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Group of Perpetrators / Post-War Justice
 

Perpetrators

The perpetrators of the Novemberpogrom 1938 in Innsbruck were longtime, illegal NSDAP party members as well as SS-members. By command of Gauleiter Franz Hofer and SS-Oberführer Johann Feil, SS-Sturmbandführer Erwin Fleiss, SS-Hauptsturmführer Dr. Leopold Spann of the Gestapo Innsbruck, SS-Untersturmführer Dr. Adolf Franzelin of the police authority Innsbruck, SS-Untersturmführer Gustav Fast, SA-Brigadeführer Vinzenz Waidacher and Engineer Hermann Duxneuner, Plenipotentiary for Aryanisation, arranged groups in civilian clothes for a brutal crackdown on the Jewish population of Innsbruck.

Franz Hofer

 

Johann Feil

Gauleiter Franz Hofer (a)   SS-Oberführer Johann Feil (b)
  Dr. Leopold Spann  
SS-Hauptsturmführer Dr. Leopold Spann (bb)


In addition to the SS also different organizations of the National Socialists rioted in the Pogrom, amongst others members of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the National Socialist Motor Corps (NSKK) as well as the Hitler Youth (HJ).

Alois Schintlholzer

Alois Schintlholzer (c)
Gerhard Lausegger
Gerhard Lausegger (d)

 

 

  • The Gestapo supplied two men for each Jew as "protection". The 21 year-old Gestapo agent Ferdinand Obenfeldner was involved in the capture of Richard and Viktor Schwarz in Falkstrasse 19. Dr. Wilhelm Harster, chief of the Gestapo, prevented an exact investigation by the criminal investigation department as well as an autopsy of both murdered William Bauer and Richard Graubart. By his command the corpses were transferred to Munich and cremated there. Further, he placed an ultimatum to the entire Tyrolean Jewish population to move to Vienna until March 31st 1939 and to emigrate then.
Wilhelm Harster
SS-Gruppenführer Dr. Wilhelm Harster (e)

 

  • Dr. Egon Denz, mayor of Innsbruck and highest commander of the fire brigade, prevented an intervention of the fire brigade.

 

  • The President of Police in Innsbruck, SS-Untersturmführer Dr. Adolf Franzelin, gave order not to pay attention to calls of emergency in the pogrom night.

 

 




Post-War Justice

Not until after the war were some of the perpetrators of the Novemberpogrom 1938 in Innsbruck arrested and sentenced by the people´s court at the national court of Innsbruck:

  • Dr. Gerhard Lausegger, a native citizen of Klagenfurt and member of Innsbruck frat Suevia, was arrested by Frederik R. Benson - son of murdered Richard Berger - and the British military in Carinthia 1945. In March 1947 he could flee to Argentina, where he died in an accident in 1966.

 

  • In August 1946 Anton Haupt was sentenced to 6 years, Richard Dietrich and Alfred Gnesetti to 3 years in consequence of the excesses against the families Brüll und Diamand.

 

  • In October 1946 Hans Aichinger was sentenced to 13 years and Gottfried Andreaus to 12 years in prison, both had been engaged in the assassinations of Richard Graubart and Wilhelm Bauer.

    Gottfried Andreaus was paroled in 1951, because after his membership of the NSDAP he became an active resistance fighter and after the war he helped to trace the perpetrators of the Novemberpogrom 1938.

    Hans Aichinger was born in 1913 as son of an innkeeper family in Innsbruck. He attended the international college of hotel management in Vienna. He was a skiing instructor and together with his brother-in-law he managed the ski schools in St. Anton and St. Christoph/ Arlberg. On  August 5th, 1932 he joined the NSDAP and the SS, where he was promoted to the rank of an SS-Hauptsturmführer and bearer of the ring of skull and crossbones. There were many convinced National Socialists in his family like his father, his brother, his cousin and his brother–in-law. In April 1940 he married Herta Nissl, daughter of Richard Nissl, an owner of a brewery and a castle in Innsbruck. A few weeks after the sentence regarding his accompliceship in the pogrom night he fled to Argentina via Bozen, where he worked as a skiing instructor in San Carlos de Bariloche. In 1957 his prison sentence was reduced to three years. In 1959 he returned to Austria, where he gave himself up to the police and in 1961, after an amnesty, he was released from prison. He died in 1972 at the age of 59.


  • In November 1946 engineer Heinrich Huber was sentenced to 5 years, Otto Mohr to 3 years, Alfons Ullmann and Johann Schöpf to 2,5 years, Georg Weintraut to 15 months and Josef Girardi to 18 months. This perpetrator group assaulted and badly hurt members of the families Josef Adler and Flora Bauer . Further, they demolished the domiciles of the families Adler, Schwarz, Spindel and Bauer.

