Willi Bredel

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.

Willi Bredel in 1951

Life and careerEdit

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.[1]

Soon after the Nazis seized power in 1933, Bredel was imprisoned at Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. He was released in spring 1934.[2] 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.[2] He also published accounts of his experiences in the Deutsche Zentral Zeitung,[2] a German-language newspaper published in Moscow.

Bredel took part in the Spanish Civil War as commissar of the Thälmann Battalion[3] as 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.[4]

After the war, he returned to Germany as part of the Sobottka Group,[5] sent to lay the groundwork for the Soviet occupation of Mecklenburg. He later lived in East Germany and died in East Berlin.

Postage stamp of Bredel

Awards and decorationsEdit

Selected worksEdit

  • Die Prüfung
  • The Death of General Moreau and other stories
  • Verwandte und Bekannte Trilogy

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "История немецкой литературы. Вилли Бредель (Willi Bredel, 1901—1964)". 19v-euro-lit.niv.ru. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  2. ^ a b c Klaus Drobisch, Günther Wieland, System der NS-Konzentrationslager: 1933-1939 Akademie Verlag (1993), pp. 243–244. ISBN 3-05-000823-7. Retrieved December 21, 2011 (in German)
  3. ^ Antifascism and Memory in East Germany - Remembering the International Brigades 1945-1989 - McLellan, Josie; Oxford Historical Monographs, Page 31
  4. ^ Adam, Wilhelm; Ruhle, Otto (2015). With Paulus at Stalingrad. Translated by Tony Le Tissier. Pen and Sword Books Ltd. p. 178. ISBN 9781473833869.
  5. ^ "Namensliste der drei KPD-Einsatzgruppen vom 27. April 1945" German Federal Archives. BArch NY 4036/517. Retrieved November 22, 2011 (in German)

External linksEdit