I bet you didn’t know these 10 famous German women


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You’ve heard of Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Engels, Martin Luther. Have you heard of these 10 famous German women?

German women have historically contributed to the image of Germany Unfortunately little is known about them and the recognition they are given. Below is a list of 10 famous German women who changed the image of Germany.

1. Amalie Emmy Noether

famous German women

She is considered the most important woman in the history of mathematics, or at least that is how Einstein considered her, who also used her contributions to formulate some aspects of general relativity. She was born in Erlangen, Germany, in 1882 and died in 1935 in the United States, after she was expelled by the Nazis. Her contributions had a broad and profound influence on the development of modern algebra and topology, with great advances in the theories of rings, groups, and fields. Throughout her life she made about 40 publications.

InfosAmalie Emmy Noether
Famous for:Amalie Emmy Noether was a German mathematician who made fundamental contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. In particular, Noether revolutionized the theory of rings, bodies and algebras.
Born:23. März 1882, Erlangen
Died:14. April 1935, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US
Burial place:Rhys Carpenter Library, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US
Education:Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (1904–1907), Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (1903–1904)
Siblings:Fritz Noether, Gustav Robert Noether, Alfred Noether
Parents:Max Noether, Amalia Kaufmann

2. Anneliese Marie Frank

famous German women

She was a young German of Jewish origin, known for her famous diary where she testifies to the two years that she lived in hiding with her family in the city of Amsterdam to escape Nazi extermination during World War II. 

The “Diary” is a moving sample of the sufferings they experienced during that time of terror and persecution. In which Anne Frank imagines writing to Kitty, a hypothetical friend, to tell her about these events. Her stories are distinguished by their simplicity, strength and truth. 

Her book has been translated into all languages, as well as the story taken to theater and film, making this document the most impressive testimony to the oppression suffered in many countries under Nazism and the conditions in which millions of people were forced to live in hopes of escaping extermination.

InfosAnneliese Marie Frank
Famous for:Anne Frank, born Anneliese Marie Frank was born June 12, 1929 in Frankfurt am Main and died in February or early March 1945 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp). She was a Dutch-German girl who lived in 1934 with his Parents and his sister Margot emigrated to the Netherlands to avoid persecution by the National Socialists and fell victim to the National Socialist Holocaust shortly before the end of the war. In the Netherlands, Anne Frank lived with her family in a hidden secret annexe in Amsterdam from July 1942. In this hiding place she recorded her experiences and thoughts in a diary, which was published after the war as the diary of Anne Frank by her father Otto Frank.

The diary is considered a historical document from the time of the Holocaust and the author is a symbol against the inhumanity of genocide during the Nazi era.
Born:12 June 1929, Frankfurt am Main
Died:March 1945 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Burial place:Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Siblings:Margot Frank
Parents:Otto Heinrich Frank, Edith Frank-Holländer

3. Käthe Kollwitz

famous German women

She is the most brilliant German artist of the 20th century. Her work is related to the expressionist movement, in addition to being characterized by its deep social criticism. Despite the unpopularity she gained from her opposition to the war, in 1919 she was appointed to the Prussian Academy of Arts and became the first woman to hold a position at that institution. 

In each of her works he manifests a dramatic feeling, which came from her observation of social reality, especially showing the terrible conditions in which the workers lived and the dramas about the war.

InfosKäthe Kollwitz
Famous for:Käthe Kollwitz (née Schmidt) was born on July 8, 1867 in Königsberg (Prussia) and died April 22, 1945 in Moritzburg near Dresden. She was a German graphic artist, painter and sculptor and is one of the best-known German artists of the 20th century. With her often serious, sometimes terrifyingly realistic lithographs, etchings, copperplate engravings, woodcuts and sculptures based on personal circumstances and experiences, she developed an independent art style that integrates the influences of expressionism and realism.
Born:July 8, 1867 in Königsberg (Prussia)
Died:April 22, 1945 in Moritzburg
SpouceKarl Kollwitz (marr. 1891–1940)
Children:Peter Kollwitz, Hans Kollwitz
Siblings:Conrad Schmidt, Julie Schmidt, Lisbeth Stern
Parents:Katherina Schmidt, Karl Schmidt

