In 1920, after the Russian Revolution, he emigrated to Germany. Otto Klemperer engaged him as his assistant at the Kroll Opera in Berlin (Klemperer, lacking confidence in his own abilities, expected Borchard to critique his conducting technique). He conducted the Berlin Philharmonic for the first time in January 1933.
In 1935, he was banned by the Nazi regime as politically unreliable.
During World World War II he remained in Berlin as a Resistance activist under the name Andrik Krassnow, during which time his duties included contact with Ludwig Lichtwitz, a specialist in false identity papers. On 26 May 1945, two and a half weeks after Germany"s unconditional surrender, he conducted the Berlin Philharmonic at the Titania Palast cinema, in a concert featuring the Overture to Mendelssohn"s A Midsummer Night"s Dream, Mozart"s Violin Concerto in A major and Tchaikovsky"s Symphony Number.
4, to great public acclaim. One week later he was appointed musical director of the orchestra by the Soviet official Nikolai Berzarin, replacing Wilhelm Furtwängler, who was in exile in Switzerland.
His anti-Nazi credentials and command of the Russian language enabled him to enjoy a close relationship with the occupiers.
He gave 22 concerts in total as chief conductor of the BPO. Borchard was killed while being driven home after a concert on 23 August 1945. His British driver misinterpreted an American sentry"s hand signal to stop and the sentry shot him dead. The British driver and Borchard"s partner Ruth Andreas-Friedrich survived.
As a result of this incident, it was decided to mark military checkpoints more prominently so that hand signals were not required.
On 5 and 6 September 1995 Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic marked the anniversary of Borchard"s death with performances of Mahler"s 6th Symphony.