Susette Freund (née Liepmannssohn) was born in Berlin on 4 July 1890 to parents Leonhard (Leo) Liepmannssohn (1840-1915) and Hedwig Pieck (1852-1919). Leo was the well-known Antiquarian who dealt in rare manuscripts and autographs of the musical masters, and who himself was an accomplished pianist. Susette, being an only child, often accompanied her father on his trips in search of antiquities.
Susette married cinematographer/director Karl Freund (1890-1969) on 8 September 1915 in Berlin. The marriage produced one child, a daughter, Gerda Maria, born on 5 November 1916. Karl and Susette divorced on 5 January 1920. Karl eventually relocated to California to pursue a successful movie career. Susette and Gerda remained in Berlin, immersing themselves in the vibrant Weimar era culture. Susette focused her energies on her beloved daughter, Gerda, the two of them traveling extensively throughout today’s Europe. Susette sent Gerda to the renowned Waldschule, a unique co-educational program in Berlin- Charlottenburg.
In November, 1937, Susette said goodbye to her only child when Gerda left Germany with her father, Karl Freund, who had agreed to take his daughter to California to live. This was the last time that they ever saw one another. Susette returned to Berlin and her apartment at Aschaffenburger Strasse 23.
At some time, probably in 1941, and for unknown reasons, Susette was forced to move to Berlin-Kreuzberg, Freiligrathstrasse 7. Few details are available as to the circumstances surrounding the move and what transpired after that, but the records do show that in late 1941 or early 1942, Susette was sent to Ravensbrueck Concentration Camp and subsequently determined to be “unfit for work” or “selected” simply because she was Jewish. Under the legal authority of Action 14f13, she was transferred to the Landes-Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Bernburg / Saale on 12 March 1942, where she was murdered in a gas chamber in a separate wing of the institution built for that purpose
A documentary, honoring her life, was completed in 2014, by Rodney S. Martel, one of her grandsons.