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Police Statement from Margot Liu

Sworn statement of Margot Liu
International Tracing Service Archive

Margot Liu (born Margot Holzmann) and Martha Halusa first met in Hamburg, Germany sometime around 1930, when they were working together as dancers at the Alkazar ballroom and cabaret theater.1 The two women soon formed a dance duo and became romantically involved. They were each around twenty years old when they first met, and their partnership lasted the rest of their lives.

During the years of Nazi rule, Margot and Martha lived in Berlin and tried to keep their romantic relationship hidden from authorities. Martha came from a so-called “Aryan” family and Margot was Jewish. The passage of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935 banned marriages and sexual relations between Jews and “Aryans.” And although the Nazi regime did not systematically target women who had same-sex relationships, many were still persecuted and excluded from full membership in the Nazis' so-called "national community" ("Volksgemeinschaft").2

Margot faced persecution both as a lesbian and as a Jewish woman. In addition to criminalizing sexual relations between Jews and “Aryans,” the Nuremberg Laws also made Jewish Germans like Margot second-class citizens. This left them with few legal protections against acts of discrimination and state-sponsored persecution. Margot responded to the Nazi regime’s increasingly radical anti-Jewish policies by seeking the legal protections of foreign citizenship.3 When German authorities began systematically deporting Jews to German-occupied territories in eastern Europe in fall 1941, Margot married a Chinese man named Chi Lang Liu in order to shield herself from deportation.4 The relative security provided by marrying a foreign citizen was threatened when her new husband became upset about her ongoing relationship with Martha.

In 1942, the Berlin Criminal Police (Kripo) began investigating Margot and Martha on “suspicion of lesbian activity.” In the featured statement, Margot claims that her husband was trying to have her imprisoned and had reported her to the police many times already. Both she and Martha tried discrediting Liu by portraying him as an enemy of the Nazi regime. Martha declared that “he said that...Hitler was bad,” and Margot used anti-Asian stereotypes in her statement. She described her husband as an abusive and lazy man who cheated his way out of working a regular job. Margot also said that her husband was part of a large underground gambling ring involving dozens of Chinese men from cities throughout Germany and Austria. But Liu claimed that it was actually Margot and Martha who did not have regular jobs, saying that they were sex workers instead.5

The investigation determined that the two women were in a relationship—and that it was particularly shocking that “lesbian love would be entertained between an Aryan and a Jew.”  A single handwritten word—"Jüdin” (“Jewess”) is scrawled across the top of the document. But “lesbian love” itself was not a crime, and there is no record that any criminal charges were filed as a result of this investigation. In February 1945, the women were arrested on suspicion of anti-Nazi activities, and Martha would later recall how the Gestapo officers who interrogated them treated Margot far more brutally because she was Jewish. The women survived the war and immigrated to the United Kingdom, where they lived together until their deaths in the 1990s.6

Margot’s statement to the Berlin Kripo shows how she and Martha tried to keep their relationship hidden from authorities during the years of the Nazi regime. It also shows how Margot tried to protect herself from anti-Jewish persecution—her statement points out clearly that although she is Jewish, she is a Chinese citizen. Are there other ways in which her responses might have anticipated authorities’ attitudes about race, sex, or work? Where might these be evident in her statement?

To learn more about the Alkazar and Hamburg's nightlife during this period, see Julia Sneeringer, "A Brief History of Entertainment in St. Pauli," in A Social History of Early Rock 'n' Roll in Germany: Hamburg from Burlesque to the Beatles, 1956-69 (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018). 

To learn more about the persecution of lesbian women in Nazi Germany, see Laurie Marhoefer, "Lesbianism, Transvestitism, and the Nazi State: A Microhistory of a Gestapo Investigation, 1939-1943," The American Historical Review 121:4 (2016): 1167-1195; and Javier Samper Vendrell, "The Case of a German-Jewish Lesbian Woman: Martha Mosse and the Danger of Standing Out," German Studies Review 1, no. 2 (May 2018): 335–353. To learn more about lesbian women in the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany, see the related item in Experiencing History, Advertisement for "Violetta Ladies Club."


