Manfred von Brauchitsch

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From Brauchitsch with the III. World Festival 1951 in East Berlin
Von Brauchitsch in 1932 in the Mercedes-Benz type SSKL designed by Reinhard von Koenig-Fachsenfeld on the Berlin AVUS
von Brauchitsch in 1937 in a Mercedes-Benz W 125 at the Donington Grand Prix
Manfred von Brauchitsch in 1986 at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz Model K

Manfred Georg Rudolf von Brauchitsch (born August 15, 1905 in Hamburg ; † February 5, 2003 in Schleiz ) was a German automobile racing driver and sports official .


Manfred von Brauchitsch came from the old Silesian noble family of the von Brauchitsch and was the son of the Prussian officer Viktor von Brauchitsch (1864–1925) and Olga, nee. von Bomsdorff (1873–1954). His first marriage was Gisela Hundt (1918–1957) on December 27, 1946 in Starnberg . In his second marriage he married Lieselotte Schneider (1918–2003) on November 22, 1958 after fleeing to the GDR.


Brauchitsch attended a grammar school in Berlin between 1913 and 1923 . In 1923 he joined a volunteer corps in Berlin-Spandau and became a member of the Erhardt Brigade . From 1924 to 1928 he served in the Reichswehr . After attending the Dresden War School , he had a serious motorcycle accident and retired from the Reichswehr because of the injuries he suffered. After his recovery he became a racing driver. From 1933 he was a works driver for Mercedes-Benz . Brauchitsch was nicknamed “Unlucky” because although he was fast as a racing driver, he was repeatedly deprived of victories or good placements due to unfortunate circumstances. He had to put some of the bad luck to himself, however, as he was extremely ruthless with his vehicles.

A good example of this is the XI. German Grand Prix on July 24, 1938 on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring . During the pit stop he caught fire in his car due to spilled fuel . Brauchitsch was pulled out of the car by racing manager Alfred Neubauer and the burning overall was extinguished. When the fire had died down, Brauchitsch sat back in the car. The steering wheel was put on and he started racing again. On the next bump in the road, the steering wheel came loose at around 190 km / h. In the following accident, Brauchitsch was uninjured, although the car was badly damaged. In view of the low safety standards at the time, this was great luck.

Brauchitsch contested his first races in a private Mercedes-Benz type SSK belonging to his cousin Hans von Zimmermann, Nischwitz. Until 1939 he was part of the manufacturer's factory team. Despite his proverbial pitch he reached some great victories, such as the Monaco Grand Prix in 1937 or 1938 at the French Grand Prix . He holds the track record of the Gabelbach race held between 1913 and 1934 .

From 1940 to 1943, Brauchitsch was the personal assistant to Junkers boss Heinrich Koppenberg and had the rank of storm leader in the National Socialist Motor Corps . From 1944 to 1945 he was a consultant in the Reich Ministry for Armaments and War Production under Albert Speer (tank officer in the technical office). In 1945 Brauchitsch moved to Lake Starnberg . From 1949 to 1950 he lived in Argentina , but could no longer build on his successes there. In March 1950 he returned to Germany. An attempt to return to active motorsport remained a short episode, as only a much inferior, converted BMW from the pre-war period was available to him.

The meanwhile penniless Brauchitsch met several times with Walter Ulbricht , General Secretary of the Central Committee of the SED , and was elected chairman of the "West German Committee for Unity and Freedom in German Sport" in March 1951. After his autobiography had also appeared in an East Berlin publisher and the State Security of the Federal Republic of Germany had investigated the sports committee, he was charged with high treason , secret bundling and endangering the state in September 1953 and was imprisoned for eight months. Shortly before the trial, the Bavarian Supreme Court , he left New Year's Eve 1954 his first wife Gisela and fled to the East , where he was a sports functionary worked.

Brauchitsch was President of the General German Motorsport Association (ADMV) from 1957 to 1960 and President of the Society for the Promotion of the Olympic Idea from 1960 to 1990. In the latter function, he mainly sponsored the GDR Olympic teams.

He was awarded the GDR Patriotic Order of Merit three times , and in 1988 he received the IOC's "Olympic Order" .

Von Brauchitsch died in 2003 at the age of 97 in the Schleiz district of Gräfenwarth .



  • Fight with 500 hp . 2nd Edition. Siegismund, Berlin 1940
  • Fight for meters and seconds . 3. Edition. Verlag der Nation, Berlin 1955
  • And laurel wreaths the winner . Nation's Publishing House, 1956
  • No victory without a fight . 3. Edition. Verlag der Nation, Berlin 1966


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