Emmy Windhorst was born in Lübbecke in 1900 and worked as a domestic servant after leaving school. She moved to Berlin in 1918 and married Richard Zehden in the mid-1920s. Due to his Jewish origins, he was later subject to discrimination under the Nuremberg race laws. She joined the Bible Students (Jehovah's Witnesses) in 1930. Her husband was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment for belonging to the religious community in 1938. Like all Bible Students, Emmy Zehden was a convinced opponent to military service, and influenced her nephew Horst Günter Schmidt to go into hiding to avoid being drafted. Although her husband had been sentenced and Emmy Zehden knew that her stand was a threat to her life, she maintained her convictions. She hid her nephew and two other young men evading the draft in her home in Berlin-Gatow and at the market garden of Otto and Jasmine Muhs in Berlin-Staaken. Emmy Zehden was arrested on September 24, 1942, and sentenced to death by the "People's Court" on November 19, 1943. Following rejected pleas for clemency, Emmy Zehden was murdered in Berlin-Plötzensee on June 9, 1944. Her farewell letters were never given to her family. Her husband Richard was taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp and murdered in 1943.