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Online collection Wiedergutmachung for
National Socialist Injustice

Podcast

The podcast series Sprechende Akten: NS-Opfer und ihr Ringen um Entschädigung ("Talking files: Nazi Victims and their Struggle for Compensation", in German only) brings to life the stories and fates behind a sample of compensation proceedings documented in records from the State Archives of Baden-Württemberg. They unveil the inconsistency of the authorities’ decisions on compensation payments and picture a country struggling in the attempt to find a (material) answer to the suffering and evil it had just brought about.

Sprechende Akten is a production of the State Archives of Baden-Württemberg. Realized by WE ARE PRODUCERS in cooperation with POOL ARTISTS. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Titelbild Podcast "Sprechende Akten"
Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg

First Episode: Ongoing discrimination? Martha B. and her long fight for recognition as a victim of Nazi persecution 

Script: Nilz Bokelberg; edited by: Lisa Victoria Hertwig; recording, sound design & composition: Michael Viol; music: Falk Andreas; host: Ulrike Kapfer; cast: Elke Appelt, Sungur Bentürk, Anne Düe, Roman Kern, Stefan Lehnen, Christian Olah, Sebastian Pahl, Lisa Marie Sauerbrey, Bernhard Schütz, Sven Sommer | State Archives of Baden-Württemberg | State Archives of Baden-Württemberg

Martha B. was born in Stuttgart on January 6, 1919. According to the National Socialist racial ideology, she was a quarter Sintiza, i.e. she belonged to the minority of Sinti and Roma who suffered harassment and persecution by the National Socialists. She and one of her daughters were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in March 1943. Martha B. survived imprisonment in three concentration camps with irreparable physical damage. Her daughter died in Auschwitz.

In May 1946, Martha returned to Stuttgart and applied for compensation. The processing of her multiple applications dragged on until the 1960s. Due to the continuing social discrimination of Sinti and Roma in the postwar years, it was particularly difficult for Martha to assert her claims. Martha died in 2007 at the age of 88.

A German transcript of the first episode ("Ongoing discrimination? Martha B. and her long fight for recognition as a victim of Nazi persecution") is available here: PDF

 

Second Episode: A stolen youth. The communist resistance fighter Hans Gasparitsch

Script: Nilz Bokelberg; edited by: Lisa Victoria Hertwig; recording, sound design & composition: Michael Viol; Music: Falk Andreas; Host: Ulrike Kapfer; Cast: Elke Appelt, Gerald Blomeyer, Jennifer Günther, Nora Jokhosha, Arne Kapfer, Roman Kern, Bjoern Krass-Koenitz, Sebastian Pahl, Bernhard Schütz, Sven Sommer, Michael Viol | State Archives of Baden-Württemberg | State Archives of Baden-Württemberg

Hans Gasparitsch (born in Stuttgart on March 30, 1918) grew up in a working-class family and was active in the context of workers’ youth movement. After the National Socialists had banned all workers' organizations, he became the leading member of a resistance group. In March 1935, at the age of seventeen, he was arrested in Stuttgart's Schlossgarten after painting the slogans "Red Front" and "Hitler = War". After a year in custody at the Stuttgart Gestapo headquarters, he was sentenced to two and a half years for high treason and was sent to Dachau concentration camp. Hans Gasparitsch experienced the end of the war at Buchenwald concentration camp, where he participated in the liberation of the prisoners.

In 1946, Gasparitsch applied for compensation for 10 years of imprisonment. Since he later temporarily moved to the GDR for study purposes, German authorities refused to accept his claim. The legal proceedings dragged on until the early 1990s. Hans Gasparitsch died in 2002 at the age of 84.

A German transcript of the second episode ("A stolen youth. The communist resistance fighter Hans Gasparitsch") is available here: PDF

Third episode: Suse Rosen and Hermann Horner. A dancer and an opera singer in the sights of the National Socialists

Script: Nilz Bokelberg; Edited by: Lisa Victoria Hertwig; recording, sound design & composition: Michael Viol; Music: Falk Andreas; Host: Ulrike Kapfer; Cast: Frederic Böhle, Djamila Brauer, Rita Feldmeier, Nora Jokhosha, Bjoern Krass-Koenitz, Christian Olah | State Archives of Baden-Württemberg | State Archives of Baden-Württemberg

The episode tells the story of Suse Rosen, born in Dresden on March 7, 1910, and her colleague Hermann Horner, born in Rzeszów, Poland in 1892. Rosen worked as a professional dancer and Horner was a bass-baritone singer. Both had been employed at the Stuttgart Theater since 1929. The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service of April 7, 1933 put an end to their careers. Like many other Jewish employees, they were dismissed.

