Aid for Victims of Persecution

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Elisabeth Schmitz witnessed persecuted Jews’ adversity first hand in her circle of friends and acquaintances. Rather than allowing herself to be paralyzed by her despair over the situation however, she became active in terms of practical charity.

She had taken in her friend Martha Kassel, a “non-Aryan” physician who had landed in financial difficulties as a victim of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, in her apartment in October of 1933. She attempted to arrange helpful contacts for others to emigrate.

The Nazi Blockleiter denounced her in October of 1937 for living together with her Jewish friend and lacking a membership in a Nazi organization and she was questioned by the head of the Berlin NSDAP Ortsgruppe Karlplatz.

As a result, the Berlin Gau leadership demanded Schmitz’s dismissal from her school board. The board let the matter rest however after questioning Schmitz. Before it did so, it had demanded however that she join the National Socialist People’s Welfare, which she did. In the meantime, Martha Kassel had moved out of Schmitz’s apartment. Schmitz helped Kassel and her husband emigrate after the November Pogrom of 1938.

Elisabeth Schmitz had been involved in aiding Jews living in Berlin illegally since the beginning of the deportations. She repeatedly took in victims of persecution in her apartment and in a weekend house she had purchased from friends who had emigrated. She also helped them with money and food ration stamps.

In 1943, Elisabeth Schmitz left Berlin and returned to her family in Hanau. Her apartment in Berlin was gutted by a fire in November of 1943. Schmitz attempted to help persecuted friends from Hanau, too.

Source / title

  • © Original: Dietgard Meyer. Abdruck: H. Erhart/I. Meseberg-Haubold/D. Meyer: Katharina Staritz 1903–1953. Dokumentation 1: 1903–1942. © Neukirchener Verlagsgesellschaft, Neukirchen-Vluyn, 2002.

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