Attention when entering the cave!

Oskar Pflaumer was a mechanic in telegraphy and father of two children. He equipped an illegal group of young communists for the caching of a clandestine printing press, which was located in a cave in a nearby Franconian forest. When their resistance group was uncovered on August 16th 1933, Pflaumer was arrested as one of the first antifascist resistance fighters with a communist background. Aged only 29, he died after hours of brutish torture the next day. He was tortured and killed by the Sturmabteilung (SA) – at that time the most infamous of the Nazis’ paramilitary troops, and also an auxiliary police force of the state. This happened at this very place, in the (now vanished) headquarter of the ASB (Arbeiter Samariter Bund / Workers’ Samaritan Foundation). As an organisation of the working class movement, the ASB was prohibited by the Nazis and robbed of their buildings and possessions.


Historical image-source: StatAN A38 F-56-10

Along with his comrade Ludwig Göhring and others, Oskar Pflaumer accomplished one of the most spectacular acts of antifascist resistance in the region: the establishment and operation of an illegal, oppositional printing press. It was hidden first in a summer house close to the city before it was transferred to a cave in the Franconian Jura. From May 1933 onwards, Ludwig Göhring printed the „Blätter der Sozialistischen Freiheitsaktion“ („Newspapers of the Socialist Liberty Movement“) there on behalf of the Kommunistischer Jugendverband (Young Communists League), which aimed at spreading information and news that weren’t controlled and censured by the fascist government. As a trained mechanic, Pflaumer produced the rope-ladder which Göhring needed to enter and leave the cave for his nocturnal printing. Göhring managed to print three issues of the leaflets before a failed handover of the packages (which he smuggled to Nuremberg) lead to his and Pflaumer’s arrest by the SA – and consequently to the divestiture of nearly the whole communist underground. In the night of the 16th to the 17th of August 1933 Pflaumer and Göhring were interrogated in the SA headquarter here at the Kornmarkt. They were tied to a stretcher and beaten with batons and bullwhips. Oskar Pflaumer died that very night of these torments.

Within the next few weeks and months, the Nazi-authorities arrested over 40 other persons involved in the regional communist resistance movement. This systematic annihilation of actual and suspected enemies of the Nazi-movement was an essential part of Nazi ideology. The very first of the regime’s victims (of many to come) were the members and supporters of the KPD (Communist Party of Germany) and of other communist organisations. It was them, who – before the fall of the Weimar Republic to the end of the WWII – were among the most committed and determined opponents of the NSDAP. At the end of 1933, 60.000 to 100.000 supporters of the KPD were held in prisons and concentration camps of the fascist regime.