Emil Carlebach

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Emil Carlebach (born July 10, 1914 in Frankfurt am Main ; died April 9, 2001 there ) was a communist politician , resistance fighter against National Socialism , member of the Hessian state parliament, writer and journalist .


Emil Carlebach came from a respected rabbi family that had been active in Germany for several generations and was founded in Lübeck by the brother of his grandfather Nathan Carlebach (1844–1912), Salomon Carlebach . His father Moritz Carlebach (1879–1939), a merchant, was, like the rest of the Carlebach family in Frankfurt, not religious.

Emil Carlebach broke with the bourgeois-conservative attitude of his parents as a teenager. In 1931 he joined the Communist Youth Association of Germany (KJVD). In early 1934 Emil Carlebach was sentenced to three years in prison for distributing anti-fascist union newspapers. After regular imprisonment, including in Hameln prison, he was taken to Dachau concentration camp in 1937 and was imprisoned in Buchenwald from 1938 . There he worked in the illegal resistance organization and as a block elder in the Jewish prisoner block . According to his own account he gave “with the signal for the mutiny on 4th / 5th. April 1945 ”. After the liberation of the camp, the Hessian Buchenwald elected him as their spokesman, and later he was Vice President of the International Buchenwald Committee .

After 1945 he was first a Frankfurt city councilor, then a member of the Hessian state parliament and worked on the Hessian constitution .

He was a co-founder and license holder of the Frankfurter Rundschau , but was removed in 1947 at the instigation of the US military authorities (orders from General Clay ). He was also a co-founder of the " Association of those persecuted by the Nazi regime " (VVN).

From 1950 to 1952 there was a legal dispute between Carlebach and Margarete Buber-Neumann . Carlebach denied Stalin's responsibility for the persecution of German communists in the Soviet Union; he remained in this position for life. Buber-Neumann had sued Carlebach for insulting and defamation because he had called her a Trotskyist and an American agent. In connection with this legal dispute, Carlebach's behavior towards Communist Buchenwald prisoners who were not “loyal to the line” was also criticized; He was accused of direct joint responsibility for the deaths of at least two Polish prisoners by fellow camp mate Benedikt Kautsky . Carlebach later defended himself against this accusation: when the contemporary historian Hans Schafranek printed Kautsky's affidavit in 1990, Carlebach sued him for omission and compensation for pain and suffering.

Since Carlebach threatened criminal prosecution after the KPD was banned in 1956 because of his continued, now illegal activity for the party, he fled to the GDR . There he was able to continue his political activity as an employee of the " German Freedom Channel 904 ". After his return to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1969, he worked in various functions for the VVN-BdA , the DKP and the German Journalists Union (dju) until his death . In the state elections in 1983 and 1987 , he ran for the DKP in the constituency of Frankfurt am Main II and won 0.6% and 0.4% of the vote there.

Emil Carlebach was married twice, the first marriage ended when his wife died due to illness; he left a daughter (deceased in 2012), a granddaughter and a stepson. He was buried in the New Jewish Cemetery in Frankfurt am Main .

Because of his resistance to National Socialism, Emil Carlebach was awarded the Johanna Kirchner Medal of the City of Frankfurt am Main in 1991 .

A sister of Emil, Liesel, reported as a contemporary witness in Frankfurt in 2017 to students how she got to England in 1939 at the age of 15 on a Kindertransport and from there went to Canada for a few years and then to California , where her name is Lee Edwards.


  • From Brüning to Hitler. The secret of the fascist seizure of power. Röderberg, Frankfurt am Main 1971 ( DNB 740527762 ).
  • Journey to Bolshevism. Reports from the USSR 1955–1980. Frankfurt am Main 1981.
  • The message as a weapon. Frankfurt am Main 1982.
  • Beech forest. A concentration camp. Report by former concentration camp inmates Emil Carlebach, Paul Grünwald, Hellmuth Röder, Willy Schmidt , Walter Vielhauer . Published on behalf of the Buchenwald-Dora camp community of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frankfurt am Main 1984, ISBN 3-87682-786-8 ; NA: Pahl-Rugenstein, Bonn 2000, ISBN 3-89144-271-8 .
  • Censorship without scissors: The founding years of the Frankfurter Rundschau 1945/47. An unknown chapter in post-war history. Röderberg, Frankfurt am Main 1985, ISBN 3-87682-807-4 .
  • Buy yourself a minister! Flick in Weimar, the Third Reich and Bonn. Background to the Flick scandal. Verlag Marxistische Blätter, Frankfurt am Main 1985, ISBN 3-88012-711-5 .
  • In the beginning there was a double murder. Communist in Germany. Röderberg, Cologne 1988, ISBN 3-87682-853-8 (autobiography).
  • Hitler was not an industrial accident. Behind the scenes of the Weimar Republic: the preprogrammed dictatorship. Röderberg, Frankfurt am Main 1978, ISBN 3-87682-598-9 ; 7th edition, Pahl-Rugenstein, Bonn 1996, ISBN 3-89144-183-5
  • Dead on vacation: communist in Germany. Dachau and Buchenwald 1937–1945. Bonn 1995.


  • Emil Carlebach - communist. Documentary 1998. KAOS


  • Albrecht Kirschner: Final report of the working group on the preliminary study “Nazi past of former Hessian state parliament members” of the commission of the Hessian state parliament for the research project “Political and parliamentary history of the state of Hesse” . Ed .: Hessischer Landtag . Wiesbaden 2013, p. 57 ( Download [PDF; 479 kB ]).
  • Wolfgang Kraushaar : Sunset. The relationship of European intellectuals to communism as reflected in three processes , in: Left Ghost Drivers. Food for thought for an anti-totalitarian left. New Critique Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 3-8015-0320-8 , p. 39ff.
  • Christoph Leclaire and Ulrich Schneider : Emil Carlebach - resistance fighter and former inmate of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Documentation for the 100th birthday , ed. from the Buchenwald-Dora / Freundeskreis camp community , Pahl-Rugenstein-Verlag Nachhaben, Bonn 2014, ISBN 978-3-89144-468-9 .
  • Jochen Lengemann : The Hessen Parliament 1946–1986 . Biographical handbook of the advisory state committee, the state assembly advising the constitution and the Hessian state parliament (1st – 11th electoral period). Ed .: President of the Hessian State Parliament. Insel-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1986, ISBN 3-458-14330-0 , p. 226–227 ( hessen.de [PDF; 12.4 MB ]).
  • Jochen Lengemann: MdL Hessen. 1808-1996. Biographical index (= political and parliamentary history of the state of Hesse. Vol. 14 = publications of the Historical Commission for Hesse. Vol. 48, 7). Elwert, Marburg 1996, ISBN 3-7708-1071-6 , pp. 96-97.
  • Sabine Niemann (Red.): The Carlebachs. A family of rabbis from Germany , ed. from the Ephraim-Carlebach-Stiftung, Dölling and Galitz, Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-926174-99-4 .
  • Lutz Niethammer (Ed.): The “cleaned up” anti-fascism. The SED and the red kapos from Buchenwald. Documents , Akad.-Verlag, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-05-002647-2 .
  • Hans Schafranek: Between the NKVD and the Gestapo. The extradition of German and Austrian anti-fascists from the Soviet Union to Nazi Germany 1937–1941. ISP-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1990, ISBN 3-88332-181-8 , document attachment .

Web links


  1. Source and other sources , Frankfurter Neue Presse , March 23, 2017, according to dpa