Memorial stone for resistance fighters at the Billstedt district office
On 8 May 1990, a memorial stone dedicated to murdered resistance fighters from Billstedt, Horn and Billbrook was unveiled outside the Billstedt district office. The inscription on it – ‘Anyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present’ – is a line taken from the speech given by Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker on 8 May 1985.
The Sonnenland History Group was able to identify the names of eight residents of Billstedt who were murdered by the Nazis: the Communists Josef Florczak, Kurt Vorpahl, Adolf Rembte and Fiete Schulze; Social Democrat Katharina Corleis; Heinz Priess, a member of the Bästlein-Jacob-Abshagen group; and Paul Kroll and John Tretien.
On 17 November 2008, the bronze plaque with the inscription was stolen. The memorial stone was rededicated with a new marble plaque on 20 July 2009 on the initiative of Reinhard Krogmann, the regional representative at the time.
Resistance in Billstedt
After the Nazis came to power, the labour movement in Billstedt was brutally suppressed, but there was resistance as well. An SPD cell in Billstedt arranged for the publication and distribution of a brochure entitled ‘Oranienburg Concentration Camp’. Everyday forms of resistance involved expressions of solidarity and the donation of small sums of money by neighbours and co-workers to support the families of people who had been arrested or killed. The Reichstag fire in Berlin on the night of 28 February 1933 and Hindenburg’s ‘Decree for the Protection of the People and State’ also impacted members of the Communist Party, many of whom were arrested or killed in the early months of 1933. Those who were able to joined the illegal underground movement or fought from exile abroad. Some party members later joined the International Brigades in Spain.