Soon after the Nazis seized power in 1933, Bredel was imprisoned at Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. He was released in spring 1934. Fleeing from Nazi Germany, he went to Czechoslovakia and then Moscow, where he lived at the Hotel Lux. He published Die Prüfung (1934), a novel describing the Nazi concentration camp, which was reprinted several times and translated into other languages. He also published accounts of his experiences in the Deutsche Zentral Zeitung, a German-language newspaper published in Moscow.
Bredel took part in the Spanish Civil War as commissar of the Thälmann Battalion as well as the Second World War, in which he fought on the Soviet side. After the war, he returned to Germany as part of the Sobottka Group, sent to lay the groundwork for the Soviet occupation of Mecklenburg. He later lived in East Germany and died in Berlin.
Awards and decorations
- 1955 Patriotic Order of Merit in silver
- 1956 Hans Beimler Medal
- 1960 Banner of Labor
- 1961 Patriotic Order of Merit in gold
- 1964 Burial at the Memorial of the Socialists (Friedrichsfelde Central Cemetery)
- Die Prüfung
- The Death of General Moreau and other stories
- Verwandte und Bekannte Trilogy
- Klaus Drobisch, Günther Wieland, System der NS-Konzentrationslager: 1933-1939 Akademie Verlag (1993), pp. 243–244. ISBN 3-05-000823-7. Retrieved December 21, 2011 (German)
- Antifascism and Memory in East Germany - Remembering the International Brigades 1945-1989 - McLellan, Josie; Oxford Historical Monographs, Page 31
- "Namensliste der drei KPD-Einsatzgruppen vom 27. April 1945" German Federal Archives. BArch NY 4036/517. Retrieved November 22, 2011 (German)
- Willi Bredel Gesellschaft Official website (German)