Famous German Women

Traditionally women in Germany were not expected—and allowed—to do anything outside of their domestic responsibilities. A German woman was expected to be a wife and mother who could cook and take care of her family. But when a few brave ladies ventured to break free of these shackles did Germany realize how much intelligence and talents these women possessed! Browse on to discover many more fascinating details about the famous women of Germany.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel
29
Famous As: Chancellor of Germany
Birthdate: July 17, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany

The current chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel is widely described as the world's most powerful woman. Also considered the de facto leader of the European Union (EU), Angela Merkel has played an important role in strengthening international trade agreements. In 2020, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.

 2 Heidi Klum

Heidi Klum
14
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: June 1, 1973
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bergisch Gladbach, Germany

German-American model and TV host, Heidi Klum has been featured on the cover of French, Portuguese, German, and Spanish Vogue magazines. She was the first German model to become a Victoria's Secret Angel. After a successful modeling career, she became a TV host in the 2000s. She is actively involved in philanthropic endeavors. 

 3 Steffi Graf

Steffi Graf
5
Famous As: Tennis player
Birthdate: June 14, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mannheim, Germany
Known for her footwork and forehand drive, former world number one tennis star Steffi Graf has won 22 Grand Slam titles, the third all-time record. She became the first player to win four Grand Slams and the Olympic gold in a year. She is married to fellow player Andre Agassi.
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 4 Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich
7
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 27, 1901
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany
Died: May 6, 1992
Marlene Dietrich initially performed on stage in Berlin and then shot to fame with The Blue Angel. She continued to rule Hollywood with films such as Morocco, Desire, and Shanghai Express. She helped German and French exiles during World War II. Openly bisexual, she was famous for her androgynous image.

 5 Claudia Schiffer

Claudia Schiffer
1
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: August 25, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rheinberg, Germany
In 2020, Claudia Schiffer stunned fans with an Instagram picture in a lacy blue gown on her 50th birthday, looking not any less desirable than a 20-something. The German model had earlier soared to fame as the face of Chanel and has graced the cover of American Vogue 16 times.

 6 Anne Frank

Anne Frank
21
Famous As: Diarist
Birthdate: June 12, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: March 12, 1945

One of the numerous Jewish victims of the Holocaust, Anne Frank gained recognition posthumously after her diary Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl was published. The diary, which has been widely read and translated into numerous other languages, details the lives of Anne Frank and her family when they went into hiding for two years, after Germany occupied Netherlands.

 7 Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen
0
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: November 30, 1098
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bermersheim vor der Höhe, Germany
Died: September 17, 1179

Hildegard of Bingen was a German writer, composer, Christian mystic, visionary, philosopher, polymath, and Benedictine abbess of the High Middle Ages. Apart from being the most-recorded composers of sacred monophony in modern history, Hildegard of Bingen is also widely regarded as the founder of scientific natural history.

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 8 Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 14, 1906
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Linden - Mitte, Hanover, Germany
Died: December 4, 1975

Hannah Arendt was a political theorist. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most prominent political thinkers, Hannah Arendt's articles and books have had a significant influence on philosophy and political theory. Her life and work inspired the 2012 biographical drama film, Hannah Arendt. Her work has also inspired several biographies written by popular authors.

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 9 Diane Kruger

Diane Kruger
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 15, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Algermissen, Germany

An aspiring ballerina, Diane Kruger, turned towards modelling after an injury and eventually made her way into the world of acting. The German-American actress bagged limelight with the movie Troy and later cemented her position with an acclaimed film performance in Inglourious Basterds. Her other notable works include drama series The Bridge and movies National Treasure and In the Fade.

 10 Nicole Brown Simpson

Nicole Brown Simpson
11
Famous As: Murdered Wife of O. J. Simpson
Birthdate: May 19, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: June 12, 1994

Nicole Brown Simpson was the ex-wife of O. J. Simpson. Her murder led to one of the most famous criminal trials of all time, the O. J. Simpson murder case. After her murder, The Nicole Brown Charitable Foundation was established in her memory. Her story inspired several movies, such as the 1995 TV movie The O. J. Simpson Story.

