Marie Maetzig came from Hamburg. Her husband Robert Maetzig owned a film laboratory in Berlin. The well-known DEFA film director, Kurt Maetzig, was her son. In 1947 he made a film titled “Marriage in the Shadows” (Ehe im Schatten) in memory of his mother.
As a Protestant of Jewish descent, Marie Maetzig was targeted by the Nazis’ racial laws. She evaded deportation until 1944 by fleeing to different cities across Germany, where non-Jewish friends and relations took her in. On 9 February 1944, she escaped imminent deportation by taking her own life in Berlin.
People of various denominations made it possible for Marie Maetzig to die in dignity and have a Christian burial, at considerable personal risk. They were: Prof. Werner Leibbrand, the doctor who granted her son’s request to admit her to Westend hospital, from which Jews were barred; Vicar Fritz Siems of the Lietzensee parish, a member of the Confessing Church who accompanied her on her last journey; and staff at the Protestant forest cemetery in Stahnsdorf who carried out her burial without the requisite papers.
These were small gestures of human kindness at a time of inhuman cruelty.