Hildegard Spieth (1919 - 1999)

Hildegard Wolpert was born in Stuttgart in 1919; she was raised in a Christian household and attended a Protestant school. In 1941 she married Helmut Spieth (1910–1979), who had been a pastor in Stetten in the Rems valley (Württemberg) since 1936. He was conscripted to serve in the military as early as 1940, so Hildegard Spieth had to organize the parish office on her own, with the help of external pastors. A colleague of her husband, Otto Mörike, asked her in February 1945 if she would take in a Jewish couple in hiding for a few days. Despite the risk this involved and her concerns for her young child, the young pastor’s wife (only twenty-four at the time) agreed. On April 10, Max and Ines Krakauer came to the Stetten parsonage, accompanied by Dean Hermann Zeller of Waiblingen. Two families that had been bombed out had already found quarters there.

Hildegard Spieth passed the Jewish couple off as “a bombed-out couple from Berlin.” There was still fighting going on in the area and the SS held drumhead court-martials. When, only days before US troops entered the town, wounded soldiers were supposed to be housed in the parsonage, this would have led to the exposure of the couple in hiding. One woman who was also staying there knew that they were Jews. She told Hildegard Spieth to send the Krakauers away, but Spieth refused. Luckily, the German soldiers ended up never being quartered there. After twenty-seven months in hiding, Max and Ines Krakauer were in Stetten when the area was liberated on April 21, 1945.

Helmut Spieth did not return from English captivity as a prisoner of war until 1948. In 1952 the family moved to Fellbach near Stuttgart, where Hildegard Spieth lived until she died in 1999. She received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1979 and a memorial plaque was mounted on the parsonage in Stetten in 2004, commemorating her courageous deed.
Hildegard Spieth
Photo: privately owned


Rescue Attempts


  • 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.