Maria Schaefer, maiden name Eberstadt, allowed herself to be baptized at her wedding. She was protected via a “privileged mixed marriage”. However, this did not help her as a young widow. An efficient police bureaucrat at the residents’ registration office added “not Aryan”, but the neighborhood did not think about denouncing the mother and her two sons whom they had known for a long time. It turned out to be a piece of luck that she was not known to the Nazi authorities during these years: she did not receive any grocery ration cards, she transferred her house to her son and earned her own income by privately renting out rooms.

She rode her bicycle through Bockenheim, went on vacation with her sons in Austria and lived undisturbed – until 1943. Rumors circulated in that year, which later became true: the Jewish “mixed marriage partners” were deported to the concentration camp Auschwitz after being held in a Gestapo jail for three months.

Maria Schaefer reacted immediately. For her own safety she deregistered herself in Frankfurt on 8 February 1943 with a supposed move to Paderborner Stasse 9, Berlin. As a subsequent inquiry confirmed, she was never registered at this address. Rather, she had registered herself as a sub-tenant by friends who lived at Margarethenstrasse 4. And not only that. After numerous exchanges of letters she got to know the mailman and she applied for a mail ID. She did not stay long in Berlin. Her sister-in-law in Hildesheim as well as countless acquaintances and friends with whom she stayed for months supported her during these two years. Maria Schaefer returned to Frankfurt on 17 May 1945 where she registered herself again in her small house at Blanchardstrasse 9.

See: Petra Bonavita, Mit falschem Pass und Zyankali, pages 74-83
Maria Schaefer and her son Jürg. Maria Schaefer’s son Klaus photographed while on a hike on the Spitz-Kofl in Austria in 1943. © Dr. Klaus Schaefer
Maria Schaefer and her son Jürg. Maria Schaefer’s son Klaus photographed while on a hike on the Spitz-Kofl in Austria in 1943. © Dr. Klaus Schaefer
Comment in the Soennecken calendar regarding the receipt of food ration coupons. © Dr. Klaus Schaefer
Comment in the Soennecken calendar regarding the receipt of food ration coupons. © Dr. Klaus Schaefer

Vera Kiefer was born out of wedlock to a Jewish mother and was adopted by a non-Jewish couple. She was married to Alfons Kiefer and had two sons. Her husband died in 1938. With the use of a false name she was helped by numerous people in the years since 1942: Willy Loos let her stay numerous times at his apartment, which was located at Oberlindau 64; using the name “Maria Probst” she lived illegally with Veronika Müller in Brückenau in 1943/44, with a few breaks in between; Karl Probst arranged for her stay under his name in various hotels and bed-and-breakfast locations, and furthermore, provided her with groceries. She spent one year illegally and hidden in the “Sprudel Hotel” in Bad Nauheim. She survived and married her rescuer Karl Probst in 1950. She was a member of the Jewish Community in Frankfurt after 1945.

Rosa Meseberg, maiden name Levi, was warned for years by a “Nazi-Zellenleiter” (a neighborhood leadership position within the Nazi hierarchy) whom she knew. Her husband should “get rid of her”, which meant he should find her safe housing in a secret location. Her daughter was unable to handle the threat of persecution when required to appear before the Gestapo and committed suicide along with her two year old out of wedlock son in 1941. After a bombing attack at the end of March 1944 Heinrich Leinberger, the “Nazi-Zellenleiter” who had warned her for a long time, falsified her bombing damage ID by writing Kaiser as her maiden name instead of “Levi”. She went to the small town Bieber near Gelnhausen with this document, where she survived the time of persecution.

[german version]

One thought on “Accompanied and Protected by Good Friends

  1. Von guten Freunden begleitet und geschützt – rettungs.widerstand

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