Hidden in the Bread Car 

When Edith Felix, a young Czech Jew, returned from doing forced labor to her room in Berlin-Friedrichshain, she learned that her Jewish landlady had been picked up by the Gestapo. Fearing that she too would be deported, Felix fled. In Berlin-Karow she asked Ruth Schneider, the sister of a friend and a staunch opponent of the regime, for help.

Felix thus became involved with a circle of helpers who were active in the communist resistance. Ruth Schneider lived in the house of her coworker, Käthe Schulz. Both were part of a left-wing resistance cell of employees at the C. Müller rubber works. They already had experience in finding illegal quarters, as a large number of labor movement functionaries went underground as of 1933 and were in need of places to hide. Schulz and Schneider took in Edith Felix and also asked relatives to help out.

Edith Felix was able to alternate hiding with the two women and with the family of Käthe Schulz’s sister Hertha Hellige in Berlin-Frohnau. In this house, Hertha and Heinrich Hellige, Martha and Walter Hellige, and a total of five children lived together under one roof. As members of the Communist Party, which was banned in 1933, the Helliges belonged to an underground resistance cell.

Walter Hellige had already been convicted of political resistance in 1935 and sentenced to fifteen months’ imprisonment. No longer allowed to work as a bank clerk, he delivered bread until the end of the war. His delivery vehicle provided a great service for their resistance activities. He could use it inconspicuously for courier trips to transport subversive materials and people, and it is how Edith Felix was able to change quarters safely. Her last lodgings before the war ended were at the home of Else Seibler—a relative of Ruth Schneider—and her boyfriend Bernhard Reiß in Berlin-Moabit.

Edith Felix was not the only one hidden within this circle of helpers. Hellige’s friends and political comrades Gertrud and Karl Neuhof hid a communist official in the neighborhood. When he was discovered, the Gestapo also arrested his helpers. Karl Neuhof, a Jew, was shot, and his Gentile wife was sent to prison for almost a year.

In 1944, Edith Felix’s helpers made contact with the communist resistance organization around Anton Saefkow and Franz Jacob, which aimed to link resistance groups scattered throughout the city. Käthe Schulz and Ruth Schneider made their home available for secret meetings of the Saefkow-Jacob organization. There they met Gerhard Danelius, a young communist from a Jewish family. He had gone into hiding in 1942 and often was able to stay with the two women. When they had to move with their company to Vogtland, they left him their house, where together with his girlfriend he had a safe hiding place until the end of the war.

Edith Felix left her hiding place in Seibler and Reiß’s courtyard apartment in Berlin-Moabit in April 1945. She made her way to Prague to find out what happened to her family. She survived.

Bibliography:
Hochmuth, Ursel. Illegale KPD und Bewegung “Freies Deutschland” in Berlin und Brandenburg 1942–1945: Biographien und Zeugnisse aus der Widerstandsorganisation um Saefkow, Jacob und Bästlein (Journals of the German Resistance Memorial Center, series A, vol. 4). Berlin: German Resistance Memorial Center, 1998.
Lammel, Inge, ed. Jüdisches Leben in Pankow: Eine zeitgeschichtliche Dokumentation, edited by Bund der Antifaschisten Berlin-Pankow, 170–172. Berlin: Edition Hentrich, 1993.
Neuhof, Peter. Als die Braunen kamen: Eine Berliner jüdische Familie im Widerstand. Bonn: Pahl-Rugenstein, 2006.