 11 Eva Braun

Eva Braun
19
Birthdate: February 6, 1912
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: April 30, 1945
Eva Braun was a long-time companion of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. She was previously Nazi photographer Heinrich Hoffman’s assistant. Hitler and Eva got married just 40 hours before committing suicide together. Eva apparently ingested cyanide, while Hitler shot himself, at the Führerbunker, as the Red Army marched into Berlin.

 12 Zazie Beetz

Zazie Beetz
12
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 25, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mitte, Berlin, Germany

German-American actress, Zazie Beetz, is best known for her role in the FX comedy-drama series Atlanta. She became interested in acting while in high school and appeared in many community theater productions. She began her career with small roles in short films and established herself as a popular TV actress in a few years.

 13 Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves
1
Famous As: Queen of England (1540)
Birthdate: September 22, 1515
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Germany
Died: July 16, 1557

Anne of Cleves was the Queen of England for 6 months in 1540, as the fourth wife of King Henry VIII. Their unconsummated marriage deprived led to the annulment of the marriage, following which she received a settlement and came to be known as the King's Beloved Sister.

 14 Pia Wurtzbach

Pia Wurtzbach
9
Famous As: Model, Actress
Birthdate: September 24, 1989
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stuttgart, Germany

Pia Wurtzbach is a Filipino-German beauty queen who participated in the 64th Miss Universe pageant where she was crowned Miss Universe 2015. Wurtzbach is also a model, actress, and TV personality; she had to quit her showbusiness career temporarily to participate in the beauty pageant. She is also an advocate for gender equality and works towards raising awareness of HIV.

 15 Alexandra Feodorovna

Alexandra Feodorovna
1
Famous As: Empress consort of Russia (1894-1917), Saint
Birthdate: June 6, 1872
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Darmstadt, Germany
Died: July 17, 1918

Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Emperor Nicholas II, was the last Russian tsarina and reigned from 1894 to 1917. She suffered from hemophilia. Alexandra and her entire family were murdered by the Bolshevik revolutionaries. In 2000, the Russian Orthodox Church canonized her as Saint Alexandra the Passion Bearer.

 16 Empress Elisabeth of Austria

Empress Elisabeth of Austria
2
Famous As: Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary
Birthdate: December 24, 1837
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: September 10, 1898

Empress Elisabeth of Austria was Queen of Hungary and Empress of Austria from 1854 to 1898, making her the longest-reigning Austrian empress. Often visiting Hungary for its relaxed environment, Elisabeth developed a deep kinship with Hungary, which in turn helped her influence the rise of the dual monarchy of Austria–Hungary in 1867.

 17 Maria Theresa

Maria Theresa
4
Famous As: Holy Roman Empress (1745-1765)
Birthdate: May 13, 1717
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: November 29, 1780

The mother of 16 children, Maria Theresa was the only female monarch of the Habsburg empire which she ruled with absolute power. She was known for industrial and educational reforms which led to the development of Austria during her 40-year reign. The devout Roman Catholic, who overtly disliked Jews and the Protestants, was sometimes criticized for her religious intolerance.

 

 18 Anneliese Michel

Anneliese Michel
2
Famous As: Supposed demonic possession
Birthdate: September 21, 1952
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Leiblfing, Germany
Died: July 1, 1976

 19 Audra McDonald

Audra McDonald
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 3, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany

Audra McDonald is a singer and actress primarily known for her work on the Broadway stage. She has appeared in multiple musicals, operas, and dramas and is the recipient of six Tony Awards. She is a classically trained soprano and has performed with the Los Angeles Opera. She has also acted in many TV shows and films. 

 20 Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber
6
Famous As: Tennis player
Birthdate: January 18, 1988
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bremen, Germany

Winning her first Grand Slam at 28, Angelique Kerber is an example of a talented later bloomer in tennis. The former World No. 1 German player is known for her defensive tactics, speed, and footwork. She blamed a 2-week COVID-related quarantine for her loss at the 2021 Australian Open.

