Josef GEER was born in Maxglan (part of the city of Salzburg since 1935), on March 12, 1887. He was a Protestant and the son of Maria and Peter Geer, both servants who died young.
In 1903 his older brother Peter emigrated to the US, where he married, had two daughters and became a citizen in 1917.
Josef remained unmarried and was an unskilled laborer who often changed workplaces in Salzburg. His last residence was as a lodger in the home of a grocer named August Hübl who lived at 33 Getreidegasse.
Josef GEER was first admitted to the Salzburg State Asylum in June 1928 and after April 1934 he was a patient in Schloss Schernberg – an asylum in Schwarzach im Pongau (75 km south of Salzburg) run by the Sisters of Mercy of St. Vincent de Paul.
Like the Salzburg State Asylum, Schloss Schernberg was targeted by the Nazi’s »Euthanasia« program – despite the »courageous protest actions of the [Catholic] Church in Salzburg« (Ernst Hanisch).
But it wasn’t the Church that displayed courage, it was a woman named Anna Bertha Königsegg who displayed courage. When she was arrested by the Gestapo on April 16, 1941 the patients in their care lost their main protector, but her co-workers in the Sisters of Mercy still managed to save 17 of their patients.
The 54 year old Josef Geer was one of the 115 patients who were deported from Schernberg to the Harteheim killing center on April 21, 1941 – where they were all murdered.
As with all the victims of the Nazi’s secret »T4«1 program to kill incurable and severely handicapped Germans his death was not recorded in the Salzburg police registration files.
Salzburg’s Anna Bertha Königsegg-Special School for Severely Handicapped Children is the sponsor for this Stumbling Block for Josef GEER.
1 The »T4« program was named after the Berlin address of its headquarters at Tiergartenstraße 4
Those mainly responsible for the murders of the sick in Salzburg: Dr. Friedrich Rainer as Reichsstatthalter, Dr. Oskar Hausner as head of the Gaufürsorgeamt, Dr. Leo Wolfer as head of the Landesheilanstalt, and Dr. Heinrich Wolfer as head of the hereditary biology department of the Landesheilanstalt (today the Christian Doppler Clinic).
- Salzburg City Archive
- Schloss Hartheim memorial and education center
Translation: Stan Nadel
Laid 02.07.2014 at Salzburg, Getreidegasse 33