A short biography of German anarchist Heinrich Weigand, who suffered more than 11 years in Nazi prisons and concentration camps.
Heinrich Weigand, born on May 8th, 1909 in Darmstedt-Arheilgen, was a paver and a member of the anarchosyndicalist union the Freie Arbeiter Union Deutschlands (FAUD) in Darmstadt in the Rhineland. Together with other members of the FAUD (see the entry on Gustav Doster here at libcom) he set up underground networks under Nazi rule. He was a member of the group around the Bulgarian anarchist Kiril Inkoloff (Inkolov) who later perished in the death camps.
Due to information from informers against members of the Darmstadt FAUD, the Gestapo were able between December 1934 and May 1935 to dismantle the underground networks in southwest Germany, and after arrests in Ludwigshafen, Mannheim, Darmstadt, Frankfurt am Main and Offenbach am Main to put many anarchosyndicalists on trial. Two members of the FAUD in Darmstadt were sentenced to a year’s imprisonment each for membership of an illegal organisation. Following this, in May 1935 there was another trial of 9 anarchosyndicalists before the Darmstadt Higher Regional Court which ended with sentences of 2 years apiece for the defendants. Another trial of seven anarchosyndicalists took place on August 25th, 1936.These had already been in prison for twenty months of pre-trial detention. The Gestapo were thus able to paralyse the courier service to Holland set up by the anarchists.
Weigand had already been sentenced to a year’s imprisonment on December 6th 1933 for maintaining an illegal organisation. He was one of those sentenced for “preparation for high treason” in May 1935 and he served his time in the Marienschloss prison near Butzbach. He was considered politically unreliable by the Gestapo so he was immediately re-arrested on his release in 1937 at the prison gate and sent to the concentration camp at Dachau on July 24th.
He was transferred on 27th September 1939 to Flossenbürg concentration camp but was returned to Dachau on March 2nd 1940. This was because Dachau was temporaily evacuated because of the need to train the SS Totenkopf division in the area. Camp records indicate that he made several attempts to escape and that he was repeatedly in KA (detention at the Commandant’s office) which meant harsher conditions, beatings and torture.
On 19th September, 1944 Weigand escaped from the Königssee external command near Berchtesgaden with two other prisoners. He was apprehended after three days, imprisoned in Berchtesgarden and Bad Reichenhall and returned to Dachau on January 11th, 1945, after three months. During this time he was made to work as a paver, cook, paramedic and clerk, A day after his return to Dachau, he was transferred to the Flossenbürg concentration camp.
In April 1945, during the process of liquidation of the Flossenbürg camp, he escaped again and returned to Darmstadt-Arheilgen.
He married shortly after. Together with his wife and two daughters Weigand later moved to Haslach in Baden- Württemberg. In the 1950s he fought successfully for compensation as a political prisoner. He continued to suffer after-effects of his treatment in the prisons and camps. He died in 1971. He had suffered a total of eleven years and six months of imprisonment.