Wilhelm Guddorf

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Wilhelm Guddorf (pseudonym Paul Braun ; born February 20, 1902 in Melle , Belgium ; † May 13, 1943 in Berlin-Plötzensee ), a journalist by profession , was a resistance fighter in the Third Reich . He is assigned to the resistance group around Harro Schulze-Boysen and Arvid Harnack .


Wilhelm Guddorf came from a middle-class Catholic family. His father, Ludwig Guddorf, taught German, literature and Greek at the Maison de Melle school in Melle (Belgium) for 29 years . In 1899 he became a professor at the local commercial college. At the beginning of the first world war the family was as Reich German exile. She moved to Haselünne with five children without any belongings . There Prof. Guddorf found a job as a teacher at the Latin school (middle school).

Wilhelm Guddorf, the eldest son of the family, attended the Latin School in Haselünne from 1915 to 1917, then the Royal High School in Meppen and dropped out of school in the 12th grade because he fell out with his parents because of his "religious and moral views" would have. The gifted man temporarily worked as a private tutor on an estate in West Prussia. Nevertheless, he passed his school leaving examination in Meppen in 1921 and began studying philology, philosophy, history, literary history and musicology in Münster. Later he mastered all major European and Slavic languages, plus Arabic, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.

In 1922 he joined the KPD . He worked for several communist newspapers and translated the foreign press for them. In the autumn of 1923 he was arrested for “preparing to commit high treason” and “violating the Republic Protection Act”. In November 1923 he managed to escape from the Sennestadt protective custody camp. He was caught in May 1926, served a prison term, and was released in August 1927.

From 1923 he lived under the name Paul Braun. With this pseudonym he also signed the articles that he wrote first for the KPD newspaper Freiheit in Düsseldorf and from 1926–1933 for the official KPD party organ Rote Fahne - most recently as editor-in-chief for foreign policy .

From 1933 onwards, using his pseudonym, he distributed illegal writings against the Nazi regime and was a member of the KPD district leadership in Berlin-Brandenburg. In April 1934 he was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison (in Luckau) for preparation for high treason. He was then taken into protective custody for two more years in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp .

After his release from prison, he made contact with the group of Harro Schulze-Boysen and Arvid Harnack through his former editorial colleague John Sieg . This Berlin resistance network, which the Gestapo later called the " Red Orchestra " in order to falsely merge it with a Soviet spy network in Western Europe, did not follow any ideological dogmas. Rather, it was a group of people with different social origins and worldviews.

1940–1942 Guddorf worked as a bookseller in Berlin. Through his mediation, his colleague and later fiancée, the interpreter Eva-Maria Buch , found contact with the group around Harro Schulze-Boysen and Arvid Harnack. (Guddorf had been divorced from his second wife, Hilde, née Morgner, since January 1942. His first wife, Stephanie, née Pflugrad, had died in 1928.) Schulze-Boysen and Harnack had secure information because of their work in the Reich Ministry of Aviation and the Reich Ministry of Economics about the military situation at the front and the crimes of the Wehrmacht. They exchanged these with each other in their network. The public was informed by means of sticky notes and leaflets sent by post with minor resistance actions.

On October 15, 1942, Guddorf was arrested again and sentenced to death by the Reich Court Martial on February 3, 1943 . On May 13, 1943, he and twelve other convicts were beheaded by guillotine between 7 p.m. and 7:36 p.m. every three minutes in Berlin-Plötzensee prison . Three months later, on August 5, 1943, his 22-year-old fiancée Eva-Maria Buch was executed in the same place.


  • In 1972 a street in Berlin's Lichtenberg district was named after Guddorf.
  • In the Berlin district of Köpenick , the Rahnsdorfer School was called Wilhelm Guddorf Oberschule from 1971 to 1991 . After the end of the SED dictatorship , teachers, parents and students chose the new name Grundschule an den Püttbergen in 1992 .


Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h Wilhelm Guddorf February 20, 1902-13. May 1943. In: Internet presence. German Resistance Memorial Center, accessed on April 27, 2019 .
  2. ^ CV of Prof. Ludwig Guddorf (privately owned).
  3. a b c Records in the possession of the Guddorf family .
  4. The Red Chapel. In: Internet presence. Plötzensee Memorial, accessed on April 27, 2019 .