Elisabeth Goes (1911 - 2007)

Elisabeth Schneider, daughter of a postmaster, grew up in Echterdingen near Stuttgart. She completed her training as a nursery school teacher. In 1933 she married the Protestant theologian Albrecht Goes, who in 1938 became the pastor of Gebersheim, a village near Leonberg in the Stuttgart area. He was drafted in 1940 and served as a military hospital and prison chaplain from 1942 to 1945.

During the war Elisabeth Goes came into contact with parsonages in Württemberg that sympathized with the Confessing Church and helped Jews. When in the summer of 1944 she was asked by Pastor Otto Mörike if she would be willing to take in a Jewish couple, Max and Ines Krakauer, she said yes, despite her concerns for her three young daughters. The only people who knew were the families of the farmers Gottlob and Benjamin Schwarz, who helped her by supplying food.

A dangerous situation arose when Elisabeth Goes’s neighbor asked if she and her “bombed-out guests” would help her with her harvest. A sudden storm meant a premature end to the harvesting, preventing the Krakauers from possibly raising suspicions. They stayed with Elisabeth Goes from August 22 to September 20, 1944, who then brought them to their next hiding place in Heimerdingen. In 1945 Elisabeth Goes also hid Ella Friedemann from Berlin and another Jewish woman as well.

Elisabeth Goes received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1979 for her courageous actions and in 1995 she was honored by the Israeli Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations. On the initiative of the former German President Richard von Weizsäcker, a memorial stone was laid in 2003 at the Gebersheim parsonage, commemorating Albrecht and Elisabeth Goes. Albrecht Goes left the parish ministry in 1953 and worked as a freelance author. He was one of few authors who already in the 1950s wrote about the persecution of the Jews.
Elisabeth Goes
Photo: privately owned

Biographies

Rescue Attempts

Glossary

  • Confessing Church

    Confessing Church

    This church opposition to the Protestant Church’s forced conformity with the Nazi regime was founded in 1934. It rejected having Christians of Jewish descent excluded from the church. In all state churches except in Württemberg, Bavaria, and Hanover, there was a schism between “German Christians” who were loyal to the regime and supporters of the Confessing Church. Many Confessing Church pastors were imprisoned.

     

     

  • People who were “bombed out”

    People who were “bombed out”

    Starting in 1943 more and more people lost their place of residence through air raids. Many Jews in hiding took advantage of this situation. By claiming to have been “bombed out,” they received “Aryan” papers and food ration coupons from the authorities, who could no longer check people’s claims since so many documents had been destroyed. This improved their chances of survival.