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Carl von Ossietzky as Prisoner in a Concentration Camp (c. 1934)
As publisher of the magazine Weltbühne, the author and journalist Carl von Ossietzky (1889-1938), was one of the most important journalists of the Weimar Republic. Like many authors who wrote for the magazine, he was a convinced pacifist and democrat. As such, he had already run into trouble with the government even before Hitler came to power: in 1931, for example, he had published an article on the secret rearmament of the Reichswehr (the Weltbühne Trial). After the Nazi takeover, Ossietzky was arrested by the Gestapo on a pretext in connection with the Reichstag fire, tortured, and sent to the Sonnenburg concentration camp. The Weltbühne was banned that same year, and Ossietzky's books were removed from libraries and burned. A year later, he was transferred to the Esterwegen concentration camp in Emsland, where this picture of the weakened and emaciated author was taken. In late 1934, completely exhausted from forced labor, insufficient nourishment, and abuse, he was transferred to the sick ward, where he was infected with tuberculosis. After his case attracted international attention on account of his having been recommended for a Nobel Peace Prize, Ossietzky was transferred to the state police hospital in Berlin in 1936. During his stay at the hospital, he was retroactively awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1935 and accepted it despite Nazis intimidation attempts. However, he was forbidden to travel to Oslo for the presentation of the prize. While still under police supervision, Ossietzky died at the hospital on May 4, 1938, as the result of serious maltreatment and tuberculosis.