[ this website is published on occasion of the 120th Birthday of Hans Beimler ]
July 2, 2015
born. July 2, 1895 in Munich
On December 1, 1936 - killed in action of the Spanish Civil War
In Madrid's outlying trenches
In the hour of danger grim,
With the Interational Shock Brigades
His heart with hatred all ablaze
Stood Hans,the Commissar (2x)
Because he fought for freedom
He was forced to leave his home
Near the blood-stained Manzanares
Where he led the fight to hold Madrid
Died Hans, the Commissar.
A bullet came a-flying
From his Fascist "Fatherland"
THe shot struck home, the aim was true
The rifle barrel well-made, too
A German army gun (2x)
With heart and hand I pledge you,
While I load my gun again:
You will never be forgotten
Nor the enemy forgiven
Hans Beimler, our Comrade (2x)
Growing up as an agricultural laborer and then becoming a metalworker, Hans Beimler was drafted into the German Navy in 1914 and helped end WWI as a member of the Workers' and Soldiers' Council. He fought in the Bavarian Soviet Republic militia and may have done sabotage work for the Red Ruhr Army. Beimler helped found the Spartacus League and the German Communist Party and was elected to the Reichstag. He escaped arrest in 1933 and infiltrated the Bavarian police department, but was caught and sent to Dachau concentration camp. His body was permanently scarred with torture but he was never broken. He escaped from his cell by strangling an SS officer and walking out in his uniform. His book "Four weeks in the hands of Hitler's hell-hounds: the Nazi murder camp of Dachau" was the first book about the concentration camps by a survivor. His escape also led to an overhaul of the SS and concentration camp security regulations. Like many German refugees Beimler went to Spain, where he enlisted in the International Brigades of the People's Army of the Spanish Republic and led the Thaelmann Centuria. He was killed during the desperate fight to save Madrid in 1936. His roving funeral attracted combined crowds of two million and a battallion was later named in his honor.
Hans Beimer was born in Germany in 1895. A member of the German Communist Party, Beimer was elected to the Reichstag but was arrested when Adolf Hitler took power. He was sent to a Concentration Camp but managed to escape.
On the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War Beimer joined the International Brigades. The journalist, Esmond Romilly, met Beimer during the war. He later argued that Beimer was "a rigid disciplinarian, a member of the Communist Party, interested in all the technical aspects of warfare, and lacking in any such selfish motive as fear or reckless courage."
Another journalist, Claude Cockburn, added: "It is sadder still for the Nazis, for international Fascism, for the enemies of the people everywhere, that they should have been up against a man like Hans Beimler, who, when they thought they had him for sure, with five hours to decide between forced suicide and murder, yet had the willpower, the training, the discipline, the knowledge, to break out and to insist that he should live to fight new battles against them."
Beimler, Hans: Im Mörderlager Dachau. Edited, commented and with a biographical sketch by Friedbert Mühldorfer. Cologne: PapyRossa Verlag 2012
Shortly after his hazardous escape from the Dachau concentration camp in May 1933, the Bavarian Communist and Reichstag deputy Hans Beimler wrote about his ordeal. His published account was translated into several languages, quoted in international newspapers – and in Germany circulated illegally. With his report Hans Beimler hoped to galvanize resistance against the Nazi dictatorship in Germany and abroad. He worked underground for the Communists in France, Czechoslovakia, and Switzerland before going to Spain and fighting on the side of the International Brigades against Franco. Hans Beimler was killed on December 1, 1936 near Madrid.
For the first time his report is published in the original version in the Federal Republic, supplemented by photographs, documents, and an extensive biographical sketch as well as notes on the specific circumstances of its writing and the broader historical context.
Four Weeks in the Hands of Hitler's Hell-Hounds by Hans Beimler
Hans Beimler, a Jewish Communist member of the Riechstag, was arrested and imprisoned in Dachau shortly after it was opened in March 1933. He escaped and wrote about his experiences which were published in pamphlet format, including the two examples here – an English language version published in London, and a Yiddish version published in Moscow. After his escape from Dachau, Hans Beimler joined the International Brigades and fought and died in the Spanish Civil War.
Aus dem Nachruf des ZK der KP Spaniens und
aus dem Nachruf des ZK der KPD
und zum 40. Todestag - Roter Morgen vom Dezember 1976
“Marched in the funeral procession of Hans Beimler, an ex-German Communist deputy who was killed fighting at the front here. A man very able and evidently much loved, it was a great loss to the party. We assembled outside the Karl Marx building, and waited there until all were ready. Lowson carried flowers, and we all joined in with the women’s brigade – international women, English, German and Swiss.”
(Australian nurse Agnes Hodgson attended Beimer’s funeral in Barcelona)
Spanische Freiheitskämpfer und Angehörige der Internationalen Brigaden halten Ehrenwache am Sarge des Genossen Hans Beimler
* * *
Denkmal der Internationalen Brigaden
Brigada Internacional ist unser Ehrenname
40-50 000 Brigadekämpfer aus 53 Nationen:
die einzelnen Internationalen Brigaden bestanden aus jeweils 10 000 bis 15.000 freiwilligen Soldaten.