Biographies

Liane Berkowitz
Liane Berkowitz 

Liane Berkowitz

(August 07, 1923 - August 05, 1943)

Liane Berkowitz was born on August 7, 1923 in Berlin. She was the daughter of the Russian conductor Viktor Vasilyev, who had fled from the Soviet Union. After the death of her father she was adopted in 1930 by Henry Berkowitz, who emigrated from Germany after his divorce in 1939. Liane Berkowitz spoke fluent Russian and was educated at private schools. She met Fritz Thiel and her future fiancé Friedrich Rehmer, and attended John Graudenz’s study circles with them. Liane Berkowitz and Otto Gollnow participated together in the flyposting action of August 17-18, 1942 against the anti-Soviet propaganda exhibition “The Soviet Paradise”. She was arrested on September 26, 1942 and sentenced to death by the Reich Court Martial on January 18, 1943. On April 12, 1943 she gave birth to her daughter Irene in Barnimstraße Women’s Prison in Berlin. The baby was cared for by her grandmother from July 1943 on, and was probably killed in October 1943 in Eberswalde Hospital when the National Socialists carried out a murder action against mentally ill people. Liane Berkowitz was murdered on August 5, 1943 in Berlin-Plötzensee. Earlier, on July 21, 1943, Adolf Hitler had personally rejected the clemency pleas of 17 members of the Berlin Red Orchestra. Even the Reich Court Martial had recommended him to pardon the 22-year-old ceramist Cato Bontjes van Beek and the 19-year-old school student Liane Berkowitz. Hitler emphatically rejected this and had his decision countersigned by Wilhelm Keitel, chief of the Armed Forces High Command.