Born in Pisek (Czech Republic) in 1905, I come from a good, full-Jewish family. When I was 1 year old, my parents relocated to Vienna, where I was raised. I studied at the Vienna School of Music, and got to know my future husband Mr. Richard Riemer when I was 17 years old. He was born in Vienna, son of a Catholic civil servant family. My father died soon thereafter. We got married after competing our studies in 1930 and traveled to Berlin within the same year, where I was owner of a big block of buildings. The block was renovated, and my husband became its supervisor. Upon completing this task we decided on a rescheduling of the mortgage, which led us to Munich.


In the meantime, the financial situation in Germany had become such a crisis, that the income of the house could not be transferred to Austria any more if we lived outside of Germany. Therefore we were forced, in order not to lose our income, to live in Germany as Austrian citizens; and we decided to stay in Munich because of artistic connections. My husband soon became a well-known artist and participated in all great are exhibitions.


In the meantime, Hitler gained control, and anti-Semitism grew. My husband withdrew himself consequently from the public. Formally we had to maintain our domicile in Munich, so we would not lose our income from the house. Once the Nurnberger Laws were passed, the stay in Germany became morally so unbearable, that we often stayed abroad, especially Austria. But since the National Socialism and Anti-Semitism already was very strong there as well we spend most of our time in Italy. My husband traveled back to Munich occasionally, only to transfer necessary moneys. During our5r stay in Italy we were surprised by the attack on Austria. We decided to emigrate and my husband drove to Munich, to possibly sell hour house. To be able to sell it, we had tit transcribed on his name, but it was in vain: the contract said that I was Jewish and therefore the house could only be sold with special permission. My husband returned to me to start a new existence in Italy. When suddenly we were told that our passports had been declared invalid, and so we were forced to return to Munich to be issued new passports. We left all the valuables we had with us in Italy with the certainty, to return shortly. In September 1938 we came to Munich again. A few weeks later, in December, my husband got sick with polio and stayed in a hospital for almost half a year.


He was still wretched when the war broke out and destroyed our plans of emigration. We faced the taks to exist in Germany somehow.


For recovery, we had rented a room at the Bodensee in the summer of 1939. We decided not to abandon this room so we would have a refuge when the persecutions would make life in Munich impossible. When the food stamps were distributed, we retrieved them in Uhldingen as a precaution and had them sent to Munich . By accident they were distributed by the man who rented the room to us, and it all worked out since he was interested in receiving the rent monthly, although we were not there.


In the meantime, my husband was forbidden to work because he refused to divorce me. Even then we were not deceived of the lack of restraint of the Jew-hatred, any my husband tried to attain an Arian passport for me. He contemplated it day and night because he knew that this matter would be vital. What he had planned was so dangerous, that he sent me to the Bodensee ready to attempt a flight into Switzerland in case it failed. My husband speculated on the over-0rganization, o rlack of connection of the authorities. My being Jewish was known at some places but not at others. Thus, my husband applied for a family passport that also contained his wife. The thing succeeded almost like a miracle. Ever since my Austrian passport had been declared invalid I had had no identification papers because I did not dare to apply. Now I had a passport, that would pass every control.


The deportation of Jews had begun and my old mother was arrested in Vienna, to be deported to Poland. When the situation became so dangerous, we had advised her to claim her daughter was the extra-marital child with an Arian man. Even before my mother was arrested, we had (to protect her) already started a trial to recognize this invented self-report. When my mother was supposed to be deported from Vienna, my husband requested that she be moved to Munich as a witness to testify to the invented statement. After inexplicable difficulties and dangers we managed to free my mother from the already arranged transport to Poland, and take her to Munich. We were supported by the Vienna organization “Gildemeester” and an accommodating Munich attorney . Nevertheless the three of us were aware that we could be deported to Poland any hour. My husband repeatedly risked his life to intervene for my mother, and we never knew whether or not he would return from a trip to the Gestapo and SS. We were able to use an old rivalry between the former police and the new Gestapo thus we could finally take my mother to Munich. She was with us for half a year. The process took an unfavorable turn; the anthropologist declared that I was Jewish. We had no evidence anymore to keep my mothering Munich where she was no longer needed as witness. She was denied the residence grant and had to return to Vienna. Soon thereafter she was arrested again and deported to Theresienstadt. Nevertheless this half a year was decisive for my mother’s life. By then she had crossed the age limit of 65 and was brought to Theresienstadt instead of Poland, from where she returned after 3 years.


The situation in Munich became unbearable for us. The trial marked me clearly as Jewish, and the helpers of the Gestapo began to look for me. We traveled crisscrossing through Germany, stayed in Pforzheim, Schwaebisch-Gmuend, Berlin, Vienna and so forth . Finally even traveling through Germany became impossible and we moved into our room in Uhldingen. Shortly thereafter my husband was known and hated as opponent of National Socialism there as well. Rumors appeared that I was Jewish (probably caused by the maiden name of my mother). We attempted to move somewhere else, but every change of location was subject to greatest dangers because further inquiry from Munich would have been connected to that. We were pressed into forced labor in a plant by force of the Gendarmerie (local police). My husband resisted with all his intelligence. When nothing helped anymore, he destroyed his machine through wrong lever position and caused there a serious disruption of the production.


The front had moved very closely. Our situation in the village had become so dangerous, that we sought refuge in a bath hut (probably some sort of cabin) during the last few months, where the front rolled over us.


My husband has shared the chased, hunted life with me throughout all these years and taken up the greatest dangers filled with courage. He never wanted to hear about divorce, although I often recommended it to him, because I saw how he was endangered tremendously through me. It is only thanks to him that I am alive, that my mother is alive. Only on his own he steered me through all dangers, without ever compromising with the National Socialists. Only the pass port protected me from the dangers.



I have read these documentation of the fate of the Richard Riemer family during the Nazi time.

I was from 1940, i.e. the time of the work prohibition, and even during the arrest of Mrs. Riemer’s mother direct witness of their life because I was a very close friend and part of their fate. When I did not live with them, I was constantly in contact with them through letters.


I hereby testify that this document contains nothing but the truth.


Irrmgard Brecht


Haertingerstrasse 7, July 3, 1949.






“Dear Aunt Emmy” Letter from Elfi to Emily about school, suffering from TBC, getting into college?


Wien 11/21/1956

From Elfi. “Dear Aunt Emmy” — about broken off love affair with boyfriend. Also about religion. Elfi is Catholic.