Günter Pappenheim, member of the honorary presidency of the FIR, deceased (1925-2021)

31. März 2021


With great sadness, we heard today that Günter Pappenheim, survivor of Buchenwald concentration camp, first vice-president of the International Committee Buchenwald-Dora and Commandos, chairman of the camp working group Buchenwald-Dora and member of the honorary presidency of the FIR has died at the age of 95.

As a young man, he was arrested and deported to Buchenwald concentration camp. His «crime»: He secretly played the Marseilles on a accordion for French forced laborers.

On April 19, 1945, he and his comrades spoke the «Oath of Buchenwald,» which was his political guideline throughout his life: «Destruction of Nazism with its roots, creation of a new world of peace and freedom.»

After the camp’s self-liberation, he worked hard for an anti-fascist-democratic new beginning in the SBZ and later the GDR. Even after the end of the GDR, he remained true to his anti-fascist convictions. Günter Pappenheim’s voice was heard, his statements on the memory of the common struggle of the Buchenwald prisoners carried weight in the public debate. He demonstrated this very clearly once again a year ago — even under the conditions of the Corona situation — on the 75th anniversary of the self-liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp on April 11, 1945. 

Honored, he was first abroad. The FIR appointed him a member of the honorary presidency. The French state appointed him a Knight of the Legion of Honor. Only in the last years, he experienced this recognition also in the FRG. He received the Order of Merit of the State of Thuringia and in the last year of his life, he became an honorary citizen of the city of Weimar.

His voice will be missed in preserving the legacy of the survivors. And of course we miss him as a person with his kindness, his sympathy and attention, his hints and advice.

We express our deepest sympathy to his comrades, his political companions and especially to his wife Margot Pappenheim. He remains unforgotten.