Winner of 1935 Nobel Peace Prize
German journalist and pacifist

Born 3 Oct 1889, Ossietzky dropped out of school and began writing for Das freie Volk (The free people) in 1911. He was convicted in 1913 for writing an article critical of a pro-military court decision. His wife, English-born Maud Woods, arranged to secretly pay the fine. He was drafted in 1916 despite poor health and served during World War I. After the war, he continued making pacifist speeches and articles, became president of the German Peace Society and briefly became directly involved with politics. In 1926, Ossietzky succeeded Siegfried Jacobsohn as head of Die Weltbühne (The World Stage) after the latter's death. Die Weltbühne became an intellectual forum and worked to expose the secret rearmament of Germany. Ossietzky was jailed repeatedly for libel and "betrayal of military secrets", but persevered.

Ossietzky was arrested on 28 Feb 1933, the day after the Reichstag fire, and transported to concentration camps at Sonnenburg and Esterwegen-Papenburg. He endured miserable conditions there and was forced to perform hard labor, even after suffering a heart attack. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1934, but the nomination came after the deadline. Ossietzky was awarded the Prize in 1936.

Ossietzky was extremely ill with tuberculosis, but German authorities would not release him from the camp and demanded that he refuse the Prize. He did not and was eventually released into a civilian hospital under surveillance, but was refused the passport needed to travel to Sweden to accept the Prize. He passed away in the hospital on 4 May 1938. The German Propaganda Ministry forbade any journalist from mentioning the awarding of the Nobel Prize and a law was passed forbidding the future awarding of the Nobel Prize to any German citizen.


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