Liselotte Hermann was a 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
She was an engineer’s daughter and had a middle-class liberal upbringing. After completing her Abitur, she went to work in a chemical factory to support her studies in chemistry, starting in 1929, and later also in biology as of 1931. She took these programmes at the Technische Hochschule Stuttgart (now the University of Stuttgart) and the University of Berlin. She joined the Kommunistischer Jugendverband Deutschlands (“Communist Youth Federation of Germany”) in 1928 or 1930, and also became a member of the Roter Studentenbund (“Red Students’ League”). From 1931, she was a member of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD).
Early in 1933, she signed a “Call for the Defence of Democratic Rights and Freedoms” at the university in Berlin, and was therefore, together with 111 other students, reprimanded and debarred by the university on 11 July 1933. From that time, she worked illegally against Germany's fascist dictatorship. On 20 December 1933, her husband was slain in Gestapo custody.
She took a job as a nanny and socialized with the armed resistance within the KPD. In 1934, Liselotte's son Walter was born. From September of the same year, she lived once again in Stuttgart, where she worked as a shorthand typist at her father's engineering office.
She reestablished contacts with the now banned KPD. From late 1934, she worked as a technical aid with Stefan Lovasz, the Württemberg KPD leader. She obtained from Arthur Göritz information about secret weapons projects - munitions production at the Dornier factory in Friedrichshafen and the building of another, underground munitions factory near Celle - which she relayed to the KPD's office that had been set up in Switzerland.
On 7 December 1935, Liselotte Hermann was seized. For 19 harrowing months she was held in remand custody, whilst her young son had to be cared for by his grandparents. Charged before the Volksgerichtshof, Herrmann was sentenced to death by the Second Senate of the Volksgerichtshof in Stuttgart on 12 June 1937 for "treason and conspiracy to commit high treason". Lina Haag was held in the same Remand Prison at that time, and remembers the night she was sentenced in her book 'A Handful of Dust' or 'How Long the Night'.
After a year in the Berlin Women's Prison, she was transferred to Plötzensee Prison, also in Berlin, for execution. Despite international protests, Liselotte Hermann was sent to the guillotine on 20 June 1938. Her political friends Stefan Lovasz, Josef Steidle and Arthur Göritz were also put to death the same day.
In East Germany, many schools, streets, and institutions were named after her, but after German reunification in 1990, many were given new names in the rush to erase all references to Communism.
Indeed, even in Stuttgart, where Liselotte Herrmann studied, she has been a controversial figure. In 1988, unknown persons placed a simple memorial stone to her on the University of Stuttgart campus, which caused a bit of a stir. "Lilo-Herrmann-Weg" was the city's tribute to her, but it is little more than a 100 m-long blind alley affording access to public and private parking. No-one lives there. In the 1970s, students at the university tried to get a new residence named after her, but the university administration balked at the idea.
The German writer Friedrich Wolf worked after the World War I as a doctor in Remscheid and Hechingen, where he focused on care for common people and prescribed treatment using naturopathic medicine. In 1923 and 1925 his sons Markus und Konrad were born. After 1928 he became a member of the Communist Party and the Association of Proletarian-Revolutionary Authors. In 1929 his drama "Cyankali" sparked a debate about abortion, and he was briefly arrested and charged for performing abortions.
In early 1932 he founded the Spieltrupp Südwest in Stuttgart, a communist agitprop group of lay actors that created controversial pieces about current topics.
After the Nazis came to power, Wolf emigrated with his family to Moscow. In 1938 he made his way to Spain to work as a doctor in the International Brigades. However, he was arrested in France and interned in the concentration camp Le Vernet. In 1941 he gained Soviet citizenship and returned to Moscow where he became a founder of the National Committee for a Free Germany (NKFD) .
In 1945 he returned to Germany and was active in literary and cultural-political issues. From 1949 to 1951 he was the first ambassador of East Germany to Poland. On October 5, 1953, he died in his personal office in Lehnitz.
Friedrich Wolf wrote the biographic poem "Lilo Herrmann", which was set to music in 1954 by the German conductor and composer Paul Dessau. This album features his melodrama for speaker, chorus & ensemble "Lilo Herrmann" besides "An die Mütter und an die Lehrer" and "Der anachronistische Zug", a collaboration with Bertolt Brecht.
Paul Dessau - Lilo Herrmann - An die Mütter und an die Lehrer - Der anachronistische Zug (NOVA)
(320 kbps, vinyl rip, small front cover included)