„In the great French Revolution, general human rights were declared the ideal. You often hear them being derided today. Today, the rights of the individual nation are often asserted as the highest ideal. [...] Don't let your brain be confused by all the nonsense you are being taught at school. You are mature enough to see clearly what stupid nonsense some of your teachers serve you up. I just remember your German teacher who wanted to devour a couple of Jews an hour and who even said that if he were Herr Hitler he would put all the Jews against the wall and have them shot.
Bruno Borchardt in a letter to his son Wolfgang, 22.10.1938
Bruno Borchardt came from a Jewish family of merchants. After his father's death, his mother moved with her six children to Berlin. Bruno Borchardt studied mathematics and physics in Berlin and was awarded a doctorate for a thesis on measuring altitudes with barometers in Kiel in 1885. He then became a teacher at the Königliches Gymnasium secondary school in Spandau. In 1886, he was baptised a Protestant. He gave up his career as a teacher and became a freelance writer, publishing books and essays on physics. In the early 1890s, he started teaching workers, having been drawn to the SPD by the land reform movement. From 1901 to 1920, he was an SPD councillor in Charlottenburg, which was still an independent town at the time. In the first polls after democratic electoral law was introduced in 1919, he was elected chairman of the council. He had been a member of the Brandenburg province state parliament since 1912, where he was elected president in 1919. In February 1919, he was appointed consultant to the Prussian Ministry of Science, Art and Education. He was sent by the Berlin city council to the Prussian council of state as a representative member in late 1921 and as a member from March 1922 to February 1926. He retired from the Prussian ministry of culture when he turned 65 in 1924. After the Nazis came to power, Borchardt was refused his pension for political reasons. His wife Gertrud, who was a deputy headmistress, was transferred on disciplinary grounds and then dismissed, as was their daughter Brunhilde, a certified business teacher. Their daughter Marie, an actress, was banned from the stage. In 1937, to escape their increasingly perceptible social isolation in Berlin, the Borchardts moved to Falkensee, where they had bought a house. On 10.11.1938, members of the SA raided the house, beat up Bruno Borchardt, who was now blind, and destroyed the interior of the house. On 27.1.1939, the Borchardts were divested of their power of disposal over their property since the superior finance directorate feared they might try to emigrate.
Bruno Borchardt was a city councillor 1920 – 1925, Constituency 7 Charlottenburg (SPD).