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Hans Beimler and fight scene of the International Brigades in the background as depicted on an East German stamp

Hans Beimler (2 July 1895 – 1 December 1936) was an active member of the German Communist Party and a deputy in the Reichstag.

Beimler was born in Munich and served in the Kaiserliche Marine during the First World War. A fervent anti-Nazi, he had been detained in Dachau concentration camp in April 1933, but managed to escape in May 1933 by strangling his SA guard and escaping in his uniform. He went to Spain as commissar of the first contingent of the International Brigades volunteers who supported the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War and helped to defend Madrid from the Nationalists in November 1936, during the Battle of Madrid. He was killed during the battle. There were later speculations, which accused the NKVD, the secret service of the USSR, of responsibility for his death.[1]

He wrote an account of his experiences at Dachau which appeared in the Soviet Union in August 1933: Im Mörderlager Dachau: Vier Wochen unter den braunen Banditen, Verlagsgenossenschaft ausländischer Arbeiter in der UdSSR, Moscow and Leningrad, 1933. It was one of the very first published accounts of life inside a Nazi concentration camp and was translated into several languages, including English, Spanish and French.

He is buried at the Montjuïc Cemetery, Barcelona.

He became well-known because of a song of Ernst Busch (after a melody by Friedrich Silcher), which was then recorded by the radio station in Barcelona.

The XI International Brigade was named in his honour.

His son, Hans Beimler, Jr. was arrested in Moscow in the NKVD Hitler Youth Conspiracy. He was later released, along with the son of Max Maddalena, another prominent Communist, and two others.[2]


  • Beevor, Antony (2006). The Battle for Spain. 


  1. The Black Book of Communism p. 349.
  2. Hans Schafranek, Natalia Musienko, "The Fictitious 'Hiter-Jugend' of the Moscow NKVD" in: Barry McLoughlin, Kevin McDermott (Eds.), Stalin's Terror: High Politics and Mass Repression in the Soviet Union. Palgrave MacMillan (2003), pp. 217-218 ISBN 1-4039-0119-8. Retrieved December 1, 2011

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