 21 Nico

Nico
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: July 18, 1988

Nico was a German musician, singer, and songwriter. Her work continues to serve as an inspiration to several musicians like Björk, Morrissey, and the English rock band The Cure. In 2017, Susanna Nicchiarelli directed Nico's biographical film titled Nico, 1988. Also an actress, Nico appeared in many films, including Andy Warhol's experimental underground film Chelsea Girls.

 22 Juliane Koepcke

Juliane Koepcke
3
Famous As: Lone Survivor of 1971 LANSA Plane Crash
Birthdate: October 10, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lima, Peru
Juliane Koepcke is a German Peruvian mammalogist. She is well-known for being the only survivor of the Líneas Aéreas Nacionales S.A. Flight 508 plane crash; she survived ten days in the Amazon rainforest after surviving a fall of 9843 feet while strapped to her airplane seat. Her story inspired films like Miracles Still Happen (1974) and Wings of Hope (1998).

 23 Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen
2
Famous As: President of the European Commission (since Dec 2019)
Birthdate: October 8, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ixelles, Belgium
Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen is currently serving as the first president of the European Commission. Named to Time 100 in 2020, she has previously been the first female defense minister of Germany, and has held positions such as the deputy leader of the CDU and the minister of labor.

 24 Victoria, Princess Royal

Victoria, Princess Royal
1
Famous As: German Empress and Queen of Prussia (1888)
Birthdate: November 21, 1840
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 5, 1901

Victoria, Princess Royal was the Queen of Prussia and German Empress from 9 March 1888 to 15 June 1888. Victoria, Princess Royal had an opportunity to influence the German Empire's policy, but the death of her husband German Emperor Frederick III, just 99 days after his accession, ruined her opportunity. Victoria has been portrayed in several movies and TV series.

 25 Katarina Witt

Katarina Witt
3
Famous As: Figure skater
Birthdate: December 3, 1965
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Staaken, Berlin, Germany

 26 Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
2
Famous As: Princess
Birthdate: August 17, 1786
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Coburg, Germany
Died: March 16, 1861

Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, mother of Queen Victoria of the U.K., was a German princess who became the Duchess of Kent and Strathearn by virtue of her marriage to Prince Edward. She was initially married to Charles, Prince of Leiningen. The Royal Chapel of All Saints was dedicated to her.

 27 Sophie Scholl

Sophie Scholl
4
Famous As: Anti-Nazi Activist
Birthdate: May 9, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Forchtenberg, Germany
Died: February 22, 1943

Sophie Scholl was a German anti-Nazi political activist who was involved with a non-violent resistance group called White Rose. Scholl was executed by guillotine at the age of 21 for distributing anti-war leaflets. Since her death, Sophie Scholl has been viewed as an iconic figure. Her life and work have inspired several films, including Sophie Scholl – The Final Days.

 28 Franka Potente

Franka Potente
1
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 22, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Münster, Germany

Franka Potente is a German actress who took the entertainment world by storm with her performance in her debut film, After Five in the Forest Primeval, for which she won a Bavarian Film Award for Best Young Actress. After establishing herself in her native country, she moved on to Hollywood, appearing in multiple popular films. 

 29 Empress Matilda

Empress Matilda
0
Famous As: Holy Roman Empress (1114-1125)
Birthdate: February 7, 1102
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sutton Courtenay, England
Died: September 10, 1167

Empress Matilda was the daughter of King Henry I of England and one of the claimants to the throne of England during the 'Anarchy'. Her participation in the civil war and tales of bravery have been the subject of historical fiction. She has also been depicted in films, stage shows, and TV series.

 30 Sibel Kekilli

Sibel Kekilli
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 16, 1980
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Heilbronn, Germany

Two-time Lola Award-winning German actor Sibel Kekilli is best known to international audiences as Shae from the iconic HBO series Game of Thrones. The Turkish-origin actor took up many odd jobs, working as a porn actor and a waitress, before stepping into mainstream movies and tasting success with Head-On.

