The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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16 May 1933

Public deportation of Ludwig Marum and six other Social Democrats to the Kislau concentration camp

"What should I write to you? You have certainly read about what has happened in the papers. Don‘t worry about me. I am fine and feel I have the strength to endure it all!" Thus begins the letter written by Ludwig Marum to his wife on 16 May 1933, shortly after he was deported to the Kislau concentration camp. Several hours before he had been driven, as seen here in the photo, with six other Social Democrats from the Baden region in an open truck through the Karlsruhe city center, flanked by members of the SA and SS and police. The streets were lined with hundreds of onlookers. It was a public humiliation and a brutal representation of power that the Nazis had carefully prepared and announced in their newspapers. The so-called "show tour" passed the key staging posts of Ludwig Marum‘s political career: the Baden regional parliament building and the Ministry of State.

Born in Frankenthal in 1882, Ludwig Marum was a lawyer who joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in 1904. In 1911 he was elected to the Karlsruhe city council. Three years later he became member of the Baden regional parliament and in November 1918 was appointed Justice Minister in "preliminary government" of the new Republic of Baden. From 1919 until 1928 he was leader of the SPD faction in the Baden parliament, before being elected to the Reichstag.

On 10 May 1933 Ludwig Marum, an implacable opponent of the National Socialists, was arrested in Karlsruhe in spite of his immunity as a member of parliament and locked in the police jail in Riefstahlstrasse. Two months later the National Socialists organized his very public transfer to the Kislau concentration camp. The Social Democrats who joined him on the truck were all eventually released. However, Ludwig Marum never returned from the camp. He was murdered in Kislau on 29 March 1934. His funeral in Karlsruhe five days later was attended by more than 3,000 people.

Aubrey Pomerance

Categorie(s): captivity | politicians
Ludwig Marum and other Social Democrats on the bed of an open truck during their deportation to the Kislau concentration camp, unknown photographer, Karlsruhe, 16 May 1933. Marum is sitting on the bench at the back between two members of the SS.
Leo Baeck Institute, Elisabeth Lunau Collection, AR 6461

The fate of the Marum family

Shortly after Ludwig Marum‘s murder, his wife Johanna and their youngest daughter, Eva Brigitte, fled to Paris, to where their son Hans had already emigrated at his father‘s insistence in 1933. Ludwig and Johanna‘s eldest child, Elisabeth, also emigrated to France with her fiancé, Heinz Lunau.

After France‘s defeat and the occupation of the country, the family found itself threatened again. In spring 1940, the three women were interned in the Gurs camp, but were released again a few months later. Johanna Marum and her daughter Elisabeth obtained visas for the USA and managed to reach New York via Spain in July 1941. Heinz Lunau was interned in several French camps from September 1939 to June 1940 but then managed to escape to Morocco and was able to follow his wife to New York in December 1941. Hans Marum was also interned in several different camps between 1939 and 1942, and it was only in March 1942 that he finally found refuge in Mexico.

Eva Brigitte Marum was unable to flee to the USA with her mother and sister because she was heavily pregnant at the time. In July 1941 she gave birth to a son. Her attempt to reach Switzerland failed, and, while her child remained in safety in Limoges, Eva Brigitte Marum was arrested during a raid in January 1943 and deported via Drancy to the Sobibor concentration camp in March, where she was murdered.

Johanna and Ludwig Marum, ca. 1915.
Leo Baeck Institute, Elisabeth Lunau Collection, AR 6461