Born in Berlin, Melita Maschmann (1918-2010) attended boarding school in Thuringia. She joined the BDM (Bund Deutscher Mädel, the Girls’ Section of the Hitler Youth) secretly in 1933 against the wishes of her parents who were conservative and nationalist, but not national-socialist. She worked for the Labor Service in East Prussia (1936-37), then as a journalist for the press section of the BDM (1937-41) in Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and in the Wartheland (German-occupied Poland). She was in charge of women’s Labor Service camps in Poland and Germany (1941-43) and responsible for the BDM’s press and propaganda division in Berlin (1943-45). She did war work, including preparation for “Werewolf” (S.S. sabotage) activities (1945) before the US Army captured her in Austria in July 1945 with a clandestine group manufacturing false documents for “comrades”. She was interned in the “Frauenlager 77” (internment camp for women) near Ludwigsburg, and later in Darmstadt until 1948. Denazification authorities considered her a “follower” (“indoctrinated” and too young to be fully responsible); Maschmann finally broke with National Socialism only in the 1950s.
After her release, Maschmann wrote for the Darmstädter Echo and the Frankfurter Rundschau. She travelled to Afghanistan and India in 1962-63 and moved permanently to India shortly thereafter, becoming a follower of Guru Sri Anandamayi Ma. In India, Maschmann lived mainly in her ashrams, and after Sri Anandamayi Ma’s death in 1982, worked in institutions for children. She returned to Darmstadt in 1998 due to Alzheimer’s disease and died in a retirement home. She was never married and had no children.
Account Rendered was first published in 1963 as Fazit: Kein Rechtfertigungsversuch (No attempt at justification), translated into several languages, and republished seven times in Germany where it became a required high school text. Maschmann also wrote fiction (Die Aschenspur, Der Dreizehnte, Das Wort Hiess Liebe) and books about Sri Anandamayi Ma and India (Der Tiger singt Kirtana, Indiras Schwestern, Eine ganz gewöhnliche Heilige).
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