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HECHT, Auguste (Gusti)

Born: 1903
Died: 1950 12 17

Architect / Journalist

Gusti (Auguste) Hecht was born in 1903 in Brno, which at that time belonged to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. From 1922/1923 she studied architecture in Vienna and finished her studies as a graduate engineer. She moved to Berlin and worked as an architect. In 1929, together with Hermann Neumann, she won a competition, advertised by the Berlin Jewish Community among Jewish architects, with her design for the new construction of a synagogue in Klopstockstraße in the Hansaviertel in Berlin-Tiergarten. However, the design, which in its modernity deliberately renounced sacral forms, was never executed.

From August 1931, Gusti Hecht worked as a picture editor at the Berliner Tageblatt and The Welt-Spiegel. From issue No. 41 of 11 October 1931, she took over editorial responsibility for the Welt-Spiegel. Under her editorial leadership, an offensive stand was taken for the defense of the republic and against the danger of the Nazis taking power. Even after the transfer of power to Hitler and the NSDAP on January 30, 1933, the front page of the issue of February 26, 1933, one day before the Reichstag fire, showed demonstrators of the "Iron Front" of the SPD and the Reichsbanner with a raised fist (the photo was taken by the worker photographer Eugen Heilig), connected with the appealing lettering "Freiheit!".

The Editors Law (Schriftleitergesetz) of October 4, 1933, forbid non-“Aryans” from working in journalism and made it impossible for Jewish journalists to continue to work. On October 1, 1933, Gusti Hecht was responsible for the magazine for the last time.

Gusti Hecht was politically active in the environment of the SPD, moved in the left intellectual scene and was very closely related to Carl von Ossietzky. After Ossietzky's arrest on February 28, 1933, she belonged to the "Friends circle Carl von Ossietzky", who supported the family of the arrested man and maintained contact with the detainee.

Gusti Hecht emigrated to South Africa via Paris in 1936 and married the chemist Ernst Koenigsfeld at the turn of the year 1940/1941. She opened a gift shop with an attached Austrian café in Johannesburg. She wrote articles from exile for the "CV-Zeitung", which was still published in Berlin, until the newspaper and the Central Association of German citizens of the Jewish faith were banned in 1938, and for Der Morgen, the monthly publication for German Jews.

Gusti Hecht died of cancer in Johannesburg on 17 December 1950.

(Translated by PEOPLE PILL from the German Wikipedia entry, accessed 2020 04 30.)

She ran a cafe at Ansteys.

(Submitted by William Martinson)

See attached scan from DIE BAUGILDE magazine, 1929. It includes the plans and a perspective of the Synagogue in Berlin - the competition entry submitted by Hecht + Neumann was placed first. Not built.

(Submitted by Karen Peter via William Martinson)