SOPHIE SCHOLL (1921-1943)
Martyr of the anti-Nazi movement at Munich University where she studied biology and
philosophy. Arrested with her brother Hans, a medical student, both were sentenced to
death by the People's Court, and on February 22, 1943, twenty-two year old Sophie and
her brother Hans were beheaded by the guillotine. They were instrumental in organizing
the resistance group known as the 'White Rose'. In one of their illegally printed
pamphlets, she wrote 'Every word that comes from Hitler's mouth is a lie'. The graves of
Hans and Sophie Scholl can be seen in the Perlach Forest Cemetery, outside Munich.
ELIZABETH von THADDEN (1890-1944)
Teacher and activist in the anti-Hitler movement. Born in Mohrungen, East Prussia now
Morag, Poland, she taught in a Protestant boarding school at Wieblingen Castle near
Heidelberg which she founded in 1927. Forced to resign in 1941 by new state
regulations, she started working for the Red Cross. She was reported to the Gestapo for
things she said during a discussion on the regime at her home on September 10,1943.
She was arrested, charged with defeatism and attempted treason and sentenced to
death by the Peoples Court. On September 8, 1944, she was executed. Her half brother,
Adolf von Thadden, survived the war and became a member of the Bundestag and later
chairman of the National Democratic Party (NPD).
Daughter of diplomat Dr.Wilhelm Solf, ex Ambassador to Japan. In 1940, she married
Count Hubert Ballestrem, an officer in the German military. At her mother's house a
group of anti-Nazi intellectuals met regularly to discuss ways to help Jews and political
enemies of the regime. Many Jews were found hiding places by the Countess and her
mother, Frau Solf. Documents and forged passports were obtained to help them
emigrate to safety. At a birthday party given by their friend, Elizabeth von Thadden, a new
member was introduced to the circle. It later turned out that the new member,
Dr.Reckzeh, was a Gestapo agent and all members of the Solf Circle had to flee for their
lives. The Countess and her mother went to Bavaria but the Gestapo soon caught up
with them. Incarcerated in the Ravensbruck concentration camp the Countess only saw
her husband once when he came on leave from the Russian front. In December, 1944,
they were sent to the Moabit Remand Prison to await their trial before the People's Court.
On February 3, 1945, Berlin was subjected to one of the heaviest air raids of the war.
Next morning the word got around that the notorious Judge Freisler was killed in his own
court-room by a falling beam during the raid. The trial was postponed to April 27 but a
few days before, all prisoners were discharged as Judges and SS guards fled the city as
the Soviet Army approached. Frau Solf went to England after the war and her daughter
was reunited with her husband and lived in Berlin. All told, seventy-six friends and
acquaintances of the Countess and her mother were killed during the last few months of
the war. Countess Ballestrem-Solf died while in her mid forties through trauma caused
by her husband's imprisonment by the Soviet authorities.
LILO GLOEDEN (1903-1944)
Elizabeth Charlotte Lilo Gloeden was a Berlin housewife, who, with her mother and
husband, helped shelter those who were persecuted by the Nazis, by sheltering them for
weeks at a time in their flat. Among those sheltered was Dr. Carl Goerdeler, resistance
leader and Lord Mayor of Leipzig. Lilo Gloeden, her mother and husband, were all
arrested by the Gestapo, and Lilo and her mother subjected to torture under
interrogation. On November 30, 1944, all three were beheaded at two minute intervals by
guillotine in Plötzensee Prison, Berlin.
LILO HERMANN (1909-1938)
German student who became involved in anti-Nazi activities. She was arrested and
sentenced to death for high treason, becoming the first woman to be executed in Hitler's
EDITH STEIN (1891-1942)
Born in Breslau, daughter of a Jewish timber merchant. She rejected Judaism and
became a Catholic nun in 1922 and in 1932 she was appointed lecturer at the German
Institute of Scientific Pedagogy, a post from which she was dismissed because of her
Jewish parents. She then entered the Carmelite Convent in Cologne as Sister Teresa
Benedicta. In the elections of 1933 she refused to vote and was prohibited from voting in
the elections of 1938. Transferred to a convent in Holland, she was arrested by the
Gestapo when Germany invaded that country. With many other Jews she was sent to
Auschwitz where on August 9, 1942, she was put to death in the recently built gas
chambers. Edith Stein was later proclaimed a saint by Pope John Paul 11, an act which
infuriated many Jews who think that she is not an appropriate representative of Jewish
victims. So what ? She was a Catholic by choice and Pope had all right to make her a
Born in Frankfurt-on-Main, a member of the Socialist Young Workers movement. In 1933
she helped many Jews and others to flee the Reich. In 1935, she aided those engaged
in resistance work, from her home in Alsace. After the capitulation of France in 1940, she
was arrested by the Vichy Government and handed over to the Gestapo. Brought before
the People's Court in Berlin in 1943, she was sentenced to death, and on June 9, 1944,
executed in Plötzensee Prison. In her last letter she wrote 'Be cheerful and brave, a better
future lies before you'.
Born in Berlin in 1905, this German novelist had her books banned by the Nazi's when
she criticized them for their defamation of German womanhood. In 1933 her books were
confiscated and burned and newspapers were forbidden to publish her short stories.
Forced to emigrate to Holland so she could continue her writing, she again went back to
Germany in secret when the Nazi's invaded the Netherlands. In Cologne she went
underground and began writing again making no secret of her opposition to the Nazi's.
