Hans von Dohnanyi

Hans von Dohnanyi ( Vienna , 1 of January of 1902 – Sachsenhausen , 9 of April of 1945 ) was a German jurist, rescuer of Jews and member of the German resistance against the Nazi regime .


He was the son of the Hungarian composer Ernő Dohnányi and the pianist Elisabeth Kunwald. He grew up in Berlin, where he settled after his parents’ separation and attended the Gymnasium along with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Klaus Bonhoeffer . He studied law in Berlin and in 1925 received the doctorate for his thesis.

He married Christina Bonhoeffer , sister of his high school classmates, with whom he had three children: Klaus von Dohnanyi (who was mayor of Hamburg from 1981 to 1988), Barbara von Dohnanyi and conductor Christoph von Dohnányi .

In Law he concretized the Prussian lawsuit against the Deutsches Reich and the intrigues of Franz von Papen in 1932.

As a senior advisor he met Adolf Hitler , Joseph Goebbels , Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Göring in the early 1930s and had access to secret court documents so far.

After the night of the long knives of 1934, he began to form part of the resistance. In 1938 in view of his criticisms of the government, he was transferred to Leipzig .

Dohnanyi in 1942 made possible the escape to Switzerland of Jewish lawyers Friedrich Arnold and Julius Fliess, along with a dozen relatives in Operation U-7 and the like. Towards the end of February 1943 he confederated with Fabian von Schlabrendorff and Henning von Tresckow in the failed assassination of Hitler on the plane Condor in Smolensk .

Arrested on April 5, 1943 on charges of having violated currency exchange laws, he was sent in 1944 to Sachsenhausen concentration camp , where after the July 20 plot his participation became evident.

By order of Ernst Kaltenbrunner went to court martial without trial, tried by Otto Thorbeck and condemned to the gallows. He was executed on 9 April 1945 in Sachsenhausen while his companions Dietrich Bonhoeffer , General Hans Oster , Dr. Karl Sack, Ludwig Gehre and Wilhelm Canaris were hanged at Flossenbürg two weeks before the camp was released.

The State of Israel recognized him as one of the Righteous Among the Nations 1 and his name was inscribed on the walls of the Holocaust memorial in Yad Vashem , Jerusalem .


  1. Back to top↑ «Yad Vashem to Recognize Hans von Dohnanyi as Righteous Among the Nations» .