By J. Bellinger
This is one of the most interesting pieces I have read in a while and thought I would share it with alt. revisionism. From the book, "Not as a Lamb" by Lucien Steinberg, we read the following, which I will condense: One of the most extraordinary Resistance groups was founded by Herbert and Marianne Baum at the end of summer 1937, extraordinary in that it was set up right in the heart of the capital city of the Nazi Reich, and was composed mainly of members of those sections of the community most zealously pursued and persecuted by the Nazis: the Jews, the Communists and the Communist Jews....
Most of the Jewish resistance fighters were young, but the Baum group was exceptionally so....
Herbert Baum...born in 1912,..had founded a German-Jewish movement in 1928 and in 1932 had gone over to the Communist Youth Movement. Other young Jews, future members of the Baum group....set up a group called Werkleute, while the remainder joined the Socialist Youth Movement.
When Hitler seized power, Baum was directed by the Communist Party to re-establish contact with his old comrades and at the beginning of 1934, he and a number of Communists and Communist sypathizers, joined by the German-Jewish Youth movement, the Ring-Bund Judischer Jugend, which was to remain legal up to 1938 (!..jb), while other friends of Baum joined the Zionist movement Hachomer Hatzair.
...A dozen young Jews belonged to a nucleus attached to the Communist group of
south-west Berlin militating in an area covering the districts of the Centre
(Mitte), Kreuzberg and Neukoelln...a number of of Jews and their friends fromed
a Resistance nucleus. As Herbert Baum was the only one in touch with the
administration of the south-west sub-district, and as he alone directed the
splinter group, the safety of the conspiracy (sic) was assured. If the worst
came to the worst, the young Jews could not be accused of Communist activities
since they were all members of a legal Jewish organization.
(The author continues by remarking upon the measures enacted by the Nazis after the assassination of Vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan):
One of the effects of this series of measures - and the one the Germans most sought - was to force the Jews to emigrate or flee. (Bold mine,, jb).
Internees and their families were informed that they would be set at liberty if they could produce entry visas to any country whatsoever...
Heydrich declared...."We have been able to encourage 50,000 Jews to leave Austria,. During the same period only 19,000 Jews left Germany itself.".
During the months that followed tens of thousands of Jews left German territiry. By this time Herbert Baum had acquired such authority among the young Berlin Jews that those who wished to emigrate, even when they were not true Communists but merely Communist sympathizers came to ask him for moral authorization to do so....
No one was refused...and with his wife did everything he could to keep up the spirits of those who, willing or not, had remained in Germany. A litery, artistic, and musical circle was set up in the Baum home, consisting mainly of young Communists like Hildegard Jadamowitz, but including such Zionists as Hildegard Loewy, who retained her convictions right to the end. Arrested and tried in 1942 (!-jb) she blazoned before the court her solidarity with her comrades and with the Soviet Union, principal enemy of the Third Reich, the fact that she had lost an arm doing nothing to diminish her courage.
Herbert Baum and other members of his group...were in personal contact with other Berlin militants and Communists, but these were very much reduced in number and strength. The most important, in effectiveness rather than size, was that of Harro Schulze-Boysen and dArvid Harnack, known under the name of Rote Kapelle (Red Orchestra) given it by the Gestapo.....
The most important contact was the one Herbert Baum made with his old classmate Werner Steinbrink, who, although half-Jew, had managed to obtain the status "Aryan" (!!-jb)....
Another Communist group with which Baum was in touch was the Europaeische Union, so called - because of its multiple relations with French and Belgian workers.
Herbert Baum...was to expound the principles of Communism to them all, reading and encouraging others to read the main ideological Communist texts, of which Lenins The State and Revolution seems to have been one of the most popular...the principal enemy of the Jews (And the Communists-jb) in Germany and outside it, was Nazi Fascism; the most bitter and powerful enemy of Nazi fascism, against which it directed its most single minded opposition, was Communism, having as its instigator the Soviet Union. It followed logically that the only lasting solution for the German Jewish problem in Germany would be reached through Communism or the Soviet Union.
Situated on the fringe of other illegal Communist groups in Berlin, the Baum group militated as best it could within its limits, and in the autumn of 1940 (!-jb) it organized a semi-public demonstration (Underlining mine, jb), aimed at two objectives. The group had just learnt of the death at Buchenwald of Rudi Arndt, a very special militant Communist Jew who had been interned in concentration camps since 1933, having served previous prison sentences for his Communist activities....
Herbert Baum and his comrades felt impelled to pay homage to his memory....and to this end.....some 50 members of the group gathered together in the Jewish cemetary of Berlin-Weissensee, the cemetary where they all now lie.