Hermann Horner decided to return to Rzeszów. After the German occupation of Poland in 1939, he and his family were deported and eventually murdered in the Belzec extermination camp. Horner's niece was the closest surviving relative and applied for compensation for damage to life in 1958. Following a five-year proceeding, she agreed to a settlement granting her a one-time compensation payment. After her dismissal in Stuttgart, Suse Rosen went on an odyssey throughout Europe without any new career prospects. In poor health, she spent several years in Switzerland before she emigrated to the USA in 1955. In 1963, she returned to Germany with the aim of pushing forward her claim for compensation. She received compensation for damage to professional and economic progress. She died in Locarno, Switzerland in 1968.

A German transcript of the third episode ("Suse Rosen and Hermann Horner. A dancer and an opera singer in the sights of the National Socialists") is available here: PDF

Fourth Episode: Wilhelm Adami. Fatal outcome of a chance encounter.

Script: Nilz Bokelberg; Edited by: Lisa Victoria Hertwig; recording, sound design & composition: Michael Viol; Music: Falk Andreas; Host: Ulrike Kapfer; Cast: Elke Appelt, Frederic Böhle, Elmar Börger, Robert Frank, Jessica Goetz, Jennifer Günther, Nora Jokhosha, Bjoern Krass-Koenitz | State Archives of Baden-Württemberg | State Archives of Baden-Württemberg

In March 1944, Wilhelm Adami (born on May 5, 1887) and Artur Ebert (born on March 16, 1906) met by chance in the apartment of the Dümmig family in Karlsruhe. Wilhelm was working as a self-employed tax consultant at the time – he had already been dismissed from the tax office in 1933 due to his political views and then joined the NSDAP to avoid further professional disadvantages. Ebert denounced him for making derogatory remarks about the German war effort and its lack of success. Adami was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison. He died under unexplained circumstances in Coswig prison in Saxony on April 4, 1945.

After the war, Wilhelm's wife Maria applied for compensation for her deceased husband. During the proceedings, Wilhelm's NSDAP membership raised suspicion and posed some difficulties until the authorities recognized his decision as opportunistic. In addition to material allowances, Maria Adami received compensatory pension payments from the mid-1950s onwards. In 1949, Artur Ebert was sentenced to two years in prison because of his denunciation. He also had to bear parts of the public expenses for Mrs. Adamis compensation payments. 

A German transcript of the fourth episode ("Wilhelm Adami. Fatal outcome of a chance encounter.") is available here: PDF

 

Fifth Episode: Jette Frankfurter. A Jewish pensioner and the debate on compensation for deprivation of liberty

Script: Nilz Bokelberg; Edited by: Lisa Victoria Hertwig; recording, sound design & composition: Michael Viol; Music: Falk Andreas; Host: Ulrike Kapfer; Cast: Christa Andreas, Elke Appelt, Gerald Blomeyer, Frederic Böhle, Elmar Börger, Rita Feldmeier, Renate Fleischhauer, Robert Frank, Christian Olah, Sven Sommer | State Archives of Baden-Württemberg | State Archives of Baden-Württemberg

Jette Frankfurter (born on May 15, 1875) ran a stall selling flowers, toys and sweets in Mannheim's Rosengarten. In February 1936, competing vendors denounced her as. As a result, she lost her permit to run the stall. On October 22, 1940, Jette Frankfurter was deported to Gurs concentration camp in southern France along with over 6,500 Jews from Baden and the southern Palatinate. After her age-related release on August 19, 1943, she was forcibly transferred to a Jewish retirement home, where she remained until she could return to Mannheim in September 1946.

Due to her financial plight, Jette Frankfurter received monthly allowance payments for almost two years from 1947. After a lengthy legal proceeding, she was granted compensation for deprivation of liberty in 1951. However, despite the prison-like conditions in the retirement home, the authorities only recognized the time she spent in the various concentration camps. Jette Frankfurter died in Mannheim at the age of 92 in 1968.

A German transcript of the fifth episode ("Jette Frankfurter. A Jewish pensioner and the debate on compensation for deprivation of liberty") is available here: PDF

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