Georg Hornstein

Georg Hornstein ( Berlin , December 8, 1900 – Buchenwald concentration camp , Germany, September 3, 1942) was a Jewish resistance fighter in Nazi Germany . The recognition of his Jewish heritage, which he himself made in 1942 during his captivity by the Gestapo , has often been cited as an example of Jewish resistance to Nazism . 1


Georg Hornstein was born in Berlin, the son of a merchant and grew up in Düsseldorf , where his family moved in 1902. In Düsseldorf his parents had a shop on the elegant Königsallee boulevard . Hornstein completed his baccalaureate ( Abitur ) and enrolled briefly in Cologne’s business school , until he enlisted as a volunteer as the end of World War I approached in January 1918. He was first sent to Vienna and later served As an ensign (33 regiment of snipers) in Krakow until his release in November 1918. He continued his studies in Cologne, Paris , London and Buenos Aires and returned to Düsseldorf in 1926 to take over the family business. In 1930, the Dutch-based department store Bijenkorf, based in Amsterdam, entrusted to Georg Hornstein the central purchasing department for Europe and North Africa. After the seizure of power by the Nazis, Hornstein tried to emigrate but had to return to Holland so that his residence permit did not expire.

With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War , he volunteered in Barcelona to fight with the Spanish Army, belonging to the Thälmann Battalion of the International Brigades , formed by German-speaking brigadists. 2 Served as an interpreter and instructor in Albacete and participated in the Battle of Madrid in Brunete, where he was seriously injured, and from September 1937 to April 1938 served in Albacete as liaison officer between the government of the Republic and the General Staff General of the International Brigades.

At the end of April 1938 he obtained permission to return to Amsterdam, where he began an activity of manufacturing leather articles. In May 1940, during World War II , when Nazi Germany occupied the Netherlands , she managed to liquidate its business and acquire jewelry and valuables. But when he tried to leave Holland and flee abroad, he was captured by the Secret Police ( Sicherheitsdienst or SD) and transferred to the Düsseldorf prison, where he was arrested and tortured. At one point, during his period of detention by the Gestapo, Hornstein wrote the following statement about his Jewish identity:

“… While it is true that I have German nationality and that I am considered a German citizen as the law says, the truth is that as a Jew I have lost all my rights in Germany, and hence I strive to find a new country. … As a Jew, I fought there [in Spain] for my convictions and for my human rights. Under these specific circumstances, I no longer considered myself a German citizen and was ready to take advantage of any opportunity I present myself to obtain a new nationality, just as I am willing as a Jew, to fight for my human rights. I have nothing more to declare . Georg Hornstein: report of the interrogation of the Gestapo, January 24, 1942. 3 4

On the basis of the interrogation report, the decision was taken to apply Hornstein to the third degree of preventive detention or Schutzhaft (since “because of his combatant past in Red Spain … he would act against the interests of the State”). The order was signed on 6 March 1942 by Reinhard Heydrich himself and Hornstein was transferred to the concentration camp at Buchenwald, where he arrived on 7 May 1942. There he was constantly under surveillance and was not allowed to work. Meanwhile, his mother, Hulda Hornstein was deported from Düsseldorf to Theresienstadt on 21 July 1942. Georg Hornstein was assassinated by SS members in Buchenwald on 3 September 1942.


  • Arno Lustiger. “Shalom Freedom !, Jews in the Spanish Civil War”, translated by Pedro Gálvez, Flor del Viento ediciones, Barcelona, ​​2001, p. 275-279. ISBN 8489644675 .
  • Hans Erler, Arnold Paucker, Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich (Editors). “Gegen alle Vergeblichkeit: Jüdischer Widerstand gegen den Nationalsozialismus”. Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2003, ISBN 3593373629 , 311 pages.
  • Arno Lustiger. “Zum Kampf auf Leben und Tod. Das Buch vom Widerstand der Juden 1933-1945”. Kiepenheurer & Witsch, Cologne, 1994. ISBN 346202292X pp. 73-75.
  • Konrad Kwiet, Helmut Eschwege. “Selbstbehauptung und Widerstand, Deutsche Juden im Kampf an Existenz und Menschenwürde 1933-1945”. 2d edition. Hans Christians Verlag, Hamburg, 1986. (Hamburger Beiträge zur Sozial- und Zeitgeschichte, Bd. 19) pp. 107-108. ISBN 3767208504 .


  1. Back to top↑ See, for example: Arno Lustiger, Zum Kampf auf Leben und Tod. Das Buch vom Widerstand der Juden 1933-1945 . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 1994, p. 74. (Citation: “Der nun folgend Teil des unbesungenen Helden Georg Hornstein ist das in dieser Form und unter diesen mörderischen Umständen einmalig formulierte Bekenntnis eines Widerstandskämpfers, der seine Bereitschaft bekundet, jederzeit für seine Rechte und seine Würde als Mensch und Jude zu kämpfen. “[In the context of anonymous heroes, Georg Hornstein’s confession is, under these dangerous and deadly circumstances, the only one that has been formulated by a resistance fighter and in which he expresses his willingness to fight at any moment for his Rights and dignity as a human being and as a Jew])
  2. Back to top↑
  3. Back to top↑ Citation of the SS interrogation of January 24, 1942, in Düsseldorf. Collected in the book of Arno Lustiger: Shalom Freedom !, Jews in the Spanish Civil War , German translation by Pedro Gálvez, Flor del Viento ediciones, Barcelona, ​​2001, p. 277.
  4. Back to top↑ Also collected in the book of Arno Lustiger: Zum Kampf auf Leben und Tod. Das Buch vom Widerstand der Juden 1933-1945 . Köln 1994, p. 74.