4. Rozalia Luxemburg

famous German women

Rosa was a revolutionary and theorist of German socialism. Her socialist militancy forced her to be exiled from the age of 18, taking refuge in Switzerland, where she finished her law studies and later joined the Polish Social Democratic Party. In 1898 he returned to Germany to join the Social Democratic Party, where debates were held to defend the ideas of Marx and Engels. 

Hand in hand with Karl Liebknecht she led the protests of the left socialists against the First World War during the years 1914 and 1918. Together with Liebknecht she launched the Spartacist Revolution of 1919, dying at the hands of the military in charge of his repression.

InfosRozalia Luxemburg
Famous for:She advocated mass strikes as a means of socio-political change and to prevent war. Immediately after the beginning of the First World War in 1914, she founded the “Gruppe Internationale”, from which the Spartakusbund emerged.

In early 1919 she founded the Communist Party of Germany with who accepted her program, but refused to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, which she asked for. After the subsequent Spartacus uprising was suppressed, she and Karl Liebknecht were murdered by members of the Guard Cavalry Rifle Division.
Born:March 5, 1871, Zamość, Poland
Died:January 15, 1919, Berlin
Burial place:June 13, 1919, Friedrichsfelde Lichtenberg Central Cemetery, Berlin
Education:University of Zurich
Parents:Eliasz Luxemburg , Line Löwenstein

5. Clara Josephine Zetkin

famous German women

She was a German communist and fighter for women’s rights. Its main ideologies were feminism, socialism and communism. After the First World War, he took a leading role in the new Communist Party of Germany. In 1889, she edited the socialist women’s newspaper Die Gleichheit (“Equality”), which ran between 1892 and 1917. In 1910, while the conference of socialist women was being held in Copenhagen, she proposed that March 8 be International Day of Women, a resolution that has since been approved.

InfosClara Josephine Zetkin
Famous for:Clara Josephine Zetkin was a socialist – communist German politician, peace activist and women’s rights activist . She was active in the SPD until 1917 and a prominent representative of the revolutionary Marxist party in this partyFraction. In 1917 she joined the SPD spin-off USPD. There they belonged to the left wing or the Spartacus group during the November Revolution in 1918 Spartacus League has been renamed. This in turn merged with other left-wing revolutionary groups in the newly founded Communist Party of Germany (KPD) at the turn of the year 1918/1919 . As an influential member of the KPD, Zetkin was a member of the Reichstag from 1920 to 1933 and, in 1932, age-president of parliament.

At the supranational level, Zetkin was one of the founders of the Second International of the socialist labor movement as a participant in the International Workers’ Congress of 1889 in Paris . In her work for the International , she is considered to be the formative initiator of International Women’s Day.
Born:July 5, 1857, Königshain-Wiederau
Died:June 20, 1933, Museum-Estate Arkhangelskoye, Arkhangel’skoye, Russia
Burial place:Necropolis on the Kremlin wall, Moscow
Spouce:Friedrich Zundel (married 1899–1927)
Children:Kostja Zetkin , Maxim Zetkin

6. Sophia Magdalena „Sophie“ Scholl 

famous German women

She was a leader and activist in the movement against Hitler’s dictatorship, the “White Rose” in Nazi Germany. This group was born at the University of Munich in 1942, founded by Hans Scholl, Sophie’s older brother, and other medical students, Christoph Propst, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, and philosophy professor Kurt Huber. Sophie Scholl joined when she moved to Munich to study biology and philosophy. 