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 31 Emmy Noether

Emmy Noether
0
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: March 23, 1882
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Erlangen, Bavaria, Germany
Died: April 14, 1935

Emmy Noether was a German mathematician best remembered for her contributions to abstract algebra. She is credited with discovering Noether's theorem, which is regarded as a fundamental theorem in mathematical physics. One of the most important mathematicians of her generation and the most important woman in mathematics history, Emmy Noether developed theories of algebras, fields, and rings.

 32 Irma Grese

Irma Grese
7
Famous As: Nazi Guard
Birthdate: October 7, 1923
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Feldberger Seenlandschaft, Germany
Died: December 13, 1945

Irma Grese, or the Hyena of Auschwitz, served as an SS guard at the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Ravensbrück. She was also the warden of the ladies’ section of the Bergen-Belsen camp and ended up being convicted of torture and murder of prisoners. She was executed at 22.

 33 Elisabeth Rohm

Elisabeth Rohm
1
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 28, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Germany
Elisabeth Röhm is best known as Kate Lockley from Angel and as Serena Southerlyn from Law & Order. Fans also loved in movies such as American Hustle. She was named to Maxim’s Hot 100 in 2002 and was also a skilled horseback rider earlier but quit it after an accident.

 34 Romy Schneider

Romy Schneider
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 23, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: May 29, 1982

German-French actor Romy Schneider began her career with the Heimatfilm genre of films as a teenager. She appeared as Empress Elisabeth of Austria in the Austrian Sissi trilogy and in Ludwig. She is also remembered for her César Award-winning roles in Une histoire simple and L'important c'est d'aimer.

 35 Ilse Koch

Ilse Koch
7
Famous As: Nazi Concentration Camp Overseer
Birthdate: September 22, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dresden, Saxony, German Empire
Died: September 1, 1967
Ilse Koch was the wife of Karl-Otto Koch, the Nazi commandant of the Buchenwald and Majdanek concentration camps. Also known as Beast of Buchenwald, The Bitch of Buchenwald, and Butcher Widow, she was tried by the U.S. military for her sadistic abuse of war prisoners. She died of suicide.

 36 Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl
3
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 22, 1902
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 8, 2003

Leni Riefenstahl was a German film director and actress best remembered for her role in producing Nazi propaganda. She made her directorial debut in 1932, becoming one of the few women to direct a movie during the Weimar Period. Riefenstahl is credited with directing two of the most technically innovative propaganda films of all time, Olympia and Triumph des Willens.

 37 Kim Petras

Kim Petras
6
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: August 27, 1992
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany

Kim Petras is a German singer-songwriter currently based in USA. She was assigned male at birth and underwent medical gender transition as a teenager. Interested in music from a young age, she began recording music as a teenager. Her debut single topped several viral music charts on Spotify. Since then, she has released many hit albums and singles. 

 38 Magda Goebbels

Magda Goebbels
4
Famous As: Joseph Goebbels' Wife
Birthdate: November 11, 1901
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: May 1, 1945

Magda Goebbels was one of the most important members of the Nazi Party. Due to her closeness with Adolf Hitler, Goebbels is sometimes referred to as the unofficial first lady of Nazi Germany, although she was married to Joseph Goebbels. At the end of the Second World War, Joseph and Magda Goebbels killed their six children and committed suicide.

 39 Ruth Westheimer

Ruth Westheimer
10
Famous As: Media Personality
Birthdate: June 4, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Karlstadt am Main, Germany
German-American sex therapist Ruth Westheimer, also known as Dr. Ruth, soared to fame with the radio show Sexually Speaking and later hosted many sexuality-related shows and wrote many books, too. She is also an ethnographer and a Holocaust survivor. Her life inspired the documentary Ask Dr. Ruth.

