Erika Heymann, circa 1919
Erika Heymann (née Erika Lasallelie Geck, born Offenburg, Germany 1895, died Amsterdam April 6, 1950) was a German woman posthumously granted the status of Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem for helping several Jews hide during the German occupation of the Netherlands.
1 Early life
3 War and occupation
4 Arrest and camp
5 Post-War and death
6 Righteous Among the Nations
Erika Heymann was born in Offenburg, Germany in 1895. She was the daughter of Adolf and Marie Geck, the third of five children. Erika’s father was a socialist and her mother a Catholic. Erika was not particularly religious and thought of herself as a lover of nature (naturfreunde in German).
In 1921 Erika Geck married Stefan Heymann, a veteran of the German Army in World War I and communist. Erika and Stefan lived in Mannheim, were active in civic and labor union affairs, and contributed articles for the communist daily on topics ranging from politics to the performing arts. Two children were born to the couple at this time: Sonja in 1922 and Dieter in 1927.
In 1930 Stefan took a job with the communist newspaper Rote Fahne (Red Flag) as its editor in Berlin. In 1933 Stefan was imprisoned in Wohlau for refusing to divulge the author of an article that appeared in Rote Fahne.
Shortly thereafter Erika received an order from the Interior Minister of Prussia, Hermann Goering, evicting the family from Prussia. Under the construction of the Weimar Republic, Erika was a citizen of the state of Baden, and could therefore be ordered to leave Prussia. Erika and Stefan (from prison) agreed it was time to leave Germany entirely.
Erika’s sister, Traudel, convinced the director of the transportation labor union (ITF) in Amsterdam to hire Erika as a governess, on the pretext that she would teach German to his children. On July 14, 1933, the family moved to Amsterdam.
The three lived at Argonautenstraat No. 19 in the south of Amsterdam, renting two apartments, one of which they sublet. Erika worked as a cook and cleaning woman during the day. She also made contacts in the socialist movements in Amsterdam.
In March 1936 Stefan completed his sentence, but was rearrested for being a member of the KPD and sentenced to life imprisonment in Kislau prison. In 1938 he was transferred to Dachau to build a new prison camp. Stefan and Erika maintained some correspondence but as war drew near this becam