Gitta Bauer

Gitta Bauer | Journalist
* 1919 in Berlin | + 1990

Gitta Bauer’s story is one of unconditional friendship and loyalty. During the second world war, Gitta saved the life of her Jewish friend Ilse by protecting her from the Nazis. Her story serves as a reminder of the value of having the courage to stand up for other people.

Gitta was born in Berlin in 1919 and raised in a very liberal household. She was a member of a Catholic movement that the Nazi Party outlawed in 1935. The Party did, however, initially have a positive impression on Gitta through their youth organisations, and she was extremely enthusiastic about the 1936 Olympic Games. Despite this, she was able to take a step back and resist being drawn in. She questioned the propaganda and understood what was truly behind it. Even at the age of 17 she could see that the Nazis brought the threat of war. With six of her friends, Gitta published a small newspaper calling for peace which they also sent to the front. The newspaper attracted widespread attention and Gitta was sent to prison for a short time for her involvement.

„Is the pig dead? Then the war is finally over.“ This utterance had disastrous consequences for Gitta’s Jewish friend Ilse who was living in Berlin on a fake passport. Having dozed off at work, she was woken up by one of her superiors who told her about an assassination attempt on Hitler. Ilse spoke without thinking. Without a moment’s hesitation, Gitta hid Ilse in her flat for nine months until the war had ended, risking her own life to protect that of a friend. For Gitta, this courageous act represented neither a moral nor a religious choice. It was quite simply the right thing to do.

In recognition of what she had done for her friend, Gitta was granted the „Righteous Among the Nations“ award. Before finally accepting the award, she questioned whether she even deserved it because she had „only saved one life and could have done so much more“. Her bravery inspired others to protect people during the Holocaust too. Nowadays her story gives people the strength to stand up for others instead of looking the other way. Because every life matters.