Marie Mäding

born 21.11.1920 Kirchberg near Fritzlar

Profession Agricultural worker, housekeeper
Last place of residence Kirchberg near Fritzlar


Marie Mäding was born in the North Hessian village of Kirchberg in 1920. Her path of persecution is closely intertwined with that of Johann Nowak.

The two of them met in the winter of 1939/1940 when they worked for the same farmer in Metze near Fritzlar. As a Polish prisoner of war, Johann Nowak conducted forced labour on the farm, while Marie Mäding worked there as a housekeeper. Since Johann Nowak's father was born in Germany, Johann was considered "half-German" and was therefore able to return to Poland. When Marie Mäding gave birth to her and Johann Nowak's child in 1941, he was sought out in Poland because contact between German and Polish forced workers was prohibited. Imprisonment in the Breitenau "work education camp" (AEL) followed. Meanwhile, Marie Mäding refused to admit that she had been raped by Johann Nowak. She was also transferred to the Breitenau AEL in January 1942, and later to the Ravensbrück women's concentration camp near Berlin. Marie Mäding and Johann Nowak's child was in public care at the time. While Marie Mäding was punished by being imprisoned in a concentration camp, the threat of the death penalty was looming for Johann Nowak – the so-called "special treatment" provided that a Polish forced worker be murdered if he entered a relationship with a German woman. It is possible that Johann Nowak was offered German citizenship prior to the execution so that the proceedings against him might have been dropped. However, it is likely that he rejected doing so, possibly for patriotic reasons. On 6 May 1942, the Kassel Gestapo took Johann Nowak from Breitenau to Metze where he was hanged shortly afterwards. As a deterrent, other Polish forced workers in the region were made to pass by and look at the hanged man.

As the mayor of Kirchberg advocated for Marie Mäding, she was able to return to her hometown after her release from the Ravensbrück concentration camp in 1944 and work for him as a maid. She died shortly after the war in a hospital in Kassel. At the same time, Marie Mäding and Johann Nowak's child contracted a pulmonary illness and only turned five years old.