For more information and related primary sources, see the Experiencing History collection, Sexuality, Gender, and Nazi Persecution.

The Nazi regime often hesitated to target foreign Jews living in Germany—and German Jews married to foreign citizens—for fear of disrupting diplomatic relations with other countries or causing international outcry. So-called "stateless" persons without official documentation of foreign citizenship were particularly vulnerable to Nazi persecution. To learn more, see Michael Mashberg, "Documents Concerning the American State Department and the Stateless European Jews, 1942-1944," Jewish Social Studies 39, no. ½ (Winter—Spring, 1977): 163–182.


To learn about the experiences of Chinese people living in Nazi Germany, see Dagmar Yu-Dembski, "Cosmopolitan Lifestyles and 'Yellow Quarters': Traces of Chinese Life in Germany, 1921-1941," in Chinatowns in a Transnational World: Myths and Realities of an Urban Phenomenon, edited by Vanessa Künnemann and Ruth Mayer (New York: Routledge, 2011): 62-80; and Erich Gütinger, "A Sketch of the Chinese Community in Germany: Past and Present," in The Chinese in Europe, edited by Gregor Benton and Frank N. Pieke (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1998): 197-208.

Margot explained that she had a regular job, but Martha admitted that she was a sex worker and provided police with the name of the doctor she saw for weekly medical examinations. Although prostitution was strictly regulated in Nazi Germany, it was not illegal. Sex workers were often targeted by police or persecuted as so-called "asocials," but the Nazi regime also supported some forms of state-sponsored prostitution during World War II. To learn more, see Victoria Harris, "The Role of the Concentration Camps in the Nazi Repression of Prostitutes, 1933-9," Journal of Contemporary History, 45, no. 3 (July 2010): 675-698; Annette F. Timm, "The Ambivalent Outsider: Prostitution, Promiscuity, and VD Control in Nazi Berlin,' in Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany, edited by Robert Gellately and Nathan Stoltzfus (Princeton: Princeton University Press 2001): 192-211; and Julia Roos, "Backlash against Prostitutes' Rights: Origins and Dynamics of Nazi Prostitution Policies," Journal of the History of Sexuality, 11, no.½ (January-April 2002): 67-94.


To learn more about Margot Liu and Martha Halusa, see Samuel Clowes Huneke, "The Duplicity of Tolerance: Lesbian Experiences in Nazi Berlin," Journal of Contemporary History 54, no. 1 (2019): 30–59.

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[Handwritten at top of page]   Jewess

K.J.M.VI.2                                                        Berlin, October 15, 1942


Having been brought in, the unskilled worker
Margot Liu, née Holzmann, appears;

born in Ratibor [now Racibórz, Poland] on January 16, 1912; citizenship: China; residence: 82 Swinemünder Str., Berlin N 31, c/o Stöhr. On the matter in question, Liu states as follows:

I deny that I have been in a homosexual relationship with Halusa. I am completely heterosexually inclined, and in the past I have always found my sexual satisfaction in intercourse with men. Before the issuance of the Nuremberg Laws, I was on intimate terms with Hans Schilling, a man of German blood, for six years. Kriminal-Sekretär Steffen arrested Schilling for procuring, and I was questioned by him because I was friends with Schilling and worked as a prostitute. I mention this matter in order to prove my heterosexual orientation.

I have known Miss Halusa for about twelve years. We became acquainted in Hamburg. Halusa and I appeared together in a cabaret act at the Alkazar. We became friends and later appeared together in a skit. Off and on we performed a dance routine together. The last time we appeared together was in Prague, in 1937 or 1938. Halusa is also heterosexual. She has several boyfriends and also had a child with one man. No homosexual activity has ever taken place between us.

