|Born||10 July 1922|
Stella Kübler-Isaacksohn (née Goldschlag, 10 July 1922 – 1994) was a German Jewish woman who collaborated with the Gestapo during World War II, exposing and denouncing Berlin's underground Jews.
She was born Stella Goldschlag and raised in Berlin as the only child in a middle-class, assimilated Jewish family. After the 1933 seizure of power by the Nazis, she, like other Jewish children, was forbidden to go to a state school, so she attended the Goldschmidt School, set up by the local Jewish community. At school, she was known for her beauty and vivacity.
The family fell on hard times when Jews were purged from positions of influence and her father, Gerhard Goldschlag, lost his job with the newsreel company Gaumont. Her parents attempted to leave Germany after Kristallnacht in 1938 to escape the Nazi regime, but were unable to gain visas for other countries. Stella completed her education in 1938, training as a fashion designer at the School of Applied Art in Nürnbergerstraße.
Going underground and collaboration
In 1941, she married a Jewish musician, Manfred Kübler. They had met when both were working as Jewish forced-labourers in a war plant in Berlin. In about 1942, when the large deportation programme of Berlin Jews into extermination camps began, she disappeared underground, using forged papers to pass as a non-Jew — owing to her blonde-haired, blue-eyed 'Aryan' appearance.
In the spring of 1943, she and her parents were arrested by the Nazis. Stella Kübler was subjected to torture. In order to avoid deportation of herself and her parents, she agreed to become a "catcher" (German: Greiferin) for the Gestapo, hunting down Jews hiding as non-Jews (referred to as "submerged", German: untergetauchter). She was promised a salary of 300 Reichsmark for each Jew that she betrayed. She proceeded to comb Berlin for such Jews and, as she was familiar with a large number of Jewish people from her years at her segregated Jewish school, Kübler was very successful at locating her former schoolmates and handing their information over to the Gestapo, while posing as a submerged herself. Some of Kübler's efforts to apprehend Jews in hiding included promising them food and accommodation, meanwhile turning them over to the Nazi authorities; she would also follow clues provided to her by the Gestapo. The data concerning the number of her victims varies, depending on different sources of information, from between 600 and 3,000 Jews. Stella Kübler's charisma and striking good looks were a great advantage in her pursuit of underground Jews. The Nazis called her "blonde poison". She is mentioned in The Forger, Cioma Schonhaus's 2004 account of living as an underground Jew in Berlin, and in Berlin at War by Roger Moorhouse (2010).
The Nazis would break their promise of sparing the lives of Kübler's parents. They were deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where they were killed. Kübler's husband, Manfred, was deported in 1943 to Auschwitz, along with his family. Kübler still continued her work for the Gestapo until March 1945. During that time, she met and married her second husband, Rolf Isaaksohn, on 29 October 1944. Isaksohn, a fellow Jewish collaborator with the Nazis known also as a Greifer ("catcher").
The end of the war and after
At the end of World War II, Kübler went into hiding. She was found and arrested by the Soviets in October 1945 and sentenced to ten years' camp detention. Following the completion of her sentence, she moved to West Berlin. There she was again tried and convicted, and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. She did not have to serve the second sentence because of the time already served in the Soviet prison.
Stella's only child, Yvonne Meissl, was taken from her and became a nurse in Israel.
After the war, Kübler, according to Irving Abrahamson, "convert[ed] to Christianity and bec[ame] an open anti-Semite".
Stella Kübler was married five times: Following the deportation of her first husband, Manfred Kübler, she married fellow Jewish collaborator and Greifer Rolf Isaaksohn on 29 October 1944. After the war, she was married to three non-Jews, starting with Friedheim Schellenberg. Her last husband died in 1984.
In biographies and fiction
In 1992, Peter Wyden, a Berlin schoolmate whose family had been able to obtain visas for the US in 1937 and who later learned about Stella's role as a "catcher" while he was working for the U.S. Army, wrote a biography of Kübler.
In 2019, the German journalist Takis Würger published a novel based on Kübler's life, Stella, which was published by Carl Hanser Verlag. It received largely negative reviews. Critics described the work as "Holocaust kitsch", but it sold well.
- "The Holocaust Chronicle article on Stella Kübler". Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- "Nicht Alle Waren Moerder". Archived from the original on June 26, 2016.
- Diana Tovar, Summary of Peter Wyden's Stella University of California, Santa Barbara (Fall 2005). Retrieved July 29, 2011
- The Forger, Cioma Schonhaus, Granta Books, 2004, pp140-141
- Carsten Dams and Michael Stolle, The Gestapo: Power and Terror in the Third Reich (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 71.
- The Forger, also by )Cioma Schonhaus (Granta Books, 2004)
- Wyden, Peter (1992). Stella: One Woman's True Tale of Evil, Betrayal, and Survival in Hitler's Germany.
- Abrahamson, Irving (3 January 1993). "She Saved Herself In The Holocaust By Betraying Others". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- Lambeck, Petra (16 January 2019). "Novel based on Jew 'catcher' Stella Kübler stirs controversy". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
- Petit, Chris (2016). The Butchers of Berlin.
- Dams, Carsten, and Michael Stolle. The Gestapo: Power and Terror in the Third Reich. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
- Gross, Leonard. The Last Jews in Berlin. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982. ISBN 0-671-24727-1.
- Wyden, Peter. Stella: One Woman's True Tale of Evil, Betrayal, and Survival in Hitler's Germany. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. Anchor Books, 1993. ISBN 978-0385471794
- Petit, Chris. The Butchers of Berlin. London: Simon & Schuster, 2016. ISBN 978-1471143403