After the war nothing was heard of her till 1976 when she was discovered living in poverty
in an attic room in Bonn. She had spent six years in a Bonn hospital and four and a half
months in the state hospital for alcoholism. In 1972 her books were republished and
she died of a lung tumor on May 5, 1982.
Born in Milwaukee, USA, on September 16th. 1902, daughter of merchant William Cooke
Fish. In 1926, she married the German Rockefeller scholar Arvid Harnack whom she
met while studying literature at Wisconsin University. She insisted on keeping her
maiden name. In 1929 she and her husband moved to Germany where she taught
American literature history at the University of Berlin. In Berlin, she became friends with
Martha Dodd and through this friendship, she and her husband were often invited to
receptions at the American Embassy where she met many influential Germans. When
the war started, Arvid and Mildred supported the resistance movement against the Nazi
regime through their friendship with Harro Schulze-Boysen and the spy ring the Nazis
dubbed 'The Red Orchestra'.
On September 7th, 1942, she and her husband were arrested while on a short vacation
in Priel, a seaside town near Königsberg and taken to Gestapo headquarters at No. 8,
Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse. At their trial on December 15-19, 1942, Mildred was sentenced to
six years in prison for 'helping to prepare high treason and espionage'. Arvid and eight
others were given the death sentence and on December 22 Arvid and three others were
hanged from meat hooks suspended from a T-bar across the ceiling of the execution
chamber at Plötzensee Prison. The others were beheaded by the guillotine. On
December 21, Hitler reversed the sentence on Mildred and at her second trial on January
13/16, 1943, she was given the ultimate penalty, death. At 6.57 pm on February 16, 1943,
Mildred Elizabeth Harnack nee Fish was beheaded by guillotine in Plötzensee, the only
American woman to be executed for treason in World War2. Her last words were
reported to be "And I loved Germany so much". (By September, 1943, all fifty one
members of the 'Red Orchestra' had died, two by suicide, eight by hanging and forty-one
beheaded by guillotine).
In January, 1970, the Russians posthumously awarded Arvid Harnack the Order of the
Red Banner, and Mildred, the Order of the Fatherland War, First Class, the highest
civilian award. Sadly, in the US the Harnacks were forgotten.
A Dutch national who, when hearing of the German threat to refuse permission for the
refugee Children's Transports to cross the border into Holland, went to Vienna and
confronted Adolf Eichmann, head of the Central Bureau for Jewish Emigration. She
persuaded him to issue a collective exit visa for 600 Austrian Jewish children. The
children eventually arrived in England. In all, Gertrud Wijsmuller organized a total of
forty-nine transports to Britain. Another transport she organized, her 50th, was from the
port of Danzig on August 24, 1939. On September 1 Germany invaded Poland and
occupied Danzig. Back in Holland, Gertrud continued to help in the transfer of Jewish
children to England until May 10, 1940, when Germany invaded the Netherlands. After
Kristallnacht, over 9,000 German, Austrian and Czech Jewish children were brought to
Britain by these Kindertransports. The first transport arrived in Harwich on December 1,
CHARLOTTE SALOMON (1917-1943)
Born in Berlin, daughter of surgeon Professor Albert Solomon. In 1933, being Jewish, he
was deprived of his right to practice medicine. Charlotte was admitted to the Berlin
Academy of Fine Arts in 1935 (some Jewish students were admitted whose fathers had
fought in World War 1) After Kristallnacht, father and daughter were given permission to
leave Germany. They settled in Villefranche in the South of France. After Italy signed the
surrender, German troops marched into Villefranche and on 21 September, 1943, the
Gestapo arrested Charlotte and her husband, Alexander Nagler. Deported by train to
Auschwitz both were gassed on arrival. Professor Solomon survived the war and in 1971
presented to the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam a total of 1,300 paintings
done by Charlotte in the three years before her arrest.
(1) Dietrich who did not speak good English probably meant "a dud in the sack".
Source : George Duncan's Women of the Third Reich, The Axis Forum and Wikipedia
|Gertrud Scholtz-Klink nee
Treusch (February 9, 1902 -
March 24, 1999), fFervent Nazi
Party member and Reichs
Women's Leader, was the
opposite of the women
mentioned in this chapter. In
1948, she was sentenced by a
French military court to eighteen
months in prison. She died in
1999 still a nazi.
It is a big ,mistake to think that all German
women fell for Hitler like ambitious
professionals Leni Riefenstahl, socialites
like Winifred Wagner or nuts like Inge Ley
(see their picture on the left). A lot who had
deep Socialist convictions or simply
refused to buy the Hitlerite crap tried in a
way or in other to fight the Nazis. Many to
lose their life in this combat, some to be
totally forgotten by posterity. In a sense
they were Hitler's femmes fatales.
Here are some bios and portraits of the
most notorious : Sophie Scholl, Erika Mann,
Charlotte Salomon, Odette Samson,
Eva-Marie Buch, Milfred Fosh-Harnack.
They all sacrificed their life to their ideas
while others like Gertrud Scholtz-Klink
served their nazis masters for their
A bookseller, she worked for the Schutze-Boysen-Harnack resistance
group (The Red Orchestra) Arrested on October 10, 1942 for passing
messages to French slave workers in factories. On February 3, 1943,
she was sentenced to death by the People's Court and hanged in
Plötzensee Prison, Berlin, on August 5.
|Crosses marking the graves of Sophie and
Hans Scholl in Perlach cemetery in Berlin.
|All writing on this
site is Copyright
|Up : the ones who fell for Adolf : Wagner, Ley
Down : the ones who didn't