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Transcript of Elisabeth Abegg
Elisabeth Abegg was born on May 3, 1882 and grew up in Strasbourg, Alsace, which is located close to the boarder of Germany. This was also the hometown of Albert Schweitzer, the great Alsatian theologian and humanist, and his widespread Christian teaching had a lasting impression on Abegg and greatly impacted her outlook on life.
Abegg later on became a history teacher at Luisen Mädchenschule, an all-girls' Berlin school, where she strove to pass on her humanistic beliefs to her pupils, many of whom being Jewish. After Hitler came to power, the Berlin school was given a new Nazi-appointed director that Abegg had disagreements with, which led to her moving to another school and in 1940, she was forced to retire prematurely.
How She Helped
At the age of 60, during 1942, after the deportation of a dear friend of forty years, Abegg felt she could make a difference in Jews' lives, even if she couldn't save her friend. At the time, Abegg lived in a three-and-a-half room apartment with her invalid sister and 86 year old mother and she decided to turn it into a temporary shelter and assembly point for Jews who had gone underground. Abegg was apart of the Quaker movement and worked with her friends to provide by offering Jewish pupils a temporary home with her or directing them to other hiding places. She took away from her own, and her sister's, food to provide them with food-ration cards, sold jewelry to finance rescue operations, and invited them to special Friday night dinners and obtained forged papers for them. In doing all of this, most knocking on her doors being complete strangers, she put herself at great risk, especially considering some of her neighbors in the apartment house were active Nazis.
Harrington, Michael. "Elisabeth Abegg." Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials. N.p., 05 Jan. 2009. Web. 9 Nov. 2013.
"Elisabeth Abegg." Elisabeth Abegg - The Righteous Among The Nations - Yad Vashem. Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, 2013. Web. 9 Nov. 2013.
Despite the tremendous risk she put herself to, Abegg was never caught nor captured-but just after she retired and before she became a rescuer, Abegg was once summoned by the Gestapo for interrogation. On her seventy-fifth birthday, some of the survivors who stayed in touch with her after the war dedicated a mimeographed collection of memoirs entitled “When One Light Pierced the Darkness" to her. On August 8, 1974 in Berlin-Mitte, Germany, Abegg died at the age of 92.