I am a full Jew [Volljüdin] and, as a result of my current marriage to a Chinese man, have become a Chinese citizen. I met my husband in September of last year at a birthday party. We became engaged on October 11 and got married on November 13, 1941. My father was opposed to this marriage. However, I had no reservations, because my husband was on his best behavior before the marriage. As of our wedding day, my husband was as if transformed.

[Page 2]

He treated me as his servant, and also beat me repeatedly in the period that followed. He also threatened to stab me to death. For this, I have witnesses in our building. Instead of my husband supporting me, the opposite was the case. Although my husband is employed by the food company Lindstedt & Säuberlich on Leipzigerstr., he only seemingly does his job. He works there for a few days and then calls in sick for weeks on end. During this time, he engages in gambling. Over time, during our marriage, I have sold items of my clothing for around RM 2,000 in order to support the two of us. In the nine months I have been married, I have received a total of about RM 140 to 150 from my husband as housekeeping money, after prodding him repeatedly. I am alone in the world. My mother is dead and my father has been evacuated. For this reason, it is understandable that I have confided in Halusa – with whom I have been friends for so long – and have grown closer to her. On New Year’s Eve, I was in a bar on Bayreuther Str. with Halusa, my husband, and a friend of his, a Chinese man named Mau.  We were celebrating there. My husband wanted to set Halusa up with Mau. But she made it clear to my husband and to Mau that she would never get involved with a Chinese. Later, in our place on Steinmetzstr., when Mau got aggressive with Halusa, she pushed him away and came into our room. Highly indignant, she told my husband that she would not let herself be paired off with a Chinaman. I have to point out that Halusa rented a room from the same landlady on Steinmetzstr. When Mau was rude and disrespectful to Halusa, she told him to leave her room. At that, Mau said that if German men give money to Halusa, he could give her much more money. Then he pulled out his wallet and tried to give it to Halusa. But Halusa said she would have nothing to do with a Chinaman. From this time on, my husband’s hatred was directed at Halusa and also at me. Subsequently he sometimes went twice a day to the police station on Alvenslebener Str., trying to pin something on both of us. He told my landlady that he would not rest until he had put Halusa and me in prison. To me, he said that I was having a relationship with Halusa. But my husband knows for certain that Halusa has boyfriends. I admit that I occasionally spent the night in Halusa’s room. But the reason was not so we could engage in homosexual activity. My husband


locked me out on several occasions and would not let me in when I knocked. The landlady and her other roomers can testify to that. Therefore I had no option but to share Halusa’s room. When I noticed that my husband objected to that, whenever there were quarrels I spent the night with my landlady, Miss Wossowska (39a Steinmetzstr.), rather than in Halusa’s room. 

When my husband continues to claim that he knew nothing of my previous life, it is not true. In the presence of Halusa and my former landlady, Mrs. Ackermann, I told my current husband that I had had boyfriends who supported me financially. This conversation came about after my husband told me that he had had a girlfriend who was a streetwalker. From her, he said, he had caught a venereal disease. After that, I also talked about my previous life.

I did not set out to become Liu’s wife. When he claims that I pretended to be pregnant to get him to marry me, it is a lie. It is true that I missed a menstrual period. I myself was not sure whether I was pregnant by Liu or whether it was just the usual irregularity of my menstrual cycle. As witnesses to the fact that I have a gynecological problem that causes menstrual irregularity, I name the Siemens company doctor and my former physician, Dr. Tützer, on Passauer Str. I told Liu about missing my period without any specific agenda in mind, whereupon he took pleasure at telling all his friends that I was going to have a little Chinese. It was Liu alone who took care of the formalities and the legwork involved in getting married. I was not in such a hurry to marry Liu. He wanted to marry quickly. He also went to the Jewish community. In the petition for divorce before the court of appeal, the first reason for divorce that he mentioned was his ignorance of the position of a Jewish woman in Germany. But I have been able to refute that, because he gave his friend – a fellow Chinese – instructions on how he had to work things to marry a Jewess these days. The friend also wanted to marry a Jewish woman.

