Herbert Baum

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Portrait drawing by Herbert Baum

Herbert Baum (born February 10, 1912 in Moschin , Posen province ; † June 11, 1942 in Berlin ) was a German-Jewish resistance fighter and communist .


Baum came to Berlin as a child and completed secondary school and an apprenticeship as an electrician . He then worked in this profession. Baum has been involved in various left-wing and Jewish children and youth organizations since 1926, and in 1931 in the Communist Youth Association of Germany (KJVD). From 1940 he was a forced laborer in the electric motor works of Siemens & Schuckert .

After the takeover of the Nazis , he started with his wife Marianne Baum and his friends Martin and Sala Kochmann - all four knew each other since their school days - mainly Jewish youths to surround himself with, mostly from the Jewish youth movement , from the communist, socialist or left-Zionist spectrum. The Circle of Friends, now often referred to as the “Herbert Baum Group”, to which at times up to 100 young people belonged, maintained internal political discussions and cultural work and made its appearance externally by distributing leaflets. From 1941 he supported Jewish forced laborers and helped Jews go into hiding in order to save them from deportation .

Arson attack

Herbert Baum's group was best known for an arson attack that they carried out on May 18, 1942, on the anti-communist propaganda exhibition The Soviet Paradise at Berlin's Lustgarten . The damage remained limited, however. Most of the group was arrested within a few days; presumably she had been denounced. Over 20 members of the group were later sentenced to death . Baum's tombstone lists 28, the memorial stone in the pleasure garden 34 members of the group as victims. A total of 28 members of the group were murdered in 1942 and 1943. Baum himself died in custody; it is unclear whether it was the result of torture or suicide . About 50 other members of the group received long prison sentences.

On 28/29 In May 1942, 500 Jewish men from Berlin were arrested in a “reprisal”, half of whom were shot immediately and the other half were taken to concentration camps . The next day, representatives of the “ Reich Association of Jews in Germany ” in Berlin were informed by Adolf Eichmann that the action was related to the attack on the exhibition in the Lustgarten, in which Jews were involved. Whether this connection actually existed is a matter of dispute today.


The Berlin memorial stone in the Lustgarten

Memorial plaque in Berlin at the Weissensee Jewish Cemetery

A memorial plaque for those killed in the Herbert Baum group and Baum's grave are in the row of honor in the field A1-G1 at the Weißensee Jewish cemetery . The grave is dedicated to the city of Berlin as an honor grave . The street leading to the main portal of the cemetery has been called Herbert-Baum-Straße since 1951.

Memorial stone in the pleasure garden

A memorial stone made by Jürgen Raue was erected in the Lustgarten in 1981 to commemorate the attack by the Baum group with the following slogan:

“The courageous deeds and steadfastness of the anti-fascist resistance group led by the young communist Herbert Baum will not be forgotten. - Forever in friendship with the Soviet Union. "

This memorial stone was changed in 2000: the part of the original inscription, which is about friendship with the Soviet Union, is now covered by printed glass plates. They contain historical information about the Baum group and its attack and close with the words:

"Today this memorial stone documents the courageous resistance action of 1942, our understanding of history in 1981 and our ongoing commemoration of the resistance against the Nazi regime."


There is a memorial plaque for these two members of the Baum group on the house of Sala and Martin Kochmann on Gipsstrasse in Berlin-Mitte .

A feeder trawler with the fishing identification number ROS 408 of the "Artur Becker" series also got its name.

