Baum, Bruno

Bruno Baum
Bruno Baum

Bruno Baum (13 Feb. 1910 – 13 Dec. 1971) was a German-Jewish communist who was arrested in 1935 for disseminating “propaganda material hostile to the State,” among other things. Baum was sentenced to 13 years for high treason in 1937. In April 1943, Baum was transferred to Auschwitz, where he worked as an inmate electrician. This allowed him access to almost all parts of the camp, inside and outside. In Auschwitz, Baum formed an underground group dedicated to spreading communist resistance propaganda, and became a leader of the Auschwitz camp partisans, who gathered espionage materials on German armaments operations and fabricated false atrocity stories, which were conveyed to Polish partisans outside the camp, who in turn radioed that material to the Polish government in exile in London. Other members of that group were Hermann Langbein (Austrian Communist Party, later Chairman of the Auschwitz Committee) and Jozef Cyrankiewicz (Polish socialist). After the war, Baum managed to get to communist East Germany, where he eventually became a leading communist official.

Three months after the end of the war, on 31 July 1945, Baum bragged in a communist newspaper that “All the propaganda that now began to circulate about Auschwitz in foreign countries originated with us [leading communist inmates], assisted by our Polish comrades.” He continued by observing that the Auschwitz camp Gestapo’s reaction to this propaganda was to improve the camp conditions to such an extent that “Auschwitz became a model camp in the end.” In later books published about his experiences during the war, he repeated his claim that he and his communist comrades were the source of today’s widespread propaganda about Auschwitz:

“I believe it is no exaggeration if I say that the biggest part of Auschwitz propaganda, which was spread in the world around that time, has been written by us in the camp. […] We spread this propaganda to the public at large until the very last day of our stay in Auschwitz.”

(Baum 1949, pp. 34f.; for details and sources, see Rudolf 2023, pp. 381-383: see also Polish underground reports)

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