Willi Bredel (2 May 1901 in Hamburg – 27 October 1964 in East Berlin) was a German writer and president of the DDR Academy of Arts, Berlin. Born in Hamburg, he was a pioneer of socialist realist literature.
Born in to the family of a cigar maker, after graduating from primary school he became a metal worker. From 1916 to 1917 he was a member of the Socialist Workers' Youth, from 1917 to 1920 of the Spartakusbund and from 1919 of the Communist Party of Germany. In 1923 he took part in the Hamburg Uprising and was sentenced to two years in prison. After his amnesty in 1925, he worked as a lathe operator in the Kampnagel factory while being the editor of various communist news outlets. Due to "Preparing literary treason and high treason", he was in 1930 sentence to two years imprisonment. He wrote his first novels while in custody.
Soon after the Nazis seized power in 1933, Bredel was imprisoned at Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. He was released in spring 1934.Fleeing from Nazi Germany, he went to Czechoslovakia and then Moscow, where he lived at the Hotel Lux. He published Die Prüfung (1934), a novel describing the Nazi concentration camp, which was reprinted several times and translated into other languages. He also published accounts of his experiences in the Deutsche Zentral Zeitung , a German-language newspaper published in Moscow.
Bredel took part in the Spanish Civil War as commissar of the Thälmann Battalionas well as the Second World War, in which he fought on the Soviet side.
His propaganda material, along with those of Walter Ulbricht and Erich Weinert was used in an attempt to lure the 6th Army into surrendering at the Battle of Stalingrad.
After the war, he returned to Germany as part of the Sobottka Group,sent to lay the groundwork for the Soviet occupation of Mecklenburg. He later lived in East Germany and died in East Berlin.
The White Rose was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany which was led by five students at the University of Munich, including Hans Scholl, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, Christoph Probst, and Sophie Scholl. The group conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign that called for active opposition to the Nazi regime. Their activities started in Munich on 27 June 1942, and ended with the arrest of the core group by the Gestapo on 18 February 1943. They, as well as other members and supporters of the group who carried on distributing the pamphlets, faced show trials by the Nazi People's Court, and many of them were sentenced to death or imprisonment.
Walter Ernst Paul Ulbricht was a German communist politician. Ulbricht played a leading role in the creation of the Weimar-era Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and later in the early development and establishment of the German Democratic Republic. As the First Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party from 1950 to 1971, he was the chief decision-maker in East Germany. From President Wilhelm Pieck's death in 1960 on, he was also the East German head of state until his own death in 1973. As the leader of a significant Communist satellite, Ulbricht had a degree of bargaining power with the Kremlin that he used effectively. For example, he demanded the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 when the Kremlin was reluctant.
Bernhard Bästlein was a German Communist and resistance fighter against the Nazi régime. He was imprisoned very shortly after the Nazis seized power in 1933 and was imprisoned almost without interruption until his execution in 1944, by the Nazis. Nonetheless, he was one of the most important leaders of German Resistance.
Ernst Thälmann is an East German film in two parts about the life of Ernst Thälmann, leader of the Communist Party of Germany during much of the Weimar Republic, directed by Kurt Maetzig and starring Günther Simon in the title role. The first part, Ernst Thälmann - Sohn seiner Klasse, was released in 1954. It was followed by the 1955 sequel. Ernst Thälmann - Führer seiner Klasse.
Heinz Hoffmann was Minister of National Defense in the Council of Ministers of the German Democratic Republic, and since 2 October 1973 member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party (SED).
Herbert Scheibe was an East German Generaloberst and, between 1967 and 1972, Commanding general of the country's Airforce.
Wolfgang Bergold was an East German politician and diplomat who in 1963 was appointed as his country's ambassador to (North) Vietnam.
Karl Ewald Böhm was an East German writer who also served as Director of the Central Publishing Department in the country's Ministry for Culture. The department was responsible for Censorship.
Gerhard Dengler was an East German writer, print and broadcast journalist, and (briefly) newspaper editor.
Christian Mahler (1905-1966) was a Communist Party activist who resisted Naziism and spent most of the Hitler period in forced custody. After 1945 he became a party functionary in the German Democratic Republic and then an increasingly senior Police officer. He concluded his career as the first director of the Sachsenhausen National Memorial.
Vinzent Porombka was a German Communist political activist who became a party official, a member of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War, and an active participant in resistance to Nazism. In his later years he became a party functionary in the German Democratic Republic.
Emmi Handke was a German Communist party activist.
Franz Dahlem was a German politician. Dahlem was a leading official of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and, after 1945, of East Germany's ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED).
Hedwig Therese Dorothea Henriette Voegt was a German literary scholar who obtained a doctorate in German-Jacobin literature when she was 49 and became a university professor at Leipzig University.
Zenzl Mühsam was a political activist who was involved, with her husband, Erich Mühsam, in the Munich Soviet of 1919.
Arthur Pieck was a qualified typesetter. He was a committed political activist who became a stage and movie actor and, later, a Communist party official. He topped off his unusually varied career, between 1955 and 1960, as a senior director - ultimately General Director - of Interflug, the East German national airline. After this he served, between 1960 and 1965, as a junior Transport Minister.
Heinz Schmidt was a German journalist and editor. During the twelve Nazi years he was involved in active resistance, spending approximately three years in prison and a further seven years as a political refugee in London.
Lisa Ullrich was a German activist and politician. She was elected to the national parliament (Reichstag) in July 1932, remaining a member till March 1933, after the Nazi take-over.
Willy Sägebrecht was a political activist and politician from the Communist Party of Germany who was incarcerated as a resistance activist during the Nazi period. After 1945 he became a member of East Germany's powerful Party Central Committee and then, in 1957, head of the country's Military Intelligence Service.
Richard Gyptner was a German communist politician, activist and later a diplomat in East Germany.