Members of the "Herbert Baum Group"

Memorial grave for Herbert Baum in the Jewish cemetery in Berlin-Weißensee; Photo taken in April 2010

A plaque at the Jewish cemetery in Berlin-Weißensee commemorates 27 members of the group who were executed (or killed) for their resistance in 1942/43. It is a matter of:

In addition, the following are known as members:

  • Rita Meyer (nee Zocher), wife of Herbert Meyer
  • Herbert Ansbach
  • Lisa Behn (arrested in 1936, friend of Werner Steinbrink)
  • Joachim Franke (1905–1942)
  • Use Haak
  • Richard Holzer , who was able to flee to Hungary
  • Hermann Braun
  • Charlotte Paech , sentenced to death by the People's Court; After a bomb attack on Berlin, she managed to escape from the prison on Iranische Strasse and thus avoid execution.
  • Erwin Pavlowski
  • Lotte Rotholz , received a sentence of eight years in prison, brought from the women's prison in Berlin's Barnimstrasse to the Cottbus prison to serve her sentence, from here on October 12, 1943, transferred back to Berlin to the deportation center in Grosse Hamburger Strasse and finally together with two of them other women from the group around Herbert Baum, Alice Hirsch and Edith Fraenkel, on October 14, 1943 with the so-called “44. Osttransport ”was deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.
  • Walter Sack (born December 26, 1915, † April 29, 2008)
  • Alice Zadek , b. Kronheim, (born March 28, 1921, † April 14, 2005) and Gerhard Zadek (born November 2, 1919, † October 5, 2005)
  • Franz Krahl (1914–1990)
  • Lothar Cohn (1908–1944), brother of Marianne Baum
  • Hans Fruck

See also


  • Luise Kraushaar : German resistance fighters 1933 to 1945. Berlin 1970, volume 1, p. 84ff.
  • Hans Maur : memorials of the labor movement in Berlin-Friedrichshain. In: Contributions to the history of the labor movement. Berlin 1981, Biography Baum pp. 94–96.
  • Margot Pikarski: Youth in the Berlin Resistance - Herbert Baum and comrades in arms . Berlin 1984.
  • Charlotte Holzer : Report on the "Herbert Baum Group". In: Andreas Lixl-Purcell (Ed.): Memories of German-Jewish Women 1900–1990. RUB 1423, Reclam Lpz. 1992 and more, ISBN 3-379-01423-0 , pp. 333–336 (on the attack on the exhibition). Mskr. 01/298 in the Yad Vashem archive in Jerusalem.
  • Wilfried Löhken, Werner Vathke (ed.): Jews in the resistance. Three groups between the struggle for survival and political action. Berlin 1939-1945, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3894680687 .
  • Konrad Kwiet , Helmut Eschwege : The Herbert Baum Group. In: Arno Lustiger : On the struggle for life and death. The book on the resistance of the Jews in Europe 1933–1945. Cologne 1994, pp. 56-66.
  • Regina Scheer : In the Shadow of the Stars - A Jewish Resistance Group. Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-351-02581-5 .

Web links

Commons : Gruppe Herbert Baum  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. : You were young, Jewish and left-wing . In: taz , March 3, 2010
  2. ^ History of the revolutionary Berlin workers' movement. Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 1987, p. 469.
  3. ^ Resistance group around Herbert Baum, "Memorial plaque in Berlin at the Jewish cemetery in Weißensee (entrance: Markus-Reich-Platz)"
  4. ^ Herbert-Baum-Strasse. In: Street name lexicon of the Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein (near  Kaupert )
  5. ^ Resistance group around Herbert Baum. "This memorial stone designed by the sculptor Jürgen Raue was erected in 1981 on behalf of the magistrate of Berlin (East) without any further information about the resistance action in the Lustgarten"
  6. Margot Pikarski: Youth in Berlin's resistance. Herbert Baum and comrade in arms . Military Publishing House of the German Democratic Republic, Berlin 1978, p. 146 (Herbert Meyer) and 162 (Rita Zocher)
  7. ^ Johannes Tuchel : Siegbert and Lotte Rotholz - members of the resistance group tree
  8. Gottfried Hamacher et al. (Ed.): Against Hitler. Germans in the Resistance, in the armed forces of the anti-Hitler coalition and the "Free Germany" movement. Short biographies . ( Memento of October 5, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 894 kB) Dietz, Berlin 2005, p. 178 (series: Manuscripts / Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Volume 53)
  9. ^ Short biography of Walter Sack
  10. A memorial stone commemorates staunch young communists . In: Neues Deutschland , August 3, 1982