Richard Teichgräber

Born in the Saxon town of Dahlen, east of Leipzig, Richard Teichgräber grew up in a working-class family. Following his apprenticeship as a metalworker, he became increasingly involved in the trade union Deutscher Metallarbeiterverband (DMV) and began a career there: from 1918, he was a full-time trade union official, and went on to become district leader for Saxony. At the same time, he was active politically and served as city councillor in Leipzig from 1919 to 1925, representing the Social Democrats, the SPD/USPD.
On May 2, 1933, just a few weeks after the seizure of power by the National Socialists, the free trade unions were broken up and their members persecuted. A network emerged, aimed at establishing contact with the international trade union movement. This network also included Teichgräber. Through contacts abroad, information gathered in German firms was relayed to Social Democratic exile organisations. Exile newspapers such as the “Neuer Vorwärts” (New Forwards) and other publications were distributed in an attempt to circumvent censorship in Germany and counter National Socialist propaganda.
Teichgräber increasingly put himself in danger through his trade union activities: on December 15, 1934, he was arrested by the Gestapo and taken to Sachsenburg Concentration Camp near Chemnitz in 1935. He was released several months later but arrested again shortly afterwards and given a lengthy prison sentence by the Volksgerichtshof (People’s Court) in 1937 for “making preparations for high treason”. In 1938, he was deported from prison to a series of concentration camps, first to Buchenwald, then in January 1944 to Majdanek, and following its evacuation, to Auschwitz. Not long before the end of the war, he and other prisoners were transported to Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria. He was murdered in the sub-camp at Melk on February 25, 1945 (presumably).