Screening: Elisabeth of Berlin


This groundbreaking film was created for the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi’s “Night of Broken Glass,” which many mark as the beginning of the Holocaust. 

After witnessing the violence of this pogrom against Germany’s Jews, Elisabeth Schmitz knew that life could no longer continue normally: her Christian faith compelled her to put her own life at risk in order to live on behalf of others.

This little-known hero of the church is today remembered on the Avenue of the Righteous, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.

About The Filmmaker

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Rev. Steven D. Martin

Filmmaker, Pastor,
Founder of the Lakelands Institute

Steven embarked upon the three films in the "Theologians Under Hitler" series as a way of exploring deeply personal questions.  How do we recognize evil when we are living in evil times? How do we find the courage to stand up for others, even at deep personal cost?  Elisabeth Schmitz is a forgotten hero who offers us an answer to these questions.

More About Elisabeth of Berlin

"Moreover: we have seen how property has been destroyed; shops were marked for this purpose during the summer. If they are now going to mark people-the conclusion is obvious, but I do not wish to be more precise."

-Elisabeth Schmitz, in a letter to Helmut Gollwitzer, 1938

Her most important writing was a twenty-four page memorandum that described, in detail, hardships endured by Jews across Germany. It was written to church leadership in order to urge them to take action. Because writing something like this was illegal in those days, she wrote it anonymously. Although it was well-known after the war was over, an archivist attributed its authorship to someone else.

Elisabeth Schmitz was forgotten until her handwritten draft was discovered in a dusty church basement in her hometown.

This film is part biography, part historical narrative, and part detective story. Above all this film shows us the importance of always broadening our circle of friendships, especially during dangerous times.

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