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Fritz and Frieda KuhnPhoto: Courtesy of Ruth Wiseman

Civil Resistance in Nazi-Era Berlin
“Give us our husbands back”

In 1943, hundreds of non-Jewish women defied the Nazi regime. They demanded the release of their Jewish husbands who had been incarcerated by the Gestapo, only succeeding by putting their own lives on the line. They showed how ordinary people can become heroes by defying authority and taking risks, day by day.

Susan Neiman, American philosopher and board member of the Rosenstrasse Foundation, writes, “In today’s Berlin, a beautiful monument just steps away from Alexanderplatz honors the protest. Astonishingly, many Berliners have never heard of the Rosenstrasse Protest, though they have often passed close by. Raised on the claims that protest against the Nazis was useless, and usually fatal, many Germans do not want to remember that another way was possible. It always is. The women who risked their lives in the worst days of tyranny should embolden the rest of us to stand up against injustice wherever it occurs.”


Rosenstrasse street sign in Berlin commemorating the Jewish community center, where the men were imprisoned during the 1943 Rosenstrasse Protest Photo: picture alliance / POP-EYE | POP-EYE/Christian Behring

The Rosenstrasse Protest: A Historical Timeline

This timeline puts the Rosenstrasse Protest in historical context, expanding on the events leading up to the 1943 demonstration.

Exhibit Opening and Panel Discussion

On March 8th, International Women’s Day, the Goethe-Institut Washington celebrated the opening of the exhibition “Give us our husbands back” with a reception and panel discussion. If you were unable to attend the event, you can view the recording here.


Produced by the Goethe-Institut Washington with the support of the German Embassy Washington and the Rosenstrasse Foundation. Find more information on the exhibit and materials here.