Resistance at Rosenstrasse: Saving Jewish Husbands

By Regina Weinreich

Published August 13, 2004, issue of August 13, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

During one week in 1943, a little-known but amazing event occurred at a Berlin detention center, a stopping point for one of the last group of Jews targeted for the fated journey east — the Jewish spouses of Aryans. Up until this point, Jews had been protected by intermarriage to Germans, a sore spot in the efficacy of carrying out the Final Solution. Pressured to divorce, many German men left their Jewish wives, who then were deported. But now, in the final stage of roundups, Jewish husbands were collected, as well, taken from factories before their Aryan wives even knew what was happening. Women, some children and elderly people, as many as 6,000 on and off, gathered in the freezing cold outside on Rosenstrasse facing the guards’ machine guns, and demanded the release of their men with an unbelievable result: Not only were these Jews let go eventually, but the ones who had been sent off were returned to their German families.

Stories of resistance to the Nazis by ordinary German folk do not take up many pages in Holocaust history books. That they occurred at all is a point of contention both for Jews who witnessed the behavior of Germans as complicit and abhor the image of the pious German, and for Germans themselves — some of whom see it as an embarrassment, proof of what could have been prevented had more people acted with humanity and courage. The story of the successful resistance at Rosenstrasse, the only public protest by German civilians, also gives lie to the claim that Germans simply did not know where their Jews were going. They knew: Deportation did not simply mean a stint at a work camp in the countryside; deportation meant death.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.