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Rudolf Breitscheid

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Title: Rudolf Breitscheid  
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Subject: Germany/Anniversaries/November/November 2, Breitscheid, Germany/Anniversaries/November, Members of the IV. German Reichstag (Weimar Republic), List of people on the postage stamps of the German Democratic Republic
Collection: 1874 Births, 1944 Deaths, Democratic Union (Germany) Politicians, Free-Minded Union Politicians, German Civilians Killed in World War II, German People Who Died in Buchenwald Concentration Camp, Independent Social Democratic Party Politicians, Members of the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic, People from Cologne, People from the Rhine Province, People of the Weimar Republic, People Who Emigrated to Escape Nazism, Politicians Who Died in Nazi Concentration Camps, Social Democratic Party of Germany Politicians
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Rudolf Breitscheid

Postage stamp, GDR, 1974
Memorial plaque to Breitscheid in Berlin. It states that he died in an air raid on Buchenwald, though he may possibly have been murdered by the Nazis.

Rudolf Breitscheid, (November 2, 1874 – August 28, 1944) was a leading member of the Social Democratic Party and a delegate to the Reichstag during the era of the Weimar Republic in Germany.

Breitscheid, the son of a bookshop manager, was born in Cologne. He studied at a Gymnasium (an academically-oriented secondary school) in Cologne. From 1894 to 1898 he studied Economics at the Universities of Munich and Marburg; in 1898 he obtained his doctorate with a dissertation entitled "Land Policy in the Australian Colonies." From 1898 to 1905, he worked as an editor and correspondent for newspapers with a middle-class, Liberal outlook.

Between 1903 and 1908, Breitscheid was a member of the Free-minded Union. In 1908, he numbered among the founding members of the left-liberal Democratic Union (DV) and, until the Reichstag elections of 1912, served as its chair.

After the DV founded in the 1912 elections, Breitscheid joined the SPD, switching five years later to the more leftist splinter faction, the USPD (Independent Social Democratic Party). During the years of the First World War, he was the SPD faction's spokesman for foreign policy, as well as member of the German delegation to the League of Nations. After Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power in 1933 Breitscheid and all members of the SPD present voted against the Enabling Act of 1933. Especially Breitscheid and Otto Wels were singled out later by Konstantin von Neurath as example that acts of terror against different minded persons are a "calumny". He emigrated to France by way of Switzerland, with the help of Alfred Faust. [1]

There, efforts were undertaken by the Refugee Committee, under Ernst Thälmann, perished during an Allied air raid on August 28, 1944. Varian Fry, among others, believed that Breitscheid was murdered by the Gestapo on the orders of Hitler or another senior Nazi Party official. He is buried in the Friedrichsfelde Central Cemetery in the borough of Lichtenberg in Berlin.[2]

Today, a plaza in the centre of Berlin is named after Breitscheid, while in Oberhof, Kaiserslautern, Potsdam, Leverkusen,[3] and Dresden, as well other parts of eastern Germany, there are streets bearing his name.

Some of the streets named after him in eastern Germany have, since 1989, been renamed.


  1. ^ Sees Rebirth of War Time Propaganda, Berlin 1933-03-26. St. Joseph Gazette, St. Joseph, Missouri, 1933-03-27.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Leverkusen, Rudolf-Breitscheid-Str. at
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