Mathilde Stoltenhoff (Herbst) (1897 - 1998)

Dr. Mathilde Stoltenhoff was born as Mathilde Krause in Kassel in 1897. In 1933 she joined the Nazi Party in order to continue to run her private psychiatric clinic in Dresden. According to her testimony she decided under pressure to take this step since her husband at the time had belonged to a socialist physicians association until 1933. After the Second World War both Jewish and non-Jewish witnesses attested to her having acted as she did because she wanted to help patients suffering persecution.

A mother of two daughters, after her divorce she settled in Berlin in 1939 as a general practitioner. She now frequented with doctors, artists, and journalists who were Nazi opponents. On the request of Alois Florath, a former press illustrator and social democrat who was part of this anti-fascist circle, she took in Susanne Meyer, a Jew in hiding, for several months in 1944.

She lived in a small single-family house in the Lichterfelde-Ost section of Berlin, where she also had her medical practice. It was not without risk that she gave lodgings to Susanne Meyer, since she had lost her position as an independent examining physician for the State Insurance Association (LVA) in 1941 for political reasons. In particular she felt she was being watched in her neighborhood by an editor for the Nazi newspaper Völkischer Beobachter, who was the “local informer” and block warden and had already had several people sent to concentration camps.

Susanne Meyer helped the doctor as best she could in the household and in the medical practice. The two women got along well. They were tireless in their caring for those injured in air raids. When air raid sirens sounded, Susanne Meyer could not go into the safe public air raid shelters, but instead had to persevere alone in the basement of the single-family home. This is why she later returned to her helpers in Brandenburg.

After 1945 the doctor, whose name after remarrying was Mathilde Herbst, lived in Westphalia; at the age of seventy-eight she was still practicing medicine. On the initiative of Susanne Veit (formerly Meyer), Mathilde Herbst received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1944 for her courageous assistance. She died in 1998 at the age of 100.
Mathilde Stoltenhoff (Herbst)
Photo: German Resistance Memorial Center


Rescue Attempts


  • Nazi Party

    Nazi Party

    In Munich in 1920 Adolf Hitler announced the anti-democratic and racist program of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP, founded in 1919 as the German Workers Party). The party was an authoritarian organization headed by the “Führer”; it gained political significance during the economic and state crisis around 1930. From 1933 on it was the sole party. Up to 1945 around 8.5 million Germans had become “party comrades.”