Walter Schmedemann

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Walter Schmedemann (born February 3, 1901 in Hamburg , † April 1, 1976 in Bad Bevensen ) was a social democratic politician, resistance fighter against National Socialism and long-standing Hamburg Senator for Health.


Weimar Republic

Schmedemann, who comes from a social-democratic working-class family, completed a commercial apprenticeship after attending elementary school and then worked as a dock worker. In 1917 he joined the USPD and joined the SPD with its right wing in 1922. In 1924 he took up a job at the St. Georg Hospital , where he temporarily chaired the works council . At the same time he performed various functions for the party and Reichsbanner in the Eilbek district and was elected to the Hamburg parliament for the first time in 1932 .

Resistance and imprisonment in a concentration camp

Dismissed after the NSDAP came to power and briefly imprisoned several times, he managed to save part of the Eilbeck SPD's coffers and build up an illegal party organization, the backbone of which was made up of Reichsbanner officials. The underground newspaper Rote Blätter was produced - sometimes weekly and with a circulation of up to 5,000 copies - publications by the exile board ( Sopade ) were smuggled in and distributed and endangered members were brought to safety in Denmark .

After his second imprisonment in November 1933, Schmedemann himself wrote a detailed report in which he anonymously described the terror and named the perpetrators. This report was sent to all Hamburg judges, prosecutors, pastors, high-ranking NSDAP functionaries and senators. The group around Schmedemann was also active in the publication and dissemination of the report on the murder of the SPD MP Fritz Solmitz , who was found tortured and hanged in his cell in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp ("KoLaFu").

In November 1934 the resistance organization was tracked down and smashed by the Gestapo , Schmedemann himself arrested and sentenced to two and a half years in prison in June 1935 , which he served in KoLaFu, after which he was subsequently held in Sachsenhausen concentration camp until October 1938 .

After his release, he was again imprisoned in Sachsenhausen at the beginning of the war from September to November 1939, then he took up work in a paint factory, where he set up a resistance cell and supported forced laborers with food and clothing; at the same time he made contact with old party friends. Following a denunciation , Schmedemann was sentenced to four months' imprisonment for alleged theft in July 1943, but this was suspended. However, as part of the Gewitter campaign after the assassination attempt on July 20, 1944 , he was imprisoned again from August to September 1944. Involved in the reorganization of social democratic structures, Schmedemann had to go into hiding in April 1945 until the liberation of Hamburg on May 3, 1945 in order to avoid being arrested again.

post war period

Cushion stone Walter Schmedemann, Sophie-Scholl-Ehrenfeld,
Ohlsdorf cemetery

From 1945 Schmedemann was deputy chairman of the Hamburg SPD until 1962, then until 1966 a simple state board member, in 1945 he was also a founding member and chairman of the short-lived Socialist Free Trade Union (SFG) and until 1948 deputy state chairman of the VVN , which he had previously persecuted when the working group split off Social Democrats left.

From 1949 to 1970 he was again a member of the Hamburg citizenship and was Senator for Health from 1948 to 1953 and from 1957 to 1967. His tenure included the construction of new hospital locations in Rissen and Heidberg ( Langenhorn ), the construction of the general hospitals in St. Georg (1957–67) and Harburg (1963–68) and the laying of the foundation stone for AK Altona in 1961 (completed in 1971).

The Hamburg Senate awarded Schmedemann the Mayor Stolten Medal in 1972 . In 1980 a street was named after him in the Hamburg-Langenhorn district.

Walter Schmedemann is buried on the field of honor for those persecuted by the Nazi regime in Ohlsdorf cemetery , grid square
Bn 73 at the entrance to Bramfelder Chaussee .


  • The activities of the Eilbeck comrades in the resistance movement after the SPD was banned in 1933 . Auer print 1948
  • Hamburg's fight against tuberculosis . In: New Hamburg. Evidence of the reconstruction d. Hanseatic city . Ullstein, Berlin 1952, Vol. 7., pp. 97-103
  • Theodor Haubach , born on September 15, 1896, murdered on January 23, 1945. Speeches at the commemorative hour of the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg on January 22, 1965 by Paul Nevermann , Walter Schmedemann and Willi Berkhan . Print Hamburg 1965
  • The activities of the Eilbeck comrades in the resistance movement after the SPD was banned in 1933 . In: 125 Years of Social Democracy in Hamburg. Highlights from the history of the SPD on the occasion of the exhibition (...) by the SPD state organization Hamburg ed. Responsible Hans-Jochen Kammradt. Hamburg 1988, pp. 26-32


  • Felix Brahm: Schmedemann, Walter . In: Franklin Kopitzsch, Dirk Brietzke (Hrsg.): Hamburgische Biographie . tape 2 . Christians, Hamburg 2003, ISBN 3-7672-1366-4 , pp. 372-373 .
  • Uwe Klußmann: Two ways. Hamburg workers functionaries tried to keep their organizations alive underground, in: Der Spiegel Geschichte 2/2019, pp. 44–50.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Hamburg in the "Third Reich". Published by the Research Center for Contemporary History in Hamburg, Wallstein, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-89244-903-1 , p. 529.
  2. Celebrity Graves