Heinrich Rau

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President Wilhelm Pieck (right) receives Heinrich Rau after he was sworn in in 1950 in his official residence in Berlin-Niederschönhausen

Heinrich Gottlob Rau (born April 2, 1899 in Feuerbach near Stuttgart , † March 23, 1961 in East Berlin ) was a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the SED , chairman of the State Planning Commission of the GDR and Minister of Mechanical Engineering and Foreign Trade and Internal German Trade. Before that he was temporarily brigade commander of the XI during the Spanish Civil War . International Brigade .


Rau completed an apprenticeship as a punch and metal press and worked, interrupted by military service in 1917/18, from 1913 to 1920 at the Bosch works in Feuerbach. Since 1913 he was active in the workers ' sports movement, from November 1913 he became a member of the German Metal Workers' Association and a social democratic youth group. In 1916 he joined the Spartacus group , in 1917 the USPD and in 1919 the KPD . In 1918 he took part in the November Revolution in Stuttgart and was head of the military police in the city of Zuffenhausen near Stuttgart .

1919-1920 he was chairman of the KPD local group in Zuffenhausen, then until 1923 employee of the central committee of the KPD. 1921–1930 he taught at the state and central schools of the KPD. From 1923 he was head of the land department at the Central Committee of the KPD and member of the International Committee of Agricultural and Forestry Workers, from 1924 a member of the board of the Reichsbauernbund , from 1928 a member of the Prussian Landtag , from 1930 a member of the International Farmers' Council in Moscow and from 1931 an office member of the European Farmers Committee.

In 1933 Rau was arrested and at the end of 1934 sentenced to two years in prison alongside Bernhard Bästlein by the People's Court for “preparing for high treason ” . After his release from prison, he emigrated to the USSR in 1935 , where he was deputy head of the International Agricultural Institute in Moscow. In 1937 he went to Spain , where, after attending the commanding school, he worked as an instructor, chief of staff of the XII. International brigade and most recently as brigade commander of the XI. International Brigade took part in the Spanish Civil War until he was wounded in 1938. Until 1939 he was head of the auxiliary committee of the German and Austrian fighters in Spain and a member of the KPD country leadership in Paris .

In 1939 Rau was arrested again and taken to the French camp Le Vernet and later to the secret prison Castres . From there he was extradited to the Gestapo in 1942 , sat in the Gestapo prison on Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse until 1943 and in the Mauthausen concentration camp until 1945 , where he participated in the camp uprising.

After his return to Germany, he was a member of the Provisional Commission for the Implementation of Land Reform and Chairman of the Landessequesterkommission in Brandenburg . In 1946 he joined the SED. 1946–1948 he was a member of the state parliament and minister for economic planning of Brandenburg, 1948–1949 chairman of the German economic commission . Since 1949 he was a member of the People's Chamber , a member of the Central Committee and a candidate in the Politburo of the Central Committee of the SED , since 1950 a member of the Politburo and Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

1949–1950 Rau was Minister for Planning of the GDR and 1950–1952 Chairman of the State Planning Commission . 1952–1953 he headed the Coordination Office for Industry and Transport at the Council of Ministers, 1953–1955 Minister for Mechanical Engineering and 1955–1961 Minister for Foreign Trade and Internal German Trade .

His urn was buried in the memorial of the socialists in the central cemetery Friedrichsfelde in Berlin- Lichtenberg .

Honors / awards


The VEB Schwermaschinenbau "Heinrich Rau" Wildau was named after Rau in 1952-90 . Rau was given three postage stamps in the GDR, two of which related to his activities in the Spanish Civil War. The Jagdfliegergeschwader 9 "Heinrich Rau" and the boarding school "Heinrich Rau" of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MfAA) in Cöthen (near Bad Freienwalde) bore his name. The institute of the customs administration of the German Democratic Republic in Plessow (Brandenburg) was named after him. The GDR customs officials were trained here. Often streets were named after him.


  • For the workers 'and peasants' power. Selected speeches and essays 1922-1961 , Berlin 1984


Web links

Commons : Heinrich Rau  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hugh Thomas : The Spanish Civil War , Ullstein Verlag, Berlin West 1962, page 475
  2. Jonny Granzow: The breakout of the Spanish fighters from the secret prison: A historical report , edition bodoni, 2012, ISBN 978-3940781277