Lina Haag died

The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site mourns the loss of Lina Haag, a former member of the resistance and contemporary witness to the Nazi period who died on June 18, 2012, at the age of 105 in Munich.

The wife of the Württemberg Communist deputy Alfred Haag, Lina Haag was also arrested directly upon the Nazis seizing power on January 31, 1933, and detained for ten months in the Gotteszell prison, an early concentration camp for women. Later the Gestapo imprisoned her in the Lichtenburg concentration camp for women.

After her release from prison in 1939 Lina Haag fought courageously to attain the release of her husband, who the SS had transferred from the Oberer Kuhberg camp to the Dachau concentration camp and finally on to the Mauthausen concentration camp. After countless attempts she finally achieved her goal of personally petitioning Heinrich Himmler, the Reich Leader of the SS and head of the German Police. Obviously deeply impressed by Lina Haag’s indomitable courage, he ordered the release of her husband.

With Alfred Haag subsequently drafted into the German Army, Lina Haag was forced to work as a physiotherapist and care for wounded soldiers in a military hospital in Garmisch. Still under close surveillance by the Gestapo, she was greatly worried about the fate of her husband, who had been listed as missing since 1944. In this situation she began to write letters to Alfred Haag relating her memories of her time in the concentration camps and the years of struggle she spent trying to secure his release.

After the war Lina Haag moved to Munich with her daughter. Encouraged by a US Army officer responsible for cultural affairs, he published her notes in 1947 under the title Eine Handvoll Staub. A year later Alfred Haag returned from captivity as a Soviet prisoner of war. Named chairman of the Dachau camp community, he now sought to represent the interests of former concentration camp prisoners and campaigned for establishing a memorial site in Dachau. Lina Haag supported him as best she could, but at the same time she set aside her own ambitions as a writer.

It was first in 1977, in part thanks to the support shown by the writer Oskar Maria Graf, who had accidently come across the early edition of the book, that Eine Handvoll Staub was reprinted. Since then her memoir has enjoyed great popularity and been translated into several languages; up until her 80th birthday she continuously took part in contemporary witness discussions and gave talks in schools and other educational institutes.

For her unequalled courage, encapsulated in her defiance of the Nazi regime, the City of Dachau honored Lina Haag on the occasion of her one hundredth birthday in 2007 with the Dachauer Preis für Zivilcourage. In Lina Haag the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site loses a longstanding critical companion who until her death followed current events with an alert mind, always open and frank with her discussion partners.

 

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