Krause Twice Persecuted: Surviving in Nazi Germany and Communist East
Germany by Carolyn Gammon, and Christiane Hemker
Persecuted as a Jew, both under the Nazis and in post-war East Germany,
Johanna Krause (1907-2001) courageously fought her way through life
with searing humour and indomitable strength of character. Johanna Krause
Twice Persecuted (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007) is her story.
Born in Dresden into bitter poverty, Krause received little education
and worked mostly in shops and factories. In 1933, when she came to the
defense of a Jewish man being beaten by the brownshirts, Krause was jailed
for “insulting the Führer.” After a secret wedding in
1935, she was arrested again with her husband, Max Krause, for breaking
the law that forbade marriage between a Jew and an “Aryan.”
In the years following, Johanna endured many atrocities—a forced
abortion while eight months pregnant and subsequent sterilization, her
incarceration in numerous prisons and concentration camps, including Ravensbrück,
and a death march.
After the war, the Krauses took part enthusiastically in building the
new socialist republic of East Germany—until 1958, when Johanna
recognized a party official as a man who had tried to rape and kill her
during the war. Thinking the communist party would punish the official,
Joanna found out whose side the party was on and was subjected to anti-Semitic
attacks. Both she and her husband were jailed and their business and belongings
confiscated. After her release she lived as a persona non grata in East
Germany, having been evicted from the communist party. It was only in
the 1990s, after the reunification of Germany, that Johanna saw some justice.
Originally published as Zweimal Verfolgt, the book is the result of collaboration
between Johanna Krause, Carolyn Gammon, and Christiane Hemker. Translated
by Carolyn Gammon, Johanna Krause Twice Persecuted will be of interest
to scholars of Ravensbrück, women's memoirs, World War II history,
and the Holocaust. Born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada,Carolyn Gammon
moved to Berlin in 1992. Her poetry, prose, and essays have appeared in
anthologies in North America and Great Britain, and in translation. Christiane
Hemker lived in various German cities before moving to Dresden in 1993.
Her field is archaeology, in which she is widely published. Her volunteer
work with union and social politics, focusing on women's rights, introduced
her to Johanna Krause and her story.
ISBN: 1-55458-006-4 ISBN13: 978-1-55458-006-4. If you are interested in
organizing a book presentation of Twice Persecuted please contact
the author directly: [email protected]
I met both Johanna Krause and Carolyn Gammon (pictured right) in 1995
at the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Ravensbrück women's
concentration camp. Johanna was perhaps the only Jewish survivor who had
been living in East Germany after liberation, and attended this reunion.
She was the only one I met, and I do not know of any others. Carolyn Gammon
escorted Johanna to the reunion and helped me interview her. Her remarkable
story is briefly told in my book, The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück
Concentration Camp. Now, in this important new contribution to scholarship
about Jewish women in the camp, we can read all of the details about Johanna's
lfe as a German Jewish woman—about her courage and her struggles.
I am pleased that Carolyn Gammon and Christiane Hemker have brought her
story to English language readers. Rochelle G. Saidel]
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