Hermann Langbein

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Hermann Langbein (18 May 1912 – 24 October 1995) was an Austrian who fought in the Spanish Civil War with the International Brigades for the Spanish Republicans against the Nationalists under Francisco Franco. He was interned in France after the end of the Spanish Civil War, and then sent to German concentration camps after the fall of France in 1940.

Over the next few years he was imprisoned in several different camps (Dachau, Auschwitz and others). He was among the leadership of the International Resistance groups in the camps he was held in. After 1945 he was General Secretary of the International Auschwitz Committee, and later Secretary of the "Comité International des Camps".

Post war[edit]

Initially, Langbein was a full-time work at the CPA and a member of the Party Central Committee. He was involved in the construction of party schools and published his 1947 written-down camp experiences from Auschwitz and other camps under the title The Fittest in 1949 from his own publishing house. In the early 1950s Langbein failed to be re-elected to the Central Committee. After conflicts with the party, Langbein moved to Budapest, where he edited German-language radio broadcasts in Hungarian broadcasting. He returned to Austria in 1954 with his wife and daughter, . Langbein was co-founder of the International Auschwitz Committee (IAC) in 1954, and became its first secretary general. From 1955 to the early 1960s Langbein was secretary of the Austrian Camp Community Auschwitz. In these functions, Langbein brought the concentration camp crimes to public notice and fought for compensation for former concentration camp victims. He was excluded from KPÖ in 1958 when he started—in the wake of the Hungarian Uprising of 1956—to challenge Stalinism. Alienated from KPO, Langbein 1960 was relieved of his post as general secretary of the IAC and excluded the following year also from its management. In 1963 Langbein was Secretary of the "Comité International des Camps". On October 18, 1961, the West German Radio broadcast a three-hour feature about Auschwitz conceived by Langbein and HG Adler: Topography of an extermination camp. [2] In the mid-1960s, langbeinn, along with Fritz Bauer, played an essential part in bringing about the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials and he appeared there as a witness. He then worked as a writer and journalist. Langbein 1967, was awarded by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations. From 1989 to 1995 he organized together with Johannes Schwantner the seminar "ideology and reality of National Socialism" for Educators. Since 1996, the conference in Memoriam Hermann Langbein called "Hermann Langbein Symposium", it takes place every year in Linz. Moreover, Langbein belonged to the Museum Council of the Auschwitz-Birkenau and worked on the redesign of the exhibition. The author and writer Kurt Langbein is his son.


He wrote several books about his experiences in the camps. The most important and influential is:

People in Auschwitz. Tranl. Henry Friedlander. University of North Carolina Press, 2003, ISBN 0-8078-2816-5.

External links[edit]


  • (taken from wikipedia.de entry)