Erich_Maria_RemarqueErich Remarque (born Remark) was born to working-class parents in Osnabrück, Germany and began writing in his teenage years. After sustaining severe injuries in WWI, he took odd jobs and did not resume writing for nearly ten years.  

But he could not forget his experience in the war. And in 1927, Remarque wrote Im Westen Nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front). Its simple emotive language described the horrors of war and had a staunch anti-military message. When published in 1929, it became his best known novel and was made into a classic Hollywood film the following year.

But the film's anti-war sentiment was contrary to Nazi ideology, and forced Remarque to leave Germany in 1931. He first settled in Switzerland and in 1939, moved to the U.S. where he lived until 1948. Remarque lived in Los Angeles, CA from 1939-1942. He then returned to Switzerland in 1948, and lived there until his death in 1970. 

In 1943 the Nazis arrested Remarque’s sister Elfriede Scholz, who had stayed behind in Germany with her husband and two children. After a short trial in the “Volksgerichtshof” (Hitler's extra-constitutional “People's Court”) she was found guilty of “undermining morale” when she remarked that the war was lost.

Evidence supports the belief that this verdict and her death sentence were issued to punish her brother: Court President Roland Freisler declared, "Ihr Bruder ist uns leider entwischt - Sie aber werden uns nicht entwischen" ("the brother has unfortunately escaped us - she, however, will not escape us").

Elfriede Scholz was decapitated by axe on 16 December 1943.