Letter from Katharina Schüddekopf to Verena Schiel

/Envelope: [Bears a 12-Pfennig Hitler stamp.]

[Addressed to] Miss [Frl. Dr.] Verena Schiel, Erfurt, Ludendorff Str. 40.

[Return address in bottom left-hand corner:]

Schüddekopf, /illegible/, Briennerstr. 50, GeStaPo]/

/This entire document, including “Life is a circus”, is handwritten. [Note 1]/

Munich, March 27, 1943

Life is a circus!

My dear Verena!

I can do nothing but laugh, laugh…

I have been billeted [Note 2] on the Gestapo [Note 3] since Tuesday! Don’t make a dreadful face. I am doing quite well. I am only ‘down’ physically, because a lot has happened recently:

First the Scholl story, then Huber’s arrest and with it the hanging question of my dissertation, exam, and the possibility that I will have to give up my career. Next the air raid on our house [in Munich], which caused it to burn down. And my room was the one that survived best. I lost almost nothing, which was really a miracle.

On April 1 [sic], I accidentally found a very nice room in Harlaching. I thought all my troubles were finally behind me. I started to pack. Suddenly I heard about Traute’s arrest, however five days later. They picked her up early Monday morning. I did not have that “honor”.

Instead, I received a “summons” last Sunday, March 21, 1943. I was supposed to appear before the Gestapo on Tuesday at 9 am. I went there sure of victory [Note 4] – and did not come home again. They are accusing me of (and I admit these facts): I received a leaflet from Hans Scholl in the corridors of the university. He asked me to read it at home. I kept it stuffed inside my books for a couple of months, and finally gave it to Traute after she asked me for it several times.

In addition, they are accusing me of the following:

1) They will not believe me when I continue to say that I did not know that Hans Scholl had written the leaflet.

2) I did not give an anti-political leaflet to the police and I did not destroy it immediately.

3) I gave the leaflet to someone else and therefore I am guilty of “distributing” it (even though Traute already knew the content and I did not know to whom she gave the leaflet).

I am waiting for the verdict in a few days, perhaps on Wednesday. It is still possible that I will have to go before the Special Court and be placed in protective custody [Note 5] from ? till ?.

Actually I am being an optimist for the first time in my life. I cannot imagine that I must remain here. But anything is possible. Perhaps everyone has to experience everything at least once… [Note 6]

Otherwise I am doing well. I really cannot complain about anything here, except that I cannot run around like I want to.

Many greetings,

Your Kati.


Note 1: The handwritten copy of the letter is followed by a typewritten transcription of same. No differences between the two documents.

Note 2: Used military term of einquartieren.

Note 3: Correctly wrote it GeStaPo.

Note 4: Siegesgewiss. Used a “Nazi” term in a letter she assuredly knew would be read by the GeStaPo.

Note 5: Not investigative custody, as usually written, but Schutzhaft, protective custody.

Note 6: Ellipses in original document. No text has been omitted.


Source: Schertling/Schüddekopf (110 – 112)

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