Hans Litten: Correspondence

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 70541
1 Jan 1933 - 31 Jan 1938
Level of Description
  • German
EHRI Partner

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.

All of the material is in German.

Archival History

The custodial history prior to deposit is unknown.

Scope and Content

This microfilm collection of correspondence of Irmgard Litten contains copy letters to her son whilst in concentration camps Lichtenburg and Dachau; copy correspondence to various authorities including Hitler, Hess and Göring asking for clemency; and some original letters from Hans Litten and various authorities. Most of it is typescript.

System of Arrangement

Frames 1-156 (approx) are contained on reel MF Doc 54/33 and comprise letters from Irmgard to Hans in Concentration camps. Frames 1-200 on reel MF Doc 54/28 contain the remaining material.

Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Reproduction

Use R:\Document collections\MF54\Working images\28 Frames 722-874; Use R:\Document collections\MF54\Working images\29 Frames 1-203

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements





This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.