Hans Brand (geologist)

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Hans Brand (born April 9, 1879 in Bayreuth , † January 10, 1959 in Erlangen ) was a German geologist , mining engineer and SS standard leader . Above all, he has rendered outstanding services to tourism and tourism in Pottenstein. This includes, above all, the development of the Devil's Cave from 1922. From 1942 he was a trainer of the SS Karstwehr battalion , which committed numerous atrocities against the civilian population of northern Italy and Slovenia during World War II .


Hans Brand had a doctorate in engineering (Dr. Ing. 1905 in Munich with a thesis on deposit science) and a mining and civil engineer (civil engineering). During his studies in Munich he became a member of the Landsmannschaft Schyria (today Landsmannschaft Hansea auf dem Wels ) in the summer semester of 1901 . He was at the building trade school in Holzminden and lecturer at the Friedberg trade academy. In 1908 he built an art exhibition in Darmstadt and received the title of professor in Hesse. Around 1910 he went to Munich to become a teacher (drawing and modeling) and was a professor at a Munich secondary school . He also began karst research and, after the First World War, began to develop the Devil's Cave in Pottenstein . As a deposit geologist (starting before the First World War) he worked in Serbia, Hungary, North Africa, East Africa, German South West Africa, Egypt, the USA, Iceland, Norway, France and China.

In 1931 he became a member of the " Stahlhelm ". After the " seizure of power " by the National Socialists , he joined the NS teachers' association in 1933 and the NSDAP in 1935 (membership number 3.613.512). Hans Brand had been a member of the SS since 1939 (SS-No.340.782) and among other things was deployed to the highest SS and Police Leader in Italy , where he set up the SS Karstwehr. In addition, he was head of the karst and cave research facility within the SS ancestral legacy . He is considered to be the driving force behind the seizure of the speleological material from Benno Wolf and his subsequent deportation to the Theresienstadt concentration camp . From 1942 to 1945 there was a satellite camp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp in Pottenstein and a training camp (1942/43) for around 1,000 members of the SS Karst Army. Around 700 prisoners had to do forced labor to expand the Teufelshöhle and the Schöngrundsee. The prisoner work was done in connection with the training of the SS Karstwehr. This SS unit was later used in Slovenia and Veneto (see: Avasinis massacre ). Brand was never held accountable after 1945. He died in a clinic in Erlangen in 1959 and is buried in Bayreuth.


For his services to tourism, Brand was an honorary citizen of the city of Pottenstein until 1948 . In 1961, a memorial plaque was placed in his honor at the Devil's Cave and a street was named after him. The memorial plaque has since been removed because of the Nazi past and the street name has been deleted.


  • Peter Engelbrecht: Tourist idyll and concentration camp horror. Dealing with the past in Pottenstein . Rabenstein, Bayreuth 1997, ISBN 3-928683-16-0

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Peter Engelbrecht: Exchange mower for woman. Reports from Upper Franconia . 2nd Edition. Boomerang, Bayreuth 2004, ISBN 3-929268-18-3 , p. 73 ff .
  2. Bruno Freyberg: The geological literature on Northeast Bavaria (1476-1965) Part II: Biographical Author Register, Geologica Bavarica 71, Bavarian Geological State Office 1974
  3. a b c Ernst Klee : The dictionary of persons on the Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945 . Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Second updated edition, Frankfurt am Main 2005, p. 70.
  4. ^ Johann Althaus: Alleged SS elite beheaded prisoners of war , Welt online, June 7, 2017
  5. Remembering is still difficult in: Nordbayerischer Kurier of December 21, 2017, p. 12.