Hans Beimler (communist)

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Hans Beimler and fight scene of the International Brigades in the background as depicted on an East German stamp

Hans Beimler (2 July 1895 – 1 December 1936) was an active member of the Communist Party of Germany and a deputy in the Reichstag.[1]

Beimler was born in Munich and served in the Kaiserliche Marine during the First World War. A fervent anti-Nazi and Communist, he was elected Reichstag deputy for the Communists at the German federal election in July 1932. Hitler came to power in January 1933 and Beimler was arrested in April 1933 and sent to the Dachau concentration camp.[2] He managed to escape in May 1933 by strangling his SA guard and escaping in his uniform.

He wrote an account of his experiences at Dachau which appeared in the Soviet Union in August 1933: Im Mörderlager Dachau: Vier Wochen unter den braunen Banditen. It was one of the very first published accounts of life inside a Nazi concentration camp and was translated into several languages, including English, Spanish French and Yiddish.

He went to Spain as commissar of the first contingent of the International Brigades volunteers who supported the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War. While helping to defend Madrid from the Nationalists in November 1936, he was killed during the Battle of Madrid. There were later speculations, which accused the NKVD, the secret service of the USSR, of responsibility for his death.[citation needed]

He is buried at the Montjuïc Cemetery, Barcelona.

He became well-known because of a song of Ernst Busch (after a melody by Friedrich Silcher), which was then recorded by the radio station in Barcelona.

The XI International Brigade was named in his honour.

His son, Hans Beimler, Jr. was arrested in Moscow in the NKVD Hitler Youth Conspiracy. He was later released, along with the son of Max Maddalena, another prominent Communist, and two others.[3] His grandson Hans Beimler is a well-known American screenwriter.


  • Beevor, Antony (2006). The Battle for Spain.


  1. ^ McLellan, Josie (2004-10-07). AntiFascism and Memory in East Germany: Remembering the International Brigades 1945-1989. oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 101. ISBN 9780199276264.
  2. ^ The Dachau concentration camp, 1933 to 1945. Comité International de Dachau. 2005. p. 109.
  3. ^ Hans Schafranek, Natalia Musienko, "The Fictitious 'Hiter-Jugend' of the Moscow NKVD" in: Barry McLoughlin, Kevin McDermott (Eds.), Stalin's Terror: High Politics and Mass Repression in the Soviet Union. Palgrave MacMillan (2003), pp. 217-218 ISBN 1-4039-0119-8. Retrieved December 1, 2011

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