All my husband’s statements are based solely on lies and hatefulness. He wants to destroy me completely. I have Miss Wossowsky as a witness. In her presence, he said that there were only two ways to get rid of me: He would get me put in prison, and if that attempt failed, he said he would stab me to death.

For this reason, I have no cause to go easy on my husband, and now I too will talk.


When my husband claims that he has always worked in accordance with the rules, it is a lie. The firm of Lindstädt & Säuberlich reported him to the State Police [Stapo] for refusal to work. He was questioned about this. My husband told me that the State Police official threatened to send him to a camp if it happened again. In the presence of Miss Halusa, I tried to urge him to work, but he turned nasty and said that he wouldn’t dream of working for effing Germany just because a Jewess wanted him to. Then he had the doctor authorize weeks of sick leave for him, without his being in ill health. He had the doctor come to the apartment, and he pretended to have abdominal cramps. He deceived the doctor for weeks in this way, because as soon as the doctor had left, he got dressed at once and went out. Then, repeatedly throughout our entire marriage, he would not return home for days. On average, he stayed gone for two or three days a week. During this time, my husband was gambling. In the early days of our marriage, my husband told me this. He made the gambling out to be a harmless parlor game. The games in question are “mahjong” and various other games of chance. However, the scale of the games and the detailed circumstances under which they were played were unknown to me, and my husband told me nothing about that either, until I myself found it out one day.

It was shortly before Easter of this year. After my husband had been gone for three days, he telephoned me and asked me to come to 45 Dresdener Str. He told me to bring him something to eat. Then I went to Dresdener Str. I walked across the courtyard, and in the coffee room of the Dresdener Hof I asked where the Chinese were meeting. I was told that they were on the upper floors. From the hotel coffee room, I went up a winding staircase, and in the process I heard the buzz of loud voices coming from a room. I entered without knocking and saw about thirty people sitting at the gambling table or standing around it. Piles of large banknotes lay on the table. When I entered, all the people looked distraught, and my husband immediately jumped up from the gambling table and pushed me out the door. He said that under no circumstances should I just walk in again without knocking, because it caused him big trouble with the others. Subsequently my husband told me on numerous occasions to bring food. Most of the time they gambled in a bar on Danziger Str. I never went into the gambling room there, however, because it was guarded by Chinese. As my husband informed me, they played for very high stakes. Chinese from every city in Germany and also from Vienna were there; they came to Berlin solely for the purpose of gambling, my husband said.


It was about eight days before Pentecost of this year; before that my husband had had no money. During this time, in the month around Pentecost, there were gambling parties constantly, because my husband was at home for one day and then gone again for two. One day he came home and I demanded money for board. He offered me RM 5, and I told him that it wouldn’t be enough. He told me that he had no money. Later he locked himself in the room, and I heard him opening the cash box. Then, while he was bathing after leaving the room, I went to his jacket, which he had hung over the chair, and took out the key. Halusa, whom I had called in, kept a lookout. I counted the money; there was about RM 9 or 10,000. I showed the money to Halusa. She told me I should by all means take a few hundred RM for housekeeping money. But I closed the cash box again without taking anything for myself. Then, later on, I got him through a trick. I told my husband that his fellow Chinese had told me that he had won RM 15,000. He wanted to know who had told me this, and then he admitted that during the past three weeks he had won about RM 10,000. He wanted to invest this money in gold and diamonds, and he told me that if I knew anyone who was selling something, I should let him know. He wanted to buy Halusa’s diamond ring from her.

Since Pentecost I have been living apart from my husband. I have filed for divorce, and the court date is October 29, 1942, at the City Courthouse [Amtsgericht Mitte]. I can swear to my statements.


Personally read:                                Approved:              Signed:


[Handwritten signature]


Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
International Tracing Service Archive
Accession Number Criminal Police File on Margot Liu, Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives
Date Created
October 15, 1942
Berlin, Germany
Document Type Official document
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