Albert Christel

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Albert Christel (born June 26, 1907 in Metz ; † December 26, 1977 in Frankfurt am Main ) was a German teacher and author who was interned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp because of his political and sexual orientation .



Albert Christel was born on June 26, 1907 in Metz, Lorraine . His parents were Maria Nassoy from Forbach and Karl Christel, a doctor from Greiz in Thuringia . In his youth he lived with his parents and his siblings Luise and Ernst in Metz and attended the Lyceum there .

In 1919 he moved with his family to Greiz in Thuringia, where Christel was a student at the Greiz secondary school . His father died in November 1923. Two years later, Christel passed his Abitur and joined the youth movement of the German Freischar , an organization of the youth movement . The family also moved to Frankfurt (Main) in 1925 . On October 25, 1925, Christel began his studies at the Technical University in Karlsruhe . At first he studied mechanical engineering, but soon switched to the natural sciences, where he chose chemistry and physics as his main subjects. As part of his academic training, he also dealt with history, philosophy and art.

The youth movement played a central role in Christel's life at that time. He had extensive contacts with various groups including the communist youth . Here he was able to pursue his literary ambitions and wrote poems and songs, which he performed in the organization. Some of these songs are said to have been written down in song books, but were lost during the Nazi era .

Between 1926 and 1930 Christel was often out and about in Germany and regularly sent postcards to his mother. During this time, his sexual interest is said to have changed and he felt attracted to men. He established some longstanding friendships. In 1928 he continued his studies at the Frankfurt University and had the desire to become a teacher. He also forged plans for a new cultural history. He made contact with scientists and artists, played the viola in educated middle class circles and appeared on the radio .

time of the nationalsocialism

With the rise of the National Socialists , Christel quickly came into conflict with them and criticized them publicly. In 1931 he finished his studies and got a teaching position in Marienau in the Lüneburg Heath . There he continued work on his cultural theory. Christel remained unpopular with the National Socialists because he publicly criticized them even after 1933. He got no further job as a teacher and he was not accepted into the writers' association. For this he joined the federation for the protection of human dignity. At Easter 1934 Christel was deleted from the list of teachers' representatives. Together with friends, Christel opposed the National Socialists by printing leaflets and handing out handouts. The family also took part in the resistance and helped Jews and later French prisoners of war. Christel was caught and arrested for anti-Nazi attitudes, insidiousness and cooperation with the KPD . He was sentenced to three years in prison in 1934. His cultural theory was confiscated and has since disappeared.

In 1939 Christel was arrested again in Dresden after a house chairman denounced. He was first placed in the Gestapo - then in protective custody . In addition to his critical stance towards National Socialism, his homosexuality was also a reason for his imprisonment. On December 21, 1939 he was sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp as the “red one” and a short time later he received the pink triangle , which identified him as a homosexual. Until the end of the war he was imprisoned in a concentration camp, where he managed to survive by writing poetry for the SS . In May 1945 the concentration camp prisoners freed themselves on a hunger march to the Baltic Sea and were received by American soldiers in Schwerin . Christel stayed in the Schwerin refugee camp and helped manage it.

post war period

In 1946 Christel began to write down his concentration camp experiences in the book “What we should forgive, but not forget”. Since most of his manuscripts had been destroyed by the Gestapo , Christel compiled new ones and wrote poems. However, his poetry was not accepted because it was not “modern” enough. He joined the group “Friends of Modern Art” in Frankfurt. After his failures with the publishing houses, he pushed back his literary ambitions and took care of his passion for collecting. He collected historical and artistic objects and was supported by his siblings. In 1967 Christel worked actively against the emergency laws in a citizens' initiative . His financial situation at the time was poor. Due to the after-effects of his stay in the concentration camp, Christel was unable to pursue any regular work. In 1976 he received an honor from the city of Greiz, to which he brought a foundation. In 1977, after the planned dissolution of his collection to private individuals and museums, Albert Christel put an end to his life by suicide .


  • Ruppel, Manfred: Albert Christel , in: Naos, Literatur der Gegenwart 2 (1981), pp. 4-6.
  • Christel, Albert: Apocalypse of our days. Memories of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp , published by Ruppel, Manfred and Wolfstetter, Lothar. Frankfurt am Main 1987.
  • Zastrau, Eberhard: Murder was everyday life in the brickworks (2004), in: (as of September 7, 2016)

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