tobacco inspector, he fell through a skylight. His accident left him with slight brain damage and a stiff leg. From then on, he could be found in the market square every day, where he would take cigars from the merchants as they entered the stock exchange, where smoking was not permitted. He then made his own cigars from the stubs he had collected, which he sold. When times were very hard, he would also ask people for a "loan" now and again. Heini Holtenbeen died in 1909 in a poor asylum.