 

  • In 1947 Josef Ebner was sentenced to 1,5 years, August Hörhager and Alois Hochrainer  to 2 years, Hans Riedl  to 14 months, Karl Handl to 20 months, Hans Bayer to 14 months and Hermann Moser to 6 months. They deployed the gang against the families Schindler, Löwensohn, Schwarz, Schenkel, Meisel and Diamand.

 

  • In October 1947 Theodor Haller was sentenced to 6 years for throwing the married couple Popper into the river Sill.

 

  • Rudolf Schwarz (SS) and Robert Huttig ranked among the group of perpetrators against the families of Richard Graubart and Wilhelm Bauer. In December 1947 they were sentenced to 11 and 10 years. Both were paroled and were released from custody in November 1951.
  • In August 1948 Johann Mathoi (SA) was sentenced to 3,5 years in prison and Rudolf Mayerbrucker (NSKK) to 2,5 years. Both were proved guilty of passing on of the instructions for the pogrom during the roll call of the members of the SA- and NSKK at Bürgerstrasse 10. Besides, Mathoi was brought to account for the destruction of dwellings of the families Dubksy and Fuchs.

 

  • In December 1948 the chief of the Gestapo Werner Hilliges, a native of Berlin, was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour during the “Innsbrucker Reichenau trial ” because of crimes against the humanity and the assassination of Egon Dubsky in the labour camp Reichenau on June 2nd, 1943 . On December 3rd, 1955, he was paroled and released from custody. Together with his wife he committed suicide in 1956.

 

  • In September 1950 Gauhauptstellenleiter Walter Hopfgartner was condemned to 3 years, afterwards to 10 years because of maltreatment and high treason. He had been son of a master butcher and member of the NSDAP since his eighteenth year. Under the Christmas amnesty he was put on parole in December 1954.

 

  • Dr. Robert Duy was arrested in in Amsterdam in November 1945 but had to serve no detentions and later on lived as a German citizen in the Federal Republic of Germany.

 

  • Gauleiter Franz Hofer was born on November 27th, 1902 in Bad Hofgastein. He attended school in Innsbruck, became a merchant and had been a member of the NSDAP since 1931. On November 27th, 1932 he was promoted to Gauleiter of Tyrol and Vorarlberg. After the ban of NSDAP he was arrested in June 1933 and in August of the same year he was forcibly freed by SA men. Until the Anschluss he lived in Germany and acquired German citizenship. From May 24th, 1938 to May 3rd, 1945 he was Gauleiter of Tyrol and Vorarlberg, NSKK-Obergruppenführer (senior-group-leader) and Reichsstatthalter ("imperial lieutenant") of Tyrol-Vorarlberg. After his arrest by the US-Army on May 3rd, 1945 he escaped to Germany in October 1948. He was condemned to ten years labour camp with forfeiture of property by a Munich court. He accumulated a fortune, among other things a villa of the Jewish family Schindler at Rennweg 10 in Innsbruck (today´s Institute for biomedical research into ageing of the Austrian Academy of Siences) and the Lachhof in Kleinvolderberg near Hall in Tyrol. In August 1952 the punishment was lowered to three years and five months. An Austrian court sentenced Hofer to death in absentia in 1950, but the sentence was never carried out. The then governor of Tyrol, Alfons Weißgatterer, is said to have supported Hofer’s case. Hofer lived in Mülheim an der Ruhr with his wife and seven children, continued his former trade as a salesman and died a natural death on February 18th, 1975, under his real name. In 1964 an Austrian court dismissed a lawsuit put forth by the children of Hofer for the return of the Lachhof. (1)

 

  • SS-Oberführer Johann Feil - the real commander of the pogrom - was a native Upper-Austrian, NSDAP-member since 1932 and a high-ranking SS-officer till the end of war. He fled to Argentina assisted by Catholic bishop Alois Hudal, a native citizen of Graz and died in Mittenwald / Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany in 1956.

    Bishop Alois Hudal had been principal of the Collegio Teutonico di Santa Maria dell´Anima (German National Church) in Rome since 1923 and thus the supreme priest for the German expatriates. The college of priests and the Papal Ancillary Commission for Refugees (Assistenza Austriaca), which was founded by Hudal, were situated in Via della Pace 20 and this is where many National Socialist refugees found shelter. Hudal helped them to get valid passports and thus enabled their escape to South America.

