The little Lutheran lady who battled the Nazis on KristallnachtRoundup
tags: Holocaust, Kristallnacht
Kellner, grandson of Friedrich and Pauline Kellner, is a retired English professor who taught at the University of Massachusetts and Texas A&M University. He published the diary in its original language in Germany in 2011 and is the editor and translator of the English edition, “My Opposition: The Diary of Friedrich Kellner — A German against the Third Reich.”
Pauline Kellner hated the Führer’s posturing and bluster, and the vulgar remarks toward perceived enemies. His name was ever on the lips of his followers, but the wife of the courthouse manager in the small town of Laubach, Germany, refused to say “Heil Hitler” along with them. Pauline’s attitude was noted, and most of the townsfolk shunned her.
She and her husband, Friedrich, had campaigned together as Social Democrats against the Nazi Party until Hitler came to power in 1933. Five years later, in mid-autumn 1938, they were still in the fight. Like journalists on the front lines of battle, they observed and recorded. Friedrich eventually would fill almost a thousand pages; his diary would be a “weapon of truth” for future generations to use against any resurgence of Nazi-types.
That autumn of 1938, the prelude to the Holocaust began. Beginning in the evening of Nov. 9, local bands of Nazi Storm Troopers throughout Germany led a willing populace against their Jewish neighbors.
It was almost midnight when brown-shirted Storm Troopers led a mob noisily past the Kellners’ apartment, which was situated on the ground floor of the courthouse. They were heading toward the home of the Jewish merchant Salli Heynemann and his wife Hulda. Three years earlier, Hulda had approached Pauline for help. The mayor and police had made up false charges against her son-in-law, Julius Abt, in order to confiscate his property.