Hans Maikowski (SA-Mitglied)

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State funeral for Hans Maikowski on 5 February 1933 in Berlin

Hans Eberhard Maikowski (* 23 February 1908 in Berlin; † 31 January 1933 ibid)[1] was a member of the SA. Because of his violent death on the day of the Nazi “seizure of power”, Nazi propaganda stylized him, like Horst Wessel, as a “blood witness of the movement”.[2]


Early life and career in the SA until 1933

Hans Maikowski moved to Stuttgart in 1923, where he had his first contacts with the NSDAP. He attended the Waldorf School there, which expelled him “among other things because of his anti-Semitic attitude”. Back in Berlin from 1924, he joined the Wehrverband Olympia disguised as a sports club and the Frontbann Nord. From 1924 to 1925 he was a soldier in the Reichswehr. From 1926 to 1928 he completed an apprenticeship as a gardener. Maikowski was the first flag bearer of the Berlin SA in 1926 and founded the “Arbeiterjugend Charlottenburg” in 1929.[3]

From 20 February 1931 until his death, he was leader of SA-Sturm 33 in Berlin-Charlottenburg. On the account of the “Mördersturm[s] 33”[4] went numerous murders of political opponents in the early 1930s. Maikowski himself briefly fled abroad after pleading guilty through a lawyer to shooting the worker Walter Lange on December 9, 1931, in the course of a street fight in what is now Otto-Suhr-Allee.[5] Returning home, he was arrested in October 1932, but was set free on December 23, 1932, as part of the Christmas amnesty.[6] Afterwards he worked for the Völkischer Beobachter.[3]


On 30 January 1933, Maikowski took part in the torchlight procession celebrating Adolf Hitler’s appointment as Reich Chancellor. On the return march, the Sturm 33 led by Maikowski made a provocative detour through Wallstraße in Charlottenburg, which was predominantly inhabited by KPD supporters. There there was an exchange of fire with residents, during which the policeman Josef Zauritz was shot and Maikowski was so seriously injured that he died in the Westend hospital.[7]

The circumstances of the crime remained unexplained. The National Socialist propaganda attributed the deeds to the Communists. The latter insisted that they had not fired a shot and named a witness who accused an SA man. A major show trial against 56 defendants, almost all members of the KPD, ended with sentences totalling 39 years in prison and 95 years in jail, without any one being proven to have been directly involved in the crime, and with an acquittal. Statements made by SA comrades of Maikowski to the Secret State Police Office in June 1933, which identified the SA man Alfred Buske (* 26 October 1912; † 18 January 1934) as the perpetrator, remained secret and were destroyed in 1943. Further circumstantial evidence supports Buske’s perpetration. In later editions of their commemorative book Sturm 33, Hans Maikowski ‘s comrades erased any reference to Buske and replaced him in a photo by means of retouching with the SA man Paul Foyer, one of the main defendants in the trial for the murder of Otto Grüneberg.[8]

Recent research into the incident has brought out that the shooting of Maikowski by Buske was probably, in the last instance, the result of an order from Berlin Gauleiter Joseph Goebbels: In an expert opinion that became public in 2019, Wolfram Pyta and Rainer Orth refer to a testimony they elicited from former SA member Karl Deh, who had been an eyewitness to the shooting of Maikowski, to the Berlin police in 1967, in which Deh reported on a meeting of senior SA leaders of the Berlin-Charlottenburg district on December 27, 1932, which he himself, Deh, had attended. During this meeting, some participants had expressed their fear that the “Political Organization” (PO), the party apparatus of the NSDAP, in the event of a National Socialist takeover of power in the state, might try to out-maneuver the SA – which in the PO’s view would then have done its duty and would no longer be needed – in order not to have to share the fruits of victory with the SA, but to have them for themselves alone. Especially the Berlin Gauleiter Goebbels, who was considered treacherous and scheming in SA circles, was believed to have such intentions. For this reason, at the SA leaders’ meeting of December 27, the idea was expressed “that Goebbels would have to disappear first [i.e., before coming to power]” in order to prevent such a development. Hans Maikowski, who was one of the participants in the meeting, had thereupon, according to Deh, confidently declared that “if it would be necessary” he (Maikowski) would personally take it upon himself to shoot Goebbels. Deh explained that, according to his conviction, Maikowski’s private threat of December 27, 1932, had been passed on to Goebbels in the following days by another participant in the meeting – Deh suspected the Standartenführer Berthold Hell – and that Goebbels had then arranged for Maikowski to be liquidated by Buske in order to get rid of a man who could potentially become dangerous to him one day. In his characteristic cynicism, Goebbels had subsequently instrumentalized the elimination of his personal enemy Maikowski for his propaganda by having Maikowski, after his assassination, transfigured by the press and radio into a “martyr” for the Third Reich in order to create another myth that was suitable to contribute to the ideological consolidation of the new regime. As evidence for his assumption that Buske had carried out Maikowski’s murder on a higher order, Deh pointed out to the 1966 investigators that Buske had always had money after Maikowsi’s death until his own death in 1934, although he had never worked, and that, moreover, Deh had been promoted in a very short time during 1933 from SA-Truppführer to SA-Sturmhauptführer (i.e., by three ranks). According to Deh’s opinion, Buske had spontaneously shot the policeman Zauritz “out of necessity” in order to be able to carry out the assassination attempt on Maikowski, which he had been charged with, without hindrance and in order to get rid of an unwelcome official witness by shooting Zauritz.[9]

