Liane Berkowitz

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Liane Berkowitz

Liane Berkowitz (first name also: Lanka ; * August 7, 1923 in Berlin ; † August 5, 1943 in Berlin-Plötzensee ) was a German resistance fighter ( Rote Kapelle ).


Liane Berkowitz was the daughter of the concert master and conductor Victor Wasiljew and his wife, the singing teacher Katharina Jewsienko. The family fled the Soviet Union to Berlin in 1923 . Soon after the husband's death, the mother married Henry Berkowitz, who immediately adopted Liane. Berkowitz made sure that Liane was able to prepare for the Abitur from 1941 onwards at the Heilsche Abendschule private high school .

There she joined the circle of friends around her classmate Eva Rittmeister and her husband John Rittmeister , who also included Ursula Goetze , Otto Gollnow , Fritz Thiel and Friedrich Rehmer . Under the guidance of John Rittmeister, the Freundeskreis developed into a circle of opponents of Hitler who later worked with Harro Schulze-Boysen in the Rote Kapelle resistance group against the Nazi regime. She became engaged to Friedrich Rehmer and was pregnant by him when she was arrested.

Together with Otto Gollnow, her fiancé was wounded in the hospital, Berkowitz stuck around 100 sticky notes on the evening of May 17, 1942 between Kurfürstendamm and Uhlandstrasse . The notes said:

"Permanent exhibition - The Nazi Paradise - War - Hunger - Lies - Gestapo - How much longer ?"

They wanted to protest against the exhibition The Soviet Paradise of the Reich Propaganda Management of the NSDAP . They also wanted to show that the anti-fascist resistance was still active in Germany. It is not certain whether Berkowitz and Gollnow were unobtrusively accompanied and protected by Harro Schulze-Boysen during this action.

In the course of breaking up the group, Liane Berkowitz was arrested and charged on September 26, 1942. Friedrich Rehmer, who was supposed to cure a serious war injury from the Eastern Front in the Britz military hospital , was arrested from the sick bay on November 29, 1942. On January 18, 1943, the Second Senate of the Reich Court Martial sentenced Berkowitz and Rehmer, together with other friends involved in the sticking action, to death “for aiding and abetting the preparation of high treason and for favoring the enemy ”.

When the Reich Court Martial recommended that Adolf Hitler release the pregnant Liane Berkowitz during the review of its verdict , the latter expressly refused. He had the death sentence confirmed and countersigned by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel .

In the women's prison in Barnimstrasse , Liane Berkowitz gave birth to her daughter Irina (Irka) on April 12, 1943, who was looked after by her grandmother from July 1943.

Liane Berkowitz was executed on August 5, 1943 in Berlin-Plötzensee ; Friedrich Rehmer on May 13, 1943.

The daughter Irina died on October 16, 1943 in the Eberswalde hospital under unexplained circumstances. She was probably the victim of a Nazi homicide campaign, possibly also due to the malnutrition of Liane Berkowitz during pregnancy.

Liane Berkowitz belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church . Your letters from death row are shaped by a deep faith. The Catholic prison chaplain Peter Buchholz made it possible for her to receive communion on the day of her death .



  • Claudia von Gélieu : women in custody. Barnimstrasse prison. A justice story . Elefanten-Press, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-88520-530-0 , ( EP 530), (reprint: Espresso-Verlag: ISBN 3-88520-530-0 ).
  • Regina Griebel, Marlies Coburger, Heinrich Scheel : Recorded? The Gestapo album for the Red Orchestra. A photo documentation . Audioscop, Halle 1992, ISBN 3-88384-044-0 , 372 pp.
  • Gert Rosiejka: The Red Chapel. 'Treason' as anti-fascist resistance . With an introduction by Heinrich Scheel. Results-Verlag, Hamburg 1986, ISBN 3-925622-16-0 , ( results 33).
  • Kurt Schilde (ed.): Eva-Maria Buch and the 'Red Orchestra'. Remembering the resistance to National Socialism . A font from the Bruno and Else Voigt Foundation. Overall, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-925961-06-2 , (Liane Berkowitz's prison letters and receipts are printed in this volume).
  • Vera Lourié : Letters to you. Memories of Russian Berlin . Edited by Doris Liebermann , Schöffling Verlag Frankfurt / Main 2014.
  • Johannes Tuchel : "... when you consider how young we are, you can't believe in death." Liane Berkowitz, Friedrich Rehmer and the resistance actions of the Berlin Red Orchestra 1941/42 , Lukas Verlag für Kunst- und Geistesgeschichte, 2018, ISBN 978-3-86732-302-4 .

Web links

Commons : Liane Berkowitz  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Brave deeds recalled. In: Märkische Oderzeitung , November 19, 2014
  2. Monuments at the Humboldt University ( Memento from August 7, 2008 in the Internet Archive )