Hilde Marr, née Lapp

born 02.08.1920 Bermbach, Thuringia

Profession Factory worker
Last place of residence Bermbach, Thuringia


Hilde Lapp was born in Bermbach in the district of Schmalkalden on 2 August 1920. Since she was a Jehovah's Witness, she and her family had increasingly come under pressure since 1933. Hilde Lapp's parents were taken into "protective custody" because they refused to support the National Socialist system. Two of her brothers died during World War II. Hilde Lapp was often kept after school for detention and made to complete extra schoolwork because she refused to perform the Hitler and flag salute for reasons of faith. At the vocational school, Hilde Lapp faced similar harassment. In 1941, she and her cousin Emma Bauroth had to take part in mandatory air-raid training during which they again refused to perform the Hitler and flag salute. The two were then taken to the mayor's office and given a warning. Two days later, however, the police picked them up and brought them to the Schmalkalden jail after which they were transported to Kassel in a train with barred windows. There Hilde and Emma were put in single cells at police headquarters where they remained for four months. During this time, Hilde Lapp and her cousin were repeatedly interrogated after which their attitude towards the Nazi regime was classified as "a risk" to the German "national community".

On 11 July 1941, Hilde Lapp and Emma Bauroth were both transferred to the Breitenau "work education camp" (AEL) where they were placed in the women’s house (Frauenhaus). Shortly afterwards, their heads were shorn, which was a common procedure when prisoners arrived in Breitenau. Hilde Lapp worked in the sewing workshop of the camp as well as in the fields. During the winter months, she suffered from the cold because the rooms and cells at the camp were not heated. The head supervisor’s reports mentioning her good behaviour may have been the reason why Hilde Lapp was released from Breitenau on 22 December 1941. Her cousin, on the other hand, had to remain in Breitenau until 2 February 1942. After her release, Lapp was brought back to Kassel police headquarters where she was informed of her release. Shortly after her release, Hilde Lapp was assigned work duty at the military munitions factory in Altengrabow near Magdeburg and worked there until the end of the war.

In 1947, Lapp turned to the Erfurt social welfare office to apply for the status of a person persecuted by the Nazi regime, but she did not receive any benefits. As a Jehovah's Witness, she was not recognized as a victim of National Socialism in the GDR either. After the reunification of Germany, Lapp submitted an application for compensation and recognition as a person persecuted by the Nazi regime to the Federal Ministry of Finance in Bonn in 1992. However, this request was also rejected as her total period of captivity was not sufficient to warrant compensation. Hilde Lapp has been in contact with the Breitenau Memorial since 1998. On 3 April 1998, she gave a remarkable witness testimony illustrating her fate.