 

  • SS-Sturmbannführer Alois Schintlholzer, native of Innsbruck, notorious pugilist and member of the German gymnastics association and of the NSDAP since 1932 was condemned to life imprisonment in absence twice by Italian law in consequence of contribution in a retaliation of the Waffen-SS, in which the village Caviola was burned to the ground and 40 humans were murdered. He lived in Bielefeld, Germany, under his own name and was in custody from April 1961 to March 1962 before the proceedings were abandoned. He died in 1989 and was buried in Innsbruck. In the announcement of death the motto of the SS "My Honor is Loyalty" was changed in "His Honor was Loyalty". His daughter Eva Schintlholzer-Barrows dissociated herself from this. (2)

 

  • Erwin Fleiss, an office clerk of Innsbruck, member of the NSDAP and SS since 1931, joined the services in January 1942 and untill the end of war he was a high-ranking second lieutenant. He died in Argentina in October 1964.

 

  • SA Standartenführer Vinzenz Waidacher fell in battle in October 1941.

 

  • SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Leopold Spann, chief of the Gestapo Innsbruck between 1939 and 1940, and of the Gestapo Saarbrücken between 1943 and 1944, died in an air raid on Linz on April 25th, 1945. (3)

 

  • After the repeal of war criminal law Walter Sauerwein reported to the public prosecution in February 1958. His proceedings were stopped in December 1958. Before that he worked as an architect in Köln-Braunfeld.

 

  • SS-Gruppenführer and lieutenant-general Dr. Wilhelm Harster, born in 1904 in Kehlheim in Bavaria, finished a law degree in Munich, joined the NSDAP in May 1933 and had been a member of the SS since August 1934. From March 1938 he built up the Gestapo in Innsbruck and was leader of the State Police Reginal Office until November 1939. In July 1940 he became Commander of the Security Police and SD in Netherlands and from August 1943 to May 1945 he was Commander in Verona, Italy. In March 1949 he was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by a Dutch court in The Hague and released from prison in 1953. In 1956 he became a Civil servant (first Regierungsrat, eventually Oberregierungsrat) in the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior. After the imprisonment of SS-Hauptsturmführer Erich Rajakovic, a former collaborator of Harster in 1963, civil servant Dr. Wilhelm Harster had to retire and was arrested in 1966. Finally, in February 1967 a German court in Munich sentenced him to 15 years for organizing and participating in the deportation and complicity in the murder of Italian and Dutch Jews , among them Anne Frank. After two years in prison he was paroled. He died in Munich in December 25, 1991. (4, 5, 6)

 

  • As Gestapo agent Ferdinand Obenfeldner was involved in the capture of badly injured Richard Schwarz and his 16 year-old son Viktor in Falkstrasse 19. He grew up in Innsbruck and finished a commercial apprenticeship. In 1934 he became a member of the "Revolutionary Socialists", in 1939 he joined the NSDAP and SS. During the war years he served in the 5th Gebirgsdivision of the Wehrmacht. After war captivity he returned to Innsbruck in August 1945. Within the denazification he was paroled as a "lesser offender" in August 13th, 1947. Afterwards he began his political career as a Socialist Party member in the local council Innsbruck as well as in the Tyrolean Landtag. He was director of the Tyrolean Health Insurance (TGKK) and vice-mayor of Innsbruck for 23 years. (7)


 

update 15.11.2013

 

 
Literature: Martin Achrainer

- Zum Umgang mit den NationalsozialistInnen in Tirol nach 1945, in: Verein zur Förderung justizgeschichtlicher Forschungen und Verein zur Erforschung nationalsozialistischer Gewaltverbrechen und ihrer Aufarbeitung (Hg.), "Justiz und Erinnerung Nr.10", Mai 2005, S11-14

Thomas Albrich / Michael Guggenberger

- "Nur selten steht einer dieser Novemberverbrecher vor Gericht" - Die strafrechtliche Verfolgung der Täter der so genannten "Reichskristallnacht" in Österreich, Holocaust und Kriegsverbrechen vor Gericht - Der Fall Österreich, StudienVerlag 2006, S 26-56

- Ing. Robert Schüller: "Ich war, bin und bleibe ein Nationalsozialist", in: Wir lebten wie sie... - Jüdische Lebensgeschichten aus Tirol und Vorarlberg, Haymon Verlag 1999

Christoph W. Bauer

- Graubart Boulevard, Haymon Verlag Innsbruck-Wien 2008

- Im Alphabet der Häuser - Roman einer Stadt, Haymon Verlag Innsbruck-Wien 2007, S 263-297

Johannes Breit

- Das Arbeitserziehungslager Innsbruck-Reichenau und die Nachkriegsjustiz, Maturafachbereichsarbeit Juni 2007, S 41, 48-50