Nazi propaganda highlighted Maikowski as a martyr. On 5 February 1933, Reich propaganda leader Joseph Goebbels staged a major event in the form of a state funeral for both victims in Berlin. It consisted of a funeral service by DC pastor Joachim Hossenfelder in the Berlin Cathedral and a solemn funeral procession to the Invalidenfriedhof, where Maikowski’s burial took place after eulogies by Hermann Göring and Goebbels and Fritz-Otto Busch.[10] The event, which is said to have been attended by 600,000 people..,[11] was broadcast on radio stations throughout the Reich.[12] and excerpts were included in the Nazi propaganda film Deutschland erwacht (1933). SA-Standarte 1 later bore the name “Hans Maikowski”.[13] Streets in many German cities and towns were given his name.[14] At the place of his death, Wallstraße 52, now “Maikowskistraße”, a memorial plaque commemorated him, as did, from 1937, a memorial fountain in nearby Richard-Wagner-Straße.[8] None of Maikowski’s numerous public tributes survived the Hitler era.[15] According to a witness statement of 18 February 1943, Maikowski was said to have been “shot by the SA man Buske” […].[16]

Web links

  • History of the SA in Berlin/Brandenburg (PDF; 1.7 MB), by Bernhard Sauer: Goebbels’ “Rabauken”. On the History of the SA in Berlin-Brandenburg. In: Berlin in History and Present. Yearbook of the Berlin State Archives 2006.
  • Maikowski, Hans Eberhard, in: Marcus Weidner: Die Straßenbenennungspraxis in Westfalen und Lippe im Nationalsozialismus. Database of Street Naming 1933-1945. Münster 2013 ff. LWL Institute for Westphalian Regional History

Individual references

  1. Death certificate in the Landesarchiv Berlin, A Rep. 358-01 No. 7086
  2. To Die for Germany, Jay W. Baird, Indiana University Press (September 1992)
  3. a b Maikowski, Hans Eberhard, in: Marcus Weidner: Die Straßenbenennungspraxis in Westfalen und Lippe während des Nationalsozialismus. Datenbank der Straßenbenennungen 1933-1945, Münster 2013 ff. on the Internet portal “Westphalian History”, as of 12 December 2013
  4. Sven Reichardt: Der Charlottenburger SA-“Mördersturm 33” (1928-1932), in: Knoch, Habbo (ed.): Täterinnen und Täter, Hamburg 2002.
  5. Social Democratic Press Service of 4 February 1933 (PDF; 2.7 MB) at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation
  6. Stephan Brandt: Die Charlottenburger Altstadt, Sutton Verlag, Erfurt 2011. ISBN 978-3-86680-861-4. p. 45.
  7. Bernhard Sauer: “Goebbels Rabauken” (PDF; 1.7 MB). In: Landesarchiv Berlin: Berlin in Geschichte und Gegenwart. 2006, pp. 107-164; here p. 139.
  8. a b Stephan Brandt: Die Charlottenburger Altstadt, Sutton Verlag, Erfurt 2011. ISBN 978-3-86680-861-4. p. 100.
  9. Wolfram Pyta/Rainer Orth: Gutachten über die politische Haltung und das politische Verhalten von Wilhelm Prinz von Preußen (1882-1951), letzter Kronprinz des Deutschen Reiches und von Preußen, in den Jahren 1923 bis 1945, p. 77.
  10. Archived copy(Memento of 18 July 2013 in the Internet Archive) p. 35
  11. The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels (ed. by Elke Fröhlich) Part 1 / Vol. 2/III, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-598-23788-1, p. 124f (February 6, 1933)
  12. Memorial ceremonies for SA-Sturmfuehrer Hans Eberhard Maikowski(Memento from August 26, 2014 in the Internet Archive) in the holdings of the G. Robert Vincent Voice Library, Michigan State University Libraries
  13. Federal Archives, fonds NS 23/339
  14. Historical street names in Bayreuth
  15. Marie-Luise Kreuter: Der rote Kietz. In: Helmut Engel, Stefi Jersch-Wenzel, Wilhelm Treue (eds.): Charlottenburg. Part 1: The Historical City. Nicolaische Verlagsbuchhandlung, Berlin 1986, ISBN 3-87584-167-0, pp. 158-177; on Maikowski pp. 165-174, 177
  16. Facsimile in Bernhard Sauer, p. 34.