Kurt Goldstein (journalist)

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Kurt Julius Goldstein (born November 3, 1914 in Scharnhorst , today Dortmund , in Westphalia ; died September 24, 2007 in Berlin ) was a German member of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War , a survivor of Auschwitz and the death march to Buchenwald . Goldstein was honorary chairman of the International Auschwitz Committee and the Association of Those Persecuted by the Nazi Regime / Association of Antifascists . As a victim of Nazi persecution, Goldstein reported on his life in countless discussions with contemporary witnesses in schools and at events. By profession he was a journalist and radio intendant .

Kurt Goldstein speaks to the delegates of the VVN-BdA Federal Assembly, May 2004


Childhood and youth

Kurt Julius Goldstein was born in 1914 in Scharnhorst, today a district of Dortmund, as the youngest of four siblings (two girls, two boys). His parents were pacifist- oriented department store owner Emil Goldstein from Hamm (Westphalia) and Ida Cohen from Wittmund , who succumbed to his war injuries from the First World War in 1920 . The widowed mother moved to Hamm with her four children in 1923.

Goldstein already experienced the burgeoning anti-Semitism in Germany at school. Initially, he was a member of the left-wing Jewish youth group "Kameraden" and the Socialist Youth Workers' youth close to the SPD . In 1928 he joined the Communist Youth Association of Germany (KJVD) headed by Max Reimann and in 1930 he joined the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). For his protection he was given the code name "Kurt Berger", which he used in all party activities. In 1932 he was expelled from school in Hamm “because of communist activities”, but was able to continue his Abitur preparation in Münster.

time of the nationalsocialism

On February 28, 1933, the day of the Reichstag Fire Ordinance , he received a warning that the police wanted him and went into hiding with a befriended miner's family in Scharnhorst. On April 3, 1933, he managed to avoid the threat of arrest at his place of refuge.

He then went to relatives in Luxembourg and then on to Paris, where he joined the Zionist organization Hechaluz on the advice of the local Communist Party organization . In a hachshara camp in Luxembourg operated by this organization and as a laborer for a wine grower in Lunac (near Villefranche-de-Rouergue , Aveyron department ), he received agricultural knowledge that prepared him for emigration to Palestine , where he lived from June 1935 stayed until mid-1936.

From November 1936 Goldstein took part in the Spanish Civil War as an interbrigadist , where he was wounded at Caspe and later served as political commissar of a unit in Vic and later in Santa Coloma de Farners . After the demobilization of the International Brigades in 1938 and the victory of Francisco Franco in 1939, he was interned in the French assembly camp of Saint-Cyprien (Pyrénées-Orientales) in February 1939 , in Gurs from May 1939 , and after the German occupation of France in World War II as an alleged one German spy in the Le Vernet camp .

In July 1942 Goldstein was extradited to the German Reich and deported via the Drancy concentration camp to Auschwitz (prisoner number: 5 88 66). During forced labor in the coal mines of the Jawischowitz subcamp , he continued to offer resistance and was nicknamed "King of the Jews" by the SS . Goldstein survived 30 months in the concentration camp and in January 1945 the death march to Buchenwald. Together with other prisoners, he took the Buchenwald oath on April 19, 1945 .

After the Second World War

After the war, Goldstein was initially involved in the KPD / SED in Berlin . He worked as the youth secretary of the KPD and became chairman of the state youth committee in Thuringia. In 1946 Goldstein returned to his hometown Dortmund and worked there for the KPD. Later he was the first secretary of the FDJ central office in the Federal Republic. In 1951 he moved to the GDR.

In the GDR, Goldstein became a political employee of the Western Department of the Central Committee of the SED and in 1956 switched to radio in the GDR , where he worked as a senior official until his retirement in 1978. In 1957 he came to Germany's broadcaster , where he was director from 1969 to 1971. After renaming it to Voice of the GDR in 1971, he was director of this station until 1978. In 1976 Goldstein became Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee and from 1982 to 1991 Secretary of the International Federation of Resistance Fighters in Vienna. Since 1994 he has been the honorary chairman of the interest group of participants in the anti-fascist resistance, those persecuted by the Nazi regime and the bereaved (IVVdN).

Goldstein was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit , worked for many international organizations, was honorary president of the International Auschwitz Committee and honorary chairman of the Association of Victims of the Nazi Regime - Association of Antifascists . Since 1996 he has been an honorary citizen of Spain. The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, honored Kurt Julius Goldstein on May 20, 2005 on behalf of the Federal President with the "Cross of Merit 1st Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany". Until the end of his life, he reported tirelessly in conversations with contemporary witnesses, preferably in schools, about the Nazi era . In 2006 he was one of the supporters of the “Berlin Declaration” of the Shalom5767 - Peace 2006 initiative , which advocates a Palestine policy based on the principles of humanism and international law.


Kurt Goldstein died on September 24, 2007 in Berlin. His urn was buried on October 20 in the presence of around 400 mourners in the Pergolenweg grave complex at the Friedrichsfelde central cemetery.


Günter Goldstein, Kurt Goldstein's older brother, was arrested in 1933 and then spent two years in a prison in Cologne, in the Brauweiler concentration camp and in the Börgermoor concentration camp . By 1936 he succeeded in getting the two sisters Ottilie and Irmgard and their mother Ida Goldstein to emigrate to Palestine .

With the exception of the immediate family and a cousin who also emigrated to Palestine , and an uncle and an aunt who emigrated to Latin America, all of Kurt Goldstein's relatives died in the Shoah . In an interview for the Visual History Archive Goldstein reported in 1996 that more than fifty of his relatives by the Nazis were killed.

Kurt Goldstein was married twice. He met his first wife Helga Schimpf in 1945 in Thuringia. She died of typhus in 1947, three months after the birth of a son, the later actor and voice actor Kurt Goldstein (actor) (1947-1995). In 1951 Goldstein married Margot Wloch, the daughter of the communist Wilhelm Wloch . The marriage had four other sons born between 1951 and 1962.

Honor and memory

On April 11, 2010, on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp in Berlin-Hellersdorf, a park was named after Kurt Goldstein. It was the first naming of a public German place after a communist, anti-fascist and Spain fighter since 1989.


  • Let the rich pay! What do you expect from load balancing. Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Germany, Frankfurt am Main 1948.
  • Home Sweet Home. Party executive committee of the KPD, Düsseldorf 1948.
  • 5 billion. Small lesson on occupation costs. What everyone needs to know! KPD main board, Frankfurt am Main, 1949.
  • We are the last - ask us. Speeches and writings 1974–2004. Edited by Friedrich-Martin Balzer . 2nd edition Pahl-Rugenstein, Bonn 2005, ISBN 3-89144-362-5 .



Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wording of the declaration
  2. ^ "Last resting place on Pergolenweg." , Junge Welt , October 22, 2007
  3. “Confessing Optimist” Two funeral speeches at Goldstein's funeral, documented in Junge Welt , October 25, 2007
  4. Kurt Goldstein: We are the last - ask us. Speeches and writings 1974–2004. 2nd, strong adult Edition Pahl-Rugenstein, Bonn 2005, ISBN 3-89144-362-5 , pp. 30, 33.
  5. USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, Interview No. 10040 with Julius Goldstein, February 20, 1996.
  6. Goldstein: We are the last - ask us. Pp. 46-51.