Oswald EBERHARDT was born in the north German city of Bremen on May 7, 1918 and was baptized in the Evangelical Church. His mother was Elsa Eberhardt.
We know only a little about his life: Oswald EBERHARDT was a panel beater in a car workshop in Bremen and married Maria Huemer from Innsbruck on July 20, 1938. The couple had a child and lived at 19 Höttingergasse in Innsbruck after September 1939 – that is since the start of WWII.
It is also documented that in 1941 Oswald EBERHARDT was a soldier in the 137th Mountain Infantry Replacement Regiment stationed in the Glasenbach barracks just south of Salzburg and that for some unknown reasons he abandoned his military service.
A previously unnoticed document of the Nazi military justice system provides information about his violent end: The death penalty imposed on the 23-year-old Oswald EBERHARDT by a court martial of Division 188 for »desertion« was carried out on July 7, 1941 at the military shooting range in Glanegg near Salzburg.
It can be assumed that his body was buried anonymously in the municipal cemetery of the city of Salzburg.
Maria Eberhardt, his widow in Innsbruck, survived the terror years. But as the widow of a deserter from the German Wehrmacht deserter she was denied the possibility of getting any compensation as a victim of Nazi Germany.
The hanging judge who pronounced his death sentence »in the name of the German people« remains unknown because the courts-martial were able to destroy a large part of their files – leaving no traces of the perpetrators.
Oswald EBERHARDT is just one of the many victims of wartime »justice« who don’t appear in either the book on Resistance and Persecution in Salzburg 1934-1945 published in 1991 or in the victim database of the Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance.
It took many decades before the deserters from the German Wehrmacht were rehabilitated by the repeal and rehabilitation law of the Austrian National Council that came into force on December 1, 2009.
- Court-Martial of the 188th Division 188: Report to the Wehrmacht Information Office
- Bremen City Archives: Registration data
- Innsbruck City Archives: Registration data
Translation: Stan Nadel
Laid 13.09.2023 at Salzburg, Kajetanerplatz 2