Burgl Czeitschner / Hubertus Czernin / Ernst Schmiederer

- Einige Sekunden blieb alles still / Novemberpogrom in der "Ostmark", seine Täter, ihre Opfer, profil Nr. 45, 7. November 1988, S 62 ff

Michael Gehler

- Murder on Command - The Anti-Jewish Pogrom in Innsbruck - 9th-10th November 1938,  Year Book XXXVIII, Leo Baeck Institute. 1993, S. 119-153

Andreas Hauser

- Die Akte Hofer: "Ich bleibe Nationalsozialist", Echo 07-08/2008, S 66

Gretl Köfler

- Die "Reichskristallnacht" in: Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes (Hg.) - Widerstand und Verfolgung in Tirol 1934 bis 1945 - Österreichischer Bundesverlag Wien 1984, Band 1, S 448-462

Herbert Lackner

- Die Hakenkreuzfahrer, profil 33, 11.08.2008, S 28-35

Christian Mathies

- "Immer auf der Seite der Demokratie?" - Überlegungen zur Kontroverse um die NS-Vergangenheit von Ferdinand Obenfeldners, Gaismair-Jahrbuch 2008 - Auf der Spur, StudienVerlag 2007, S 42-50

 

Wolfgang Meixner

- "Arisierung" - die "Entjudung" der Wirtschaft im Gau Tirol-Vorarlberg, Tirol und Vorarlberg in der NS-Zeit,StudienVerlag 2002, S 319-340

Sonja Niederbrunner

- "Das Gefühl der Schuld wird mich begleiten", Er war Leiter der Gestapo in Innsbruck, ein hochrangiger Nazi in den Niederlanden und in Italien - und Oberregierungsrat im bayerischen Innenministerium. Wilhelm Harster stand zwei Mal vor Gericht - er bereute, Echo, Nr.101, Ausgabe 11/2007, S. 48-49

Horst Schreiber

- "Werner Hilliges: Leiter der Gestapo Innsbruck", in: Nationalsozialismus und Faschismus in Tirol und Südtirol - Opfer . Täter . Gegner, Tiroler Studien zu Geschichte und Politik, Michael-Gaismair-Gesellschaft, StudienVerlag 2008, S 207-208

- Franz Hofer: Gauleiter und Reichsstatthalter von Tirol-Vorarlberg, in: Nationalsozialismus und Faschismus in Tirol und Südtirol - Opfer . Täter . Gegner, Tiroler Studien zu Geschichte und Politik, Michael-Gaismair-Gesellschaft, StudienVerlag 2008, S 86-88

Gad Hugo Sella

- Die Juden Tirols - Ihr Leben und Schicksal, Israel 1979

Gerald Steinacher

- Nazis auf der Flucht - Wie Kriegsverbrecher über Italien nach Übersee entkamen, StudienVerlag 2008, S 39 ff, 50, 78-80, 171, 265 ff , 291, 296

 

Picture credits: (a) http://presentations.uib.no/pls/portal/NAFA.X_TABELL_829_56_3.show

(b) Private ownership © Wolfgang Feil

(bb) Federal Archives Berlin / http://www.flugzeugabstuerze-saarland.de/Bushell_Scheidhauer.pdf

(c) profil Nr. 45 - 7. November 1988, S 73

(d) © DOEW

(e) http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=1629

 

Reference: (1) Neueste Zeitung 1938, Nr. 257, Freitag 11.11.1938, 26. Jg. - Stadtarchiv Innsbruck

(2) http://www.schnitzler-aachen.de/Surftipps/2000_06.htm

(3) http://www.historyinfilm.com/escape/real9.htm

(4) Christian Ritz - http://historiker-in-muenchen.com/pageID_4835828.html

(5) http://www.cine-holocaust.de/cgi-bin/gdq?efw00fbw002552.gd

(6) http://www.powcamp.fsnet.co.uk/SS-Gruppenf%FChrer_und_Generalleutnant_der_Polizei_Dr_jur_Wilhelm_Harster.htm

(7) Wolfgang Neugebaur, Peter Schwarz (Hg.) < Der Wille zum aufrechten Gang - Offenlegung der Rolle des BSA bei der gesellschaftlichen Reintegration ehemaliger Nationalsozialisten > Czernin Verlag Wien 2005, S. 151-160

 

Tiroler Tageszeitung 1946, Nr. 237 - S 3, Nr. 238 - S 5 - Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum

Tiroler Neue Zeitung 1946, Nr. 202 - S 3 - Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum

Tiroler Tageszeitung 1990, Nr. 151, S 4 - Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum

Der Standard 1990, Nr. 493, S 5 - Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alois_Hudal

 

Translation: Gerhard Buzas
 

 

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