The group fought the ideas of the National Socialist party by sending flyers by mail, or by leaving them in phone booths or parking lots. On February 18, 1943, Sophie and her brother threw flyers from the top of their university into the inner courtyard of the same, an act that caused them to be discovered and arrested. On February 22, 1943, the court handed down a death sentence against Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl and Christoph Propst. The same day they were executed.

InfosSophia Magdalena „Sophie“ Scholl 
Famous for:Sophia Magdalena “Sophie” Scholl was born May 9, 1921 in Forchtenberg and died February 22, 1943 in Munich. She was a German political activist against National Socialism. Because of her involvement in the White Rose resistance group, she and her brother Hans Scholl were sentenced to death by National Socialist judges and executed on the same day.
Born:May 1921, Forchtenberg
Died:February 22, 1943, Munich correctional facility, Munich
Burial place:February 24, 1943, Friedhof am Perlacher Forst, Munich
Occupation:Student, political activist
Siblings:Hans Scholl, Inge Aicher-Scholl, Elisabeth Hartnagel, Werner Scholl, Thilde Scholl
Parents: Robert Scholl , Magdalena Scholl
Books:“Don’t say it is for the fatherland”: Correspondence 1937-1943 , So that we do not lose each other: Correspondence 1937-1943

7. Marie Magdalene Dietrich

famous German women

She is better known by her stage name Marlene Dietrich. She was a German film actress and singer recognized as the ninth greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute. 

The most important moment of her career was when she played the role of Lola-Lola in The Blue Angel (1930), one of the most important films in the history of cinema. His show business ended in 1974, when he broke his leg on stage. She also represented a fashion icon for top designers, as well as for the stars who succeeded her. It popularized, among other garments, the use of pants in women.

InfosMarie Magdalene Dietrich
Famous for:In 1920s Berlin, Dietrich performed on the stage and in silent films. Her performance as Lola-Lola in Josef von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel (1930) brought her international acclaim and a contract with Paramount Pictures. She successfully traded on her glamorous persona and “exotic” looks, and became one of the highest-paid actresses of the era.

Throughout World War II she was a high-profile entertainer in the United States. Although she delivered notable performances in several post-war films including Alfred Hitchcock’s Stage Fright (1950), Billy Wilder’s Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil (1958) and Stanley Kramer’s Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Dietrich spent most of the 1950s to the 1970s touring the world as a marquee live-show performer.
Born:December 27, 1901, Schöneberg, Berlin
Died:May 6, 1992, Paris, France
Burial place:May 16, 1992, Friedhof Stubenrauchstraße, Berlin
Spouce:Rudolf Sieber (m. 1923–1976)
Children:Maria Riva
Movies:Some of her famous movies:
• Sternberg—Morocco (1930) (her only Academy Award nomination), Dishonored (1931),
• Shanghai Express and Blonde Venus (both 1932)
• The Scarlet Empress (1934)
• The Devil Is a Woman (1935)— plus Desire (1936)
• Destry Rides Again (1939)

8. Stefanie Maria “Steffi” Graf

famous German women

She is a German tennis player, classified as one of the best tennis players of all time. In 1982 she made her debut on the professional circuits, in which she consolidated as a tennis player capable of great concentration and with unusual power in strokes. 

She became the first figure on the women’s circuit by winning all four Grand Slam tournaments and the gold medal at the Seoul Olympics, adding 107 individual titles on the professional circuit throughout her career. This incredible number of victories allowed him to lead the Professional Tennis Association rankings for 377 weeks (186 consecutive) throughout his career.

InfosStefanie Maria “Steffi” Graf
Famous for:Stefanie Maria “Steffi” Graf (born June 14, 1969 in Mannheim ) is a former German tennis player. With 22 Grand Slam tournaments won and a record of 377 weeks at the top of the world rankings, she is one of the most successful players in history. In 1988 she won all four Grand Slam tournaments and the Olympic Games, making her the first person to win the Golden Slam.
Born:June 14, 1969 (age 52), Mannheim
Spouce:Andre Agassi (married 2001)
Siblings:Michael Graf
Children: Jaz Elle Agassi , Jaden Gil Agassi
Parents:Peter Graf , Heidi Graf

9. Cornelia Maria Funke

famous German women

German writer of children’s and young people’s literature, known as the “German JK Rowling” due to her ability to fill her stories with fantasy and imagination. In addition, he has an extraordinary ability to describe landscapes, environments and characters through his illustrations, an ideal complement to his fictional stories. 

