Introducing: Karlrobert Kreiten

This month, let’s meet Karlrobert Kreiten, a German-born pianist who held Dutch citizenship. Considered one of the most promising young musicians in Europe in the 1930s, Kreiten made his radio debut at the age of eleven, and would go on to study in Vienna and at the Stern Conservatory (today incorporated into the Berlin University Read more about Introducing: Karlrobert Kreiten[…]

Introducing: Hans Litten

This month’s hero is the lawyer Hans Litten, who represented political dissenters during the Nazi dictatorship. In 1931, Litten subpoeanaed Adolf Hitler as a witness in a trial of a group of right-wing thugs. For three hours, Litten rigorously questioned Hitler on the legality of the National Socialist Party and on its violent practices, leaving Read more about Introducing: Hans Litten[…]

Introducing Rosa Luxemburg

This month, let’s discuss Rosa Luxemburg, whose life was cut short by right-wing troops in early 1919. Born in 1871 into a Polish Jewish family, Luxemburg grew up to become a Marxist theorist, peace activist and revolutionary socialist who would go from the SPD (Social Democratic Party) to KPD (Communist Party of Germany). Alongside her Read more about Introducing Rosa Luxemburg[…]

Introducing Gail Halvorsen

Since this month heralds the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Berlin Airlift (more on that below), the hero has to be Colonel Gail Halvorsen of the US Army Air Forces. On approach to Tempelhof Airport, Halvorsen’s signal of dipped wings was the alert for young Berliners to watch out for handmade parachutes stuffed Read more about Introducing Gail Halvorsen[…]

Introducing Otto and Else Weidt

Otto Weidt (born on May 2nd, 1883) and his wife Else operated a factory employing blind and deaf craftspeople, many of whom were Jewish, in the Hackescher quarter of central Berlin. As a young man, Otto Weidt’s eyesight declined, though he would serve as a medical orderly during WWI. After becoming blind, he established his broom-making Read more about Introducing Otto and Else Weidt[…]

Introducing Georg Elster

Georg Elster was a master craftsman living in the village of Königsbronn, who travelled to Munich in 1938 in order to attend the annual commemoration of the ‘Beerhall Putsch’ uprising of November 8th, 1923. There he confirmed his notion that concealing a bomb in a pillar behind the speaker’s podium would be the surefire means to Read more about Introducing Georg Elster[…]

Introducing: Willem Arondeus

Dutch citizen, Willem Arondeus was gay man, painter, novelist and art historian, who did all he could to impede the Nazis in their occupation of Holland. He authored periodicals calling upon fellow artists and workers to commit acts of civil disobedience and to resist the occupiers wherever possible. Alongside others, including the lesbian musician Frieda Read more about Introducing: Willem Arondeus[…]

Introducing: Dr. Gisele Freund

Dr. Gisele Freund (1928-2000), Jewish artist from Berlin-Schöneberg, student at the ‘Frankfurt School’ of sociologist Theodor Adorno, considered photography integral to political activism. Freund first photographed her fellow socialist students to document their mistreatment by Nazi thugs. In March 1933, Freund followed her friend, sociologist Walter Benjamin, in fleeing to Paris, with strips of photographic negatives hidden under her clothes. Read more about Introducing: Dr. Gisele Freund[…]