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Wiener Library

Litten, Hans (1903-1938): correspondence (microfilm)


Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 572

Held at: Wiener Library

Title: Litten, Hans (1903-1938): correspondence (microfilm)

Date(s): 1933-1938

Level of description: collection

Extent: 356 frames

Name of creator(s): Litten | Irmgard


Administrative/Biographical history:

Hans Litten, the son of a Jewish father and a protestant mother was born in 1903 in Halle an der Saale. Despite his interest in art and music, he commenced his studies in law at the beginning of the 1920s. In 1928, having qualified, he began his career as a lawyer in Berlin. He worked closely with Ludwig Barbasch, lawyer for the 'Rote Hilfe', legal support group for the German Communist Party.

Litten became renowned for his defence of workers in the infamous 1931 'Edelpalast' trial, in which he sought to demonstrate how the deaths and injuries which occurred as the result of a group of Nazi stormtroopers attacking a gathering of workers, was the result of a deliberate policy of violence. He called Hitler as a witness in this trial.

On the night of 28 February 1933 he was one of the first to be arrested in a purge of political undesirables in the aftermath of the Reichstag fire. He was imprisoned in the following prisons and concentration camps: an SA Kaserne in Moabit, Sonnenberg, Esterwege, Lichtenburg, Buchenwald and Dachau. During this period he was tortured and he made several suicide attempts, finally succeeding on 5 February 1938 whilst in Dachau.

Throughout the period of his incarceration, his mother, Irmgard Litten, made every effort to get him released, writing to the Gestapo, the commandant of various camps, Göring, Hess all to no avail.


Scope and content/abstract:

Correspondence of Irmgard Litten, mother of the lawyer Hans Litten (1903-1938), regarding attempts to secure his release from prison, including a letter dated 11 February 1938 from Dachau, containing a list Hans Litten's personal effects.


Language/scripts of material: German

System of arrangement:


Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Litten family


Existence and location of originals:

Wiener Collection, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:

Litten, Irmgard, A Mother fights Hitler, (George Allen and Unwin, 1941)



Archivist's note: Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: October 2007

Antisemitism | Racial discrimination
Concentration camps | War crimes | Humanitarian law
Legal procedure | Administration of justice
Political prisoners | Civil and political rights | Human rights
Third Reich | Nazism | Totalitarianism | Political doctrines

Personal names
Litten | Hans Achim | 1903-1938 | lawyer

Corporate names
Buchenwald concentration camp
Dachau concentration camp
Lichtenburg concentration camp