Otto Engelhardt (engineer)

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Otto Engelhardt (born August 7, 1866 in Braunschweig , † September 14, 1936 in Seville ) was a German-Spanish engineer, diplomat and patron who was executed by the insurgent troops of General Gonzalo Queipo de Llano during the Spanish Civil War .

life and work

Otto was born as the son of the Brunswick citizen and court mirror manufacturer Elias Julius Friedrich Engelhardt and his wife Anna Louise, nee. Otto was born and baptized in the Brothers Church . The documents are now in the Braunschweig City Archives . He later worked as an engineer at AEG in Berlin and was appointed director in 1894, after a tour of the company by representatives of the Compañía Sevillana de Electricidad , and subsequently settled in Seville .

Among other things, he managed the tram company Compañía de Tranvías de Sevilla and founded the pharmaceutical company Sanavida in San Juan de Aznalfarache . Engelhardt was considered a prominent man in Seville who was honored several times for his contributions to improving the local infrastructure and for projects to modernize the city. In 1903 Engelhardt was made Honorary Consul of Seville, an office he held until 1919. Engelhardt has received several awards for his actions in favor of his new home. Since, in addition to his daily tasks, he also collected funds to help the wounded during the Rif War , the Spanish King Alfonso XIII awarded him . the Grand Cross of the Order de Isabel la Católica .

During the First World War Engelhardt succeeded in thwarting an attempted sabotage by an officer of the German Imperial Navy in the port of Seville against Spanish smugglers ' ships. If it had succeeded, Spanish neutrality would have been jeopardized. Engelhardt was also vice-president of the pacifist initiative Pro Sevilla, Ciudad de la Contraguerra , whose main goal was to prevent a new war.

Adiós Alemania, con sus Barones y sus Fascistas 1931–1934 ( Farewell Germany with its barons and its fascists ), Engelhardt's publication from 1934.

After the " seizure of power " by the National Socialists in Germany, Engelhardt returned all German awards he had received and renounced German citizenship . At the same time, the Spanish government granted him Spanish citizenship. In the Sevillian newspaper El Liberal and in German publications, he appeared extremely critical of the National Socialists , if the censorship allowed it. From 1933 on, he helped Germans persecuted by the regime to flee Germany. In August 1934 Engelhardt sent a telegram to Adolf Hitler "ordering" the closure of the Nazi concentration camps . Engelhardt was served by the German consulate and the German embassy in Madrid . Reports of its activities were directed to Berlin. The German authorities put pressure on the newspaper El Liberal to prevent its articles from appearing. Engelhardt always described himself as a pacifist and republican and continued to support those who had fled the Nazi regime.

Death and posthumous honors

Otto Engelhardt was in a hospital in Seville at the beginning of September 1936 because of a phlebitis. When he was released on September 12, he was kidnapped by troops from General Gonzalo Queipo de Llanos and executed on September 14, 1936 without trial. Soon after his death, Engelhardt was forgotten. It wasn't until the 1960s that a plaque was put up in Seville, but it disappeared in an unknown way.

Since Engelhardt is one of the most important personalities in Seville in the 20th century, the Spanish documentary Descubriendo Otto was made. El cónsul que desafió a Hitler ( Discovering Otto: The Consul Who Challenged Hitler ), which premiered in 2009. In October 2018, a replica of the missing memorial plaque for Otto Ehrenhardt was unveiled in one of the courtyards of the Parliament of Andalusia in Seville . Present at the ceremony were President of Parliament Juan Pablo Durán , Juan Espadas , Mayor of Seville, the German consul in Andalusia and relatives of Otto Engelhardt.

The house in which he had lived for many years is still standing. It is located in San Juan de Aznalfarache and is known as Villa Chaboya . Although it is a listed building, many years of neglect have left it to decay.


  • Florian Arnold: Otto Engelhardt, the good German from Seville. In: Braunschweiger Zeitung of November 26, 2019.
  • Wolf-Dieter Schuegraf : Otto Engelhardt - highly admired in Spain. In: Braunschweiger Zeitung of August 8, 2019.

Web links


  1. The family lived at Neue Straße 23, the father Ferdinand was named as a “ gilder , mirror and gold molding manufacturer”, the mother was a “ seamstress ”, s. Braunschweig address book for the year 1866. 52nd edition, printing and publishing house Joh. Heinr. Meyer , Braunschweig 1866, p. 26.
  1. Augustin Souchy , Night over Spain - Anarcho-Syndicalists in Revolution and Civil War 1936-39 / A factual report o. O. (Verlag Freie Gesellschaft), p.255 Note 2