Late Recognition

  • 1st Picture for document

On December 15, 1946, Elisabeth Schmitz’s friend, art historian Kurt Theodor wrote her: If there had been more courageous people such as you, we probably would not have had to suffer the worst. You are admittedly not a victim, but a role model, and worthy of any honor and preferential treatment before many others! (H. Erhart, Staritz, 214). A long time passed before Elisabeth Schmitz was accorded this honor. The dispute over the interpretation of the “Kirchenkampf” appeared to have no room for the liberal Protestant.

Once Wilhelm Niemöller had incorrectly attributed the memorandum “On the Situation of German Non-Aryans” to Marga Meusel, Elisabeth Schmitz’s authorship was not established until 1999 by Dietgard Meyer, a pastor and student of Schmitz’s. Scholarship and the public have only taken greater notice of Schmitz since then.

The Evangelical Church of Electoral Hesse-Waldeck and the city of Hanau erected a memorial stone at her grave in 2005.

The Commission of “Yad Vashem: The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority” awarded Schmitz the title of “Righteous among the Nations” in November of 2011.

Schmitz’s memorandum is now rightly considered one of the most important testimonies to solidarity with persecuted Jews during the Nazi era.

Source / title

  • Reinhard Dietrich, public domain

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