Emma Bauroth

born 07.01.1899 Bermbach/Thüringen

Last place of residence Bernbach/Thuringia


Emma Bauroth, née Schad, was born in the small Thuringian community of Bermbach in 1899. The Bauroth family joined a newly formed group of Jehovah's Witnesses in the mid-1930s. However, Emma Bauroth and her daughter Elisabeth were not yet baptised as Jehovah's Witnesses.

For mayor Karl Wagner, the Jehovah's Witnesses in Bermbach were a thorn in his side because they did not want to subordinate themselves to Nazi rule. They refused to take part in the Reichstag election on 29 March 1936 and in the subsequent referendum on the annexation of Austria on 10 April 1938. The Jehovah's Witnesses of Bermbach were eventually accused of high treason. On 14 April 1938, SS and SA men surrounded their homes in a planned sweep that was ordered by Karl Wagner. While local residents called out such things as "national traitors are employed here, out with the lowlifes”, the Bauroth family was also removed from their home and taken into protective custody by the local police. Emma Bauroth and other Jehovah's Witnesses were first transferred to the Schmalkalden prison. Karl Wagner wrote the following about the family: "Understandably, their collective behaviour made the outrage among the locals rise to the highest possible level." He characterised Emma Bauroth's behaviour as "challenging in every way: It does not even occur to anyone to welcome the authorities or representatives of the party with the German salute. These people never take part in any community or party event. Rather, they ridicule it all and so endanger the national community everywhere." After her release, Emma Bauroth remained under observation by the SS and SA. When she and her cousin Hildegard Lapp refused to perform the Hitler salute during an air-raid drill in March 1941, they were arrested on 23 March 1941 by Karl Wagner, who had in the meantime become the Local Group Leader (Ortsgruppenleiter) of the Nazi Party. After initially being detained in the Schmalkalden court prison, they were soon transferred to the Kassel police prison and afterwards taken to the Breitenau "work education camp" (AEL). The transfer to the Ravensbrück women's concentration camp followed on 2 February 1942.

Emma Bauroth survived her imprisonment and returned to her home in Bermbach, Thuringia in April 1945 following liberation. In January 1948, she married Willi Thiel, who also survived imprisonment in a concentration camp. As Jehovah's Witnesses, the two also remained under observation in East Germany. Thus, their daughter Elisabeth began to be targeted by state security following the act prohibiting faith communities of 1950. For Elisabeth and her husband Eduard Bauer, this repression did not end until 1990 when they were both officially vindicated.