 40 Brittney Powell

Brittney Powell
1
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Würzburg, Germany
Best known for her relationship with the late pint-sized actor Verne Troyer of Austin Powers fame, Brittney Powell gained popularity with Celebrity Wife-Swap. She has also appeared in single-episode or cameo roles in a number of series, such as Friends and Titans. She has a son from a previous marriage.

 41 Sabine Schmitz

Sabine Schmitz
8
Famous As: Racecar driver
Birthdate: May 14, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Adenau, Germany

 42 Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine

Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine
0
Famous As: Princess
Birthdate: April 5, 1863
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, England
Died: September 24, 1950

 43 Lena Meyer-Landrut

Lena Meyer-Landrut
2
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 3, 1991
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany

Lena Meyer-Landrut is a German singer-songwriter who rose to fame after participating in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010. Her debut album peaked at No.1 in Germany and was accredited Platinum. She has since released many hit albums and singles. Besides singing, she has also served as a coach on five seasons of the reality TV series The Voice Kids.  

 44 Florence Kasumba

Florence Kasumba
0
Birthdate: October 26, 1976
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kampala, Uganda

Ugandan-born German actor Florence Kasumba is best known as Ayo from the Marvel films. Apart from voicing Shenzi in the 2019 version of The Lion King, she has also appeared in Wonder Woman. The multilingual actor was first inspired to join the entertainment industry after watching a musical at 12.

 45 Toni Garrn

Toni Garrn
2
Famous As: Model, Actress
Birthdate: July 7, 1992
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
German model/actor Toni Garrn gained recognition after signing with Calvin Klein and then modeled for Victoria's Secret. She played Reeva Steenkamp in Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer and also appeared in Spider-Man: Far from Home. An avid philanthropist, she is associated with the Because I Am a Girl campaign.

 46 Heike Makatsch

Heike Makatsch
1
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 13, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Germany

The daughter of former German ice-hockey player Rainer Makatsch, Heike Makatsch initially apprenticed as a dressmaker. She began her entertainment career hosting shows such as Interaktiv. She later appeared in movies such as Love Actually and Am I Beautiful? She also earned an Emmy nomination for Margarete Steiff.

 47 Caroline Herschel

Caroline Herschel
0
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: March 16, 1750
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany
Died: January 9, 1848

Caroline Herschel was a German astronomer who is credited with the discovery of many comets, such as 35P/Herschel-Rigollet, which is named in her honor. In 1828, Herschel became the first woman to be honored with a Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. She was also the first female scientist to receive a salary.

 48 Sheryl Lee

Sheryl Lee
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 22, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany

Sheryl Lee is a German-born American actress best known for her work in film, stage, and television. Lee is well-known for playing Madeline Ferguson and Laura Palmer in the cult TV series Twin Peaks. Sheryl Lee is also renowned for her philanthropic efforts and activism. She has participated in campaigns to raise awareness and money for breast cancer.

 49 Q'orianka Kilcher

Q'orianka Kilcher
1
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 11, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Schweigmatt, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Q'orianka Kilcher is an American actress, activist, and singer. She is best known for playing important characters in films like The New World and Princess Kaiulani. As an activist, Kilcher has been visiting universities and colleges and delivering speeches at organizations like Amnesty International. 

 50 Princess Feodora of Leiningen

Princess Feodora of Leiningen
0
Famous As: Princess
Birthdate: December 7, 1807
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Amorbach, Germany
Died: September 23, 1872

Hildegard of Bingen, a remarkable woman broke free of traditions way back in the 12th century when she became a writer and theologian—at a time when few women even knew how to read! Taking forward the legacy of her ancient counterpart, Mathilde Franziska Anneke, a 19th century woman writer founded the world’s first feminist newspaper. In the 20th century the status of women in Germany improved considerably after women won the right to vote. Elisabeth Schwarzhaupt became the first woman to hold a ministerial position in Germany when she took over the post of Federal Minister of Health in the German Cabinet in 1961. Today’s German woman is famous for her beauty, poise, confidence and intelligence that have made her successful in several hitherto male dominated spheres of life.