Walter Hochmuth (born February 14, 1904 in Reichenbach im Vogtland , † December 28, 1979 in Berlin ) was a German politician in the Weimar Republic ( KPD ), resistance fighter during the Nazi dictatorship and a diplomat of the GDR .
From childhood to the Weimar Republic
Walter Hochmuth was born the ninth of ten children of a railway official . His father Karl Hochmuth was a train conductor on the Saxon Railway . His mother Selma, née Schramm, was a crank embroiderer. He attended the eight-grade elementary and community school and then the commercial school. In 1920 he began an apprenticeship in the Albert Greiner AG cloth factory as a clerk. At the same time he joined the union federation of employees (GdA) and within a short time became chairman of its youth federation.
In 1922 he moved to Düsseldorf, a little later to Cologne, and worked as a cashier and salesman in the cloth wholesaling of Hugo Braunstein AG . In Cologne, too, he was a member of the local youth group of the GdA, which sympathized very much with the KJVD and was therefore excluded from the GdA in 1924. The group then became the “Florian Geyer” hiking association . Since Hochmuth had been a member of the KJVD and the KPD since May 1, 1925 , he was transferred to the Hamburg branch Tuchhaus Paul Peininger GmbH in 1926 , where he later became the union chairman . There he was married to Katharina Emmermann for the first time in 1927 , their daughter Ursel Hochmuth was born in 1931.
1931 turned out to be a year with important events. On the one hand, Hochmuth was expelled from the union, on the other hand he was elected as the youngest member for the KPD in the Hamburg parliament. His employer then fired him and he began an internship at the Hamburger Volkszeitung . In the KPD's district management he was also responsible for the work among the employees, in this role he was involved, among other things, in setting up a club for employees at Gänsemarkt . In 1932 Hochmuth took part in the 3rd Reich Conference of the KPD in Berlin.
Time of National Socialism: illegality, flight, emigration, imprisonment
After the seizure of power of the Nazis Hochmuth was a warrant sought by the police and had to go into hiding. He was still a member of the illegal leadership of the KPD until August 1934. He continued to write for the now illegal Hamburger Volkszeitung and worked with Albert Bennies in the district leadership of the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition and published the RGO newspaper Der Klassengewerkschafter here . He began a love affair with one of his lodgers, the tailor's assistant Renate Brake, from which son Peter emerged in March 1934. After Bennies and other comrades were arrested, Hochmuth fled to Denmark with Brake's help. There he came into conflict with the emigration management of the KPD and in 1935 had to move his exile to Amsterdam by decision of the party .
As a stowaway, he went on a cargo ship from Denmark to Antwerp . Brake and son Peter followed him to the Netherlands . In 1938, Hochmuth was deprived of his German citizenship and also deported from the Netherlands to Belgium as an “undesirable person” after he had been interned from March to June of that year . In Belgium, too, he lived illegally with communist miners' families without valid identification papers. In March the daughter Birgid was born in Charleroi . After Germany's attack on Belgium , Hochmuth was interned. In May 1940 he was taken to the Gurs camp in the south of France by freight wagon and interned there.
After the German troops had also occupied southern France, Hochmuth was arrested by the Wehrmacht by the Gestapo and locked in the Fuhlsbüttel police prison in March 1943 . In Germany he was in pre-trial detention by the Gestapo until January 1944 , then in judicial pre-trial detention, and was finally sentenced on July 21 by the People's Court in Potsdam to five years in prison for “preparing for high treason” . After his first marriage was divorced in 1939, Hochmuth married Renate Brake in January 1944. His first wife Katharina , with whom their daughter Ursel also lived, married Franz Jacob . In 1945 he and other prisoners were freed from the Brandenburg prison by the Red Army .
Career in the GDR
In May 1945, Hochmuth became head of the personnel department in the postal and telecommunications department of the Greater Berlin City Council . Shortly afterwards he brought his wife and children from Reichenbach, where they had found shelter with his brother Rudolf Hochmuth. In 1947 he became head of human resources at the post and telecommunications headquarters of the German Economic Commission (DWK). He was also one of the founding members of the Post and Telecommunications Industry Union and was a member of its central board. After the president of the Oberpostdirektion Schwerin fled to the western zones, Hochmuth was removed from the personnel manager position "due to lack of vigilance" and in March 1949 he became an authorized signatory at the German trading company, and in 1950 finally group leader in the GDR government chancellery, main office administration. From 1949 he lived in Woltersdorf , where he was chairman of the main committee of the National Front . At this time he started a distance learning course at the German Academy for Political Science and Law "Walter Ulbricht" . He completed it with the state examination.
From April 1956, Hochmuth was deputy head and from 1957 head of the GDR's commercial agency in Jakarta . From 1959 to 1962 he served as Legation Councilor in Iraq , and from June 1962 until his return due to illness in 1963 as Consul General in Baghdad . There he was busy building the GDR embassy in Iraq. He was the first representative of the GDR in a non-socialist country. In 1964, Hochmuth moved to the Ministry of the Interior and was initially deputy director of the German Central Archives in Potsdam . After a long illness, he succeeded Karl Schirdewan as head of the State Archives Administration in Potsdam, where he also lived. Hochmuth had been a pensioner since 1968. In the last years of his life he was chairman of the Potsdam district committee of the GDR's anti-fascist resistance fighters .
In addition to other awards, Hochmuth received the Patriotic Order of Merit in silver in 1960 and in 1974 in gold, and in 1979 the honor bar for the Patriotic Order of Merit.
Hochmuth's grave can be found in the “Pergolenweg” grave complex of the Socialist Memorial at the Friedrichsfelde Central Cemetery , where he and his wife are buried.
- Human resources at Deutsche Post in the Soviet zone of occupation , Deutscher Zentralverlag, Berlin 1948
- Letter from Walter Hochmuth from internment in Merxplas / Belgium to his daughter Ursel from March 31, 1940 , In: What remains is hope. Documentation of letters from Brandenburg concentration camps, penitentiaries and prisons during the Nazi era 1933-1945 , Brandenburg State Center for Political Education, Potsdam 1994, p. 104f.
- Andreas Herbst: Hochmuth, Walter . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 1. Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
- Hochmuth, Walter . In: Hermann Weber , Andreas Herbst : German Communists. Biographical Handbook 1918 to 1945 . 2nd, revised and greatly expanded edition. Karl Dietz, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-320-02130-6 .
- Ursel Hochmuth , Peter Hochmuth: 75 years ago - dissonances in exile in Copenhagen. A memorial protocol of Walter Hochmuth from October 1934. In: Yearbook for research on the history of the workers' movement . Volume 8, Issue 3, 2009, pp. 123-144.
- Literature by and about Walter Hochmuth in the catalog of the German National Library
- Estate in the archive of the parties and mass organizations of the GDR in the Federal Archives
- ↑ Märkische Volksstimme from February 14, 1974
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German politician (KPD, SED), Member of the Bundestag, anti-fascist and diplomat|
|DATE OF BIRTH||February 14, 1904|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Reichenbach in Vogtland|
|DATE OF DEATH||December 28, 1979|
|Place of death||Berlin|