Augustat, Elise (1889–1940)

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Augustat, Elise (1889–1940)

German Reichstag deputy. Born Elise Queck on July 29, 1889, in Waldkeim, Germany; died on March 13, 1940, as a result of injuries sustained while imprisoned at Ravensbrück.

Born on July 29, 1889, into a poor family in the small East Prussian town of Waldkeim, Elise Augustat was a housewife and worker who first was elected to the German Reichstag in September 1930 on the Communist ticket. Augustat represented Hamburg, a stronghold of militant Communism and a scene of an abortive uprising in 1923. Like all German parliamentary delegates of the period, she did not question the directives of her party leadership, voting the strict party line on each issue. Well known to the local Nazis, Augustat was arrested on charges of high treason soon after the Hitler regime came to power in early 1933. She was eventually released but kept under surveillance during the following years, living in the village of Lägerdorf in Germany's northernmost province of Schleswig-Holstein.

When World War II began in September 1939, Augustat was again arrested. This time, she was not confined in a Hamburg prison but sent to the notorious women's concentration camp Ravensbrück. Here, the body of the 50-year-old woman, already weakened by her earlier ordeals, could not withstand the privations and indignities that were routine at every German concentration camp. Mortally ill in December 1939, she was granted a "leave of absence" from Ravensbrück. She returned to Lägerdorf, where she died on March 13, 1940.


Feig, Konnilyn G. Hitler's Death Camps: The Sanity of Madness. NY: Holmes & Meier, 1981.

Schumacher, Martin, ed. M.d.R. Die Reichstagsabgeordneten der Weimarer Republik in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus. Düsseldorf: Droste Verlag, 1991.

John Haag , Associate Professor of History, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

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Augustat, Elise (1889–1940)

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Augustat, Elise (1889–1940)