The Buchenwald Manifesto

On the evening of Monday, 23 April 1945, Nazi opponents of various nationalities and political orientations gathered in Buchenwald for the “1st Buchenwald People’s Congress”. The theme was Germany’s future, the main speaker the Social Democrat Dr. Hermann Brill. He and others had founded the “League of Democratic Socialists” earlier that day.

The members of the league had begun wording their political programme on 13 April, two days after the liberation. At an assembly of international Socialists, Hermann Brill read out the principles of a German post-war order already drawn up before the camp was liberated. A seven-member editing committee summed up the discussion and, several days later, published the “Manifesto of Democratic Socialists of the Former Buchenwald Concentration Camp” in a hundred hectographed copies. It was one of the most significant documents of the time for the establishment of a democratic Germany.

(Harry Stein)

Source: Hermann Brill, Gegen den Strom, Offenbach a. M. 1946 (reprint Erfurt 1995).

Reference: Manfred Overesch, Hermann Brill in Thüringen 1895-1946: Ein Kämpfer gegen Hitler und Ulbricht, Bonn 1992.