Julius Baumann (1898 - 1942)

sacrificed his life to give dignity and joy to Jewish children at the time of Nazism

Jew, born in the Swedish capital in 1898, he gave up a visa for England in 1939 that would have saved his life to take care of his community, and in particular of poor people and children, until the end. Baumann was a referee of Stuttgarter Kickers in the 20s and 30s, when it was one of the most successful teams in southern Germany. After the adoption of the Stuttgart Declaration of 9th April 1933, envisaging the exclusion of Jews and Marxists from football clubs of southern Germany, Baumann had to leave the club. In the following years he was involved in the Jewish club Hakoah Stuttgart and helped people in need in the Jewish community of the city. He was killed in 1942 in Mauthausen concentration camp.

He made the presumably difficult and painful decision to remain in Stuttgart because he had promised the Jewish community to organize a summer camp for children to convey them dignity and courage. And for the little ones, in the darkest years of German history, Baumann created a little open-air paradise of freedom in Feuerbach valley: the Jewish sports field. With his own hands and long working hours, he built a modest children's pool that he was never tired of emptying and filling with fresh water using a bucket. He was one of those rare people who, seemingly defenceless, could still help others with a burst of courage. During Nazi persecution, Jewish citizens were forbidden to go to the cinema or to the theatre. Baumann inaugurated then what he called “the coloured hour” especially for them. He organized a sort of variety show in Hospitalstrasse 36 gymnasium to allow young people of the community to participate and have fun.

Despite Gestapo’s pressure, the brave Julius Baumann went on actively promoting cultural and sporting activities for the Jewish community. In 1941 and 1942 all Jewish citizens had to move to the so-called Judenhäuser, or to a ghetto. Baumann pretended he was a furniture carrier using a car, but actually gave food to people hiding them in a gymnasium. Later, in 1942, his “Aryan” assistant was captured. After such arrest he betrayed Baumann, who was later captured and soon deported. According to sources, the Gestapo man who had to arrest him was not enthusiastic about that. He told him: “Damn it, Julius, why did you end up into something so stupid? I have to arrest you now!”. Baumann was initially offered what appeared to be a possible way out, as he knew Alfred Amthor, head of Gestapo Central Office in Stuttgart. Amthor was a Kickers former athlete. But his influence was not sufficient to save him.

Julius Baumann was first taken to Welzheim and later deported to Mauthausen concentration camp. He then died there. The official announcement of 1st October 1942 is the following: “killed while escaping”. Only a week had elapsed since his arrest when his ashes returned to Stuttgart. His urn was then placed in the Jews section of Pragfriedhof city cemetery. His tombstone reads: “He gave his life for the Jewish community”. In front of his house, in Eberhardstrasse no. 35, a stone commemorates this extraordinary person.

Gardens that honour Julius Baumann

Julius Baumann is honoured in the Gardens of Marina di Pisa e Stuttgart.

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There are many stories about people who saved the Jews from the Nazi atrocities in WWII, many of which are still little known or even unknown.

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