Beyond Tears: A Mother's Fight to Save Her Son in Nazi Germany, first published in 1940, is the heart-wrenching story of Irmgard Litten about her son, Hans, an anti-Nazi lawyer who was arrested in 1933 (and never charged or tried in court). Hans spent the next 5 years in prisons and concentration camps, undergoing numerous interrogation and torture sessions at the hands of his captors, before finally committing suicide. He was 34 at the time of his death. His mother made an untiring effort to learn of her son's condition and to secure his release but to no avail. She recounts her journey in Beyond Tears, which remains an incredibly moving, heroic story.
Of historical interest is that Hans Litten represented opponents of the Nazis at political trials between 1929 and 1932. During one trial in 1931, Litten subpoenaed Adolf Hitler to appear as a witness; Litten then cross-examined Hitler for three hours. By the end, Hitler was so shaken by the experience that, even years later, he would not allow Litten's name to be mentioned in his presence. In retaliation, Litten was arrested on the night of the Reichstag Fire where he would spend the next 5 years imprisoned until his untimely death at Dachau concentration camp. In 2011 Litten was portrayed in a BBC broadcast titled The Man Who Crossed Hitler, set in Berlin in summer 1931.