Willi Bredel

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East German stamp from 1971 depicting Willi Bredel

Willi Bredel (2 May 1901 – 27 October 1964) was a German writer and president of the Akademie der Künste. Born in Hamburg, he was a pioneer of socialist realist literature.


Soon after the Nazis seized power in 1933, Bredel was imprisoned at Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. He was released in spring 1934.[1] 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.[1] He also published accounts of his experiences in the Deutsche Zentral Zeitung,[1] a German-language newspaper published in Moscow.

Bredel took part in the Spanish Civil War as commissar of the Thälmann Battalion[2] 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,[3] sent to lay the groundwork for the Soviet occupation of Mecklenburg. He later lived in East Germany and died in Berlin.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Selected works[edit]

  • Die Prüfung
  • The Death of General Moreau and other stories
  • Verwandte und Bekannte Trilogy

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c 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)
  2. ^ Antifascism and Memory in East Germany - Remembering the International Brigades 1945-1989 - McLellan, Josie; Oxford Historical Monographs, Page 31
  3. ^ "Namensliste der drei KPD-Einsatzgruppen vom 27. April 1945" German Federal Archives. BArch NY 4036/517. Retrieved November 22, 2011 (German)

External links[edit]