From the beginning of 1941, the underground activities of the group consisted in the preparation and distribution of propaganda leaflets.
One, aimed at doctors, disclosed that there were many more wounded on the Russian front than the authorities admitted, that they were badly cared for, that the medical equipment was inadequate, etc. Other documents-one ran to 19 typed pages-were distributed most frequently via the army postal service.....
We refer here only to the documents produced at the trial of one section of the Baum group which are nothing more nor less than Communist texts, the other material distributed by the Baum group consisting of propaganda posters denouncing the Nazi regime and prophesying its inevitable defeat....which were stuck on the walls of the Reich capital. Herbert Baum and certain members of his group found this propagandist activity far too tame, and looked for the opportunity to deala vital blow, though in achieving this they were to lose their lives.
Heinz Birnbaum, a turner by trade, was born in berlin on 22 September 1920, became friendly with Herbert Baum in the Zionist Youth movement and shared lodgings with him between 1938 and 1940, in which year Heinz began a course on Communist politics; and it was he who, at the end of 1941, was entrusted with the 19 page document we have mentioned, which bore the title Organize the mass revolutionary struggle against Fascism and the Imperialist War.
The donor was another Jew whom we only know as Hopp. In the spring of 1942, Birnbaum, Marianne Baum and Sala Kochmann, under Herbert Baums direction, prepared a treatise on the German food situation, in direct response to an article written by Dr, Goebbels,...which had appeared in his weekly paper Das Reich.
At the beginning of May 1942, Dr. Goebbels propaganda services organized a gigantic exhibition, The Soviet Paradis, in the Lustgarten in the center of Berlin. The Red Orchestra group, led by Schulze-Boysen, replied by preparing an enormous number of placards and posters denouncing Dr. Goebbels scheme and plastering the walls around the exhibition under cover of blackout, which operation was carried through without incident.
Schulze-Boysen and his friends were arrested shortly afterwards, but for entirely different reasons. Herbert Baum and his comrades had joined the others in pasting up the posters, and now wanted to go a step further and set fire to the exhibition buildings. (Arson!,jb) Some members of the group considered the action too risky, not only for the participants, but for the Berlin Jews as a whole. A much larger number could hardly wait to participate in the attack, either because there were not sufficient explosives or because their too characteristic physiogomy would have given them away.
The explosives were delivered to Herbert Baum on Friday, 15 May 1942, when
he decided that 7 members would take part in the operation: he and his wife,
Marianne, Hans Joachim, Gerd Meyer, Sala Kochmann, Suzanne Wesse and Irene
Walter, three men and four women. On the Sunday evening, 17th May, the seven
made their way to the spot, but finding there were too many people around, put
off the action until next day. On Monday evening they placed their miniature
incendiary bombs at different points in the exhibition, the idea being that
several conflagrations should burst out simultaneously.
(And what was the plan? To blame the fire on Goebbels, as their comrades blamed the Reichstag fire on Goering?-jb)
At all events, firemen extinguished the fires and the German Press did not breathe a word about the affair....
Within a few days of the event, the seven participants and most of the other members of the group were seized by the Gestapo. Steinbrink and Franke were also arrested. On June 11, 1942, the Gestapo informed the public prosecutor that Herbert Baum had committed suicide.
Those who had been directly involved in the outrage, Franke, Steinbrink and eight others, were tried on 16 July 1942. All were executed on 18 August. The members of the Rotholz group were tried on 10 December and with the exception of Lotte Rotholz, Alice Hirsch, and Edith Frankel, were condemned to death and executed on 4 March 1943....they had been condemned to death for participating in an act of high treason......The defense of the accused was entrusted to lawyers designated by the court, for Jewish lawyers had no longer the right to plead, and the accused were not authorized to choose their own defense cousel. It is only fair to point out that the lawyers in question, members of the National Socialist Party, did all that they could in an effort to save their clients-to the extent of incurring the displeasure of both prosecutor and court. (Underlinig mine, jb). They managed to obtain prison sentences for three of them: eight years for Lotte Rotholz, five years for Edith Frankel, three years for Alice Hirsch.
(According to the text, the three women were later transported to Auschwitz and did not return. Consequently, they may have died of disease, or may have ended up elsewhere in Europe by the end of the war.--jb)
Richard Holzer and Charlotte Paech both survived the war, and served the East democratic German Republic. (As could be expected of die hard Communist militants-jb)
END OF QUOTES;
COMMENT: There is little to add to the above, yet each passage is noteworthy in itself. The section about the National Socialist Lawyers defending their Jewish defendants was particularly interesting.
Return to ARTICLES PAGE
Return to CONTENTS PAGE