The trilogy “Ink World” would consolidate her as a publishing phenomenon and make her one of the 100 most influential people in the world, according to Time magazine. As in the case of Rowling and her hit saga, the “Ink World” trilogy was also made into a movie. His more than 40 books have been translated into more than thirty languages. In addition, his works have received numerous awards, especially in Germany and the United States.

InfosCornelia Maria Funke
Famous for:She began writing novels in the late 1980s and focused primarily on fantasy-oriented stories that depict the lives of children faced with adversity. Funke has since become Germany’s “best-selling author for children.” Her work has been translated into several languages and, as of 2012, Funke has sold over 20 million copies of her books worldwide.
Funke achieved acclaim as the author of the children’s novels The Thief Lord (2002) and Dragon Rider (2004), which were translated and released in English after originally being published in Germany. She subsequently achieved wider recognition with the Inkheart series of novels, which include Inkheart (2003), Inkspell (2005), and Inkdeath (2007). The Thief Lord, Dragon Rider, and Inkheart have all been adapted into feature films and spent numerous weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list.
She is often referred to as the “German J. K. Rowling,” Funke was chosen by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in their 2005 list.
Born:10 December 1958, Dorsten, North Rhine-Westphalia
Spouce: Rolf Frahm ​(m. 1979; died 2006)
Notable works:The Thief Lord, Dragon Rider, Inkheart trilogy

10. Angela Dorothea Merkel

famous German women

OK. We had to include her because we are ALL going to miss her! The soon to be retiring Angela Merkel, was the president of the German Christian Democratic Union party since 2000 and Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany since 2005, could not be absent from this list. Born in Hamburg on July 17, 1954, she lived in the former socialist Germany. 

Her political career began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, when she was part of the cabinet as Minister for Women and Youth and then the Environment between 1991 and 1998. She was unanimously elected as a candidate for the CDU-CSU coalition to the Foreign Ministry on May 30, 2005, thus becoming the first woman and the youngest person to assume a position of this magnitude in national history.

InfosAngela Dorothea Merkel
Famous for:Angela Merkel served as leader of the Opposition from 2002 to 2005 and as Leader of the CDU from 2000 to 2018. She was the first female chancellor of Germany.
During her tenure as Chancellor, Merkel was frequently referred to as the de facto leader of the European Union and the most powerful woman in the world.
Born:July 17, 1954 (age 67), Hamburg
Occupation:German Chancellor
Spouce: Joachim Sauer (married 1998), Ulrich Merkel (married 1977–1982)
Education:Academy of Sciences of the GDR (1986) , University of Leipzig (1973-1978)
Siblings: Irene Kasner , Marcus Kasner
Notable: • Is the first foreign head of government to speak in front of the Israeli parliament
• Received the Charlemagne Prize for her contribution to overcoming the euro crisis and for her commitment to deepening European integration


Michelle Halterman
Michelle Halterman
USA, China, South Africa and now Munich - Michelle has come a long way in the world. She is an outdoor person and loves to be in nature with friends and on her mountain bike. Or she meets up with friends for pasta, vino, cappaccino & Co.


  1. This page really needs some editing.
    Under Merkel the info is a duplication of Funke’s Bio. Under Noether, Kollwitz and Luxemburg the pronoun switches from female to male.

    • Thanks for informing us about the editing error! We appreciate it! We are always striving to make sure that we publish clean and readable content from our contributors.

      Enjoy your holidays!

      We look forward to more of your comments!


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