Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Litzi Friedmann

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Name  Litzi Friedmann
Children  Barbara Honigmann
Spouse  Kim Philby (m. 1934–1946)
Role  Kim Philby's ex-wife

Litzi Friedmann spartacuseducationalcom00litzi2jpg
Similar People  Kim Philby, Barbara Honigmann, Rufina Ivanovna Pukhova, St John Philby

Marriage location  Vienna, Austria

Litzi Friedmann, born Alice Kohlmann (1910–1991), was an Austrian Communist of Jewish origins who was the first wife of Kim Philby, a member of the Cambridge Five.


Early life

Friedmann was born in Vienna to Israel and Gisella Kohlman in 1910.

In 1931 Kohlmann married Karl Friedmann. They divorced one year later.

Political activity

Still living in Vienna, Friedmann joined the Communist Party and worked for the Moscow-led European underground. She was imprisoned for several weeks in 1933. Friedmann had a wide network of Communist connections across Europe, including to Soviet intelligence. She was also in a romantic relationship with Gábor Péter (Benjámin Eisenberger), who was then married to another woman.

In February 1934, the Dollfuss government began a further crackdown on known leftists. Working with Kim Philby, Friedmann smuggled activists out of Vienna through the sewer system.

The two married in Vienna on 24 February, partly so Philby's British citizenship could protect Friedmann from the Austrian police. According to some sources, Teddy Kollek was present at the wedding.

In 1934, the Socialist movement collapsed, and the couple left Vienna for London in April to live with Philby's mother. Friedmann had a friend in London who was working for Soviet intelligence, the photographer and fellow Viennese Edith Tudor-Hart. One biographer of Philby, Genrikh Borovik, who had access to the Soviet archives, says that Tudor-Hart recommended Friedmann and Philby as suitable candidates for NKVD recruitment.

Friedmann and Philby split up in the 1930s – some sources claim that Philby had to distance himself from known communists to penetrate the British establishment. However, they remained in contact for years afterwards and divorced only in 1946.

In 1946, after the war, Friedmann and the German-Jewish refugee Georg Honigmann went to live in East Berlin, where Honigmann became editor of the Berliner Zeitung.

Death and legacy

Friedmann died in 1991. Barbara Honigmann has written a biography of Friedmann.


Litzi Friedmann Wikipedia