A Louis Vuitton "Secretaire" trunk, France, circa 1920

A Louis Vuitton "Secretaire" trunk, France, circa 1920


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One of the rarest of Louis Vuitton trunks in circulation is the “secretaire“ trunk (or desk trunk). This is a superb example which belonged to Baroness Frieda Von Seidlitz. Frieda Seidlitz was a saleswoman by profession. In 1931 she became a member of the KPD (Communist Party of Germany). She was the fiancée of Martin Weise, a resistance fighter. In April 1933 she was arrested for her resistance to National Socialism. After the release she fled to Czechoslovakia. As a courier of the KPD foreign leadership, she returned to Germany and became a member of the illegal area leadership of the Red Aid in Berlin-Brandenburg. She worked in direct cooperation with Fritz Hodel (1889-1966), who previously led the sub-district of the Red Aid in Weißensee and then took over the leadership of the district of North Berlin . Together they organized the escape of 40 to 50 endangered resistance fighters. Frieda Seidlitz lived "illegally" in Berlin and held a key position within the resistance movement of the Red Aid. She was both the materials courier between the four districts of Berlin and the crucial link to the technical department around Max Treder and Charlotte Gerbeit .Arrested by the Gestapo in April 1936 , she committed suicide on the 27th May 1936, because of ill-treatment suffered during interrogations, so as not to jeopardize other "co-conspirators."

It would be an understatement to say that this trunk carries within it a wonderful story of courage, resilience and determination of a woman with a real sense of duty to her cause. One can only imagine the letters that would have been written on its pullout desk. It is therefore not only a superb piece of craftsmanship by one of the world’s leaders in trunk making but also a lovely conversation piece with an important story of social history which must not be forgotten.

Condition: handles are frail, probably would no longer take the weight of the trunk, otherwise normal wear consistent with age

Dimensions: 115cm high, 57cm wide, 52cm deep