Katharina GRÖBNER was born in Hallwang (about 6km north of Salzburg) on April 23, 1892. She was a Catholic unskilled worker with three illegitimate children named Kathi, Leopold, and Marianne.
The family lived in Gnigl (which was annexed to Salzburg in 1935), in the house of a master blacksmith at 14 Grazer Bundesstraße.
Katharina GRÖBNER became a patient at the Salzburg State Asylum in 1935 and in 1937 she was transferred to a sanatorium in Schloss Schernberg in Schwarzach (in the southern Pongau region of Salzburg state) that was operated by the St. Vincent Sisters of Mercy. Like the State Asylum, Schloss Schernberg was also drawn into the Nazis regime’s »euthanasia« program — despite the »most courageous protest by the Church in Salzburg« [Ernst Hanisch].
But it wasn’t the Church that was courageous, it was a woman: the Catholic nun and Inspector of the Salzburg Province of the Sisters of Mercy Anna Bertha Königsegg. She protested directly to the Nazi officials in charge of Gau Salzburg [the Salzburg region] and she pressed the Archbishop to stand up to the Nazis. When she was arrested by the Gestapo on April 16, 1941 the patients lost their protector but her example led some of her co-workers to save 17 of their patients by hiding them in the woods.
The 48 year old Katharina GRÖBNER was one of 115 patients who was rounded up in Schloss Schernberg on April 21, 1941 and deported to the killing center at Hartheim Castle near Linz where they were all murdered. As with all the other victims of the Nazis’ secret »T4«1 program, her death was not recorded in the Salzburg police registration files. Katharina’s son Leopold, a mason by trade, continued to live at 14 Grazer Bundesstraße and died in Salzburg in 1978.
The sponsor for the Stumbling Block for Katharina GRÖBNER is the Anna Bertha Königsegg-Sonderschule für schwerstbehinderte Kinder in Salzburg [the Anna Bertha Königsegg-Special School for Severely Handicapped Children].
1 It was called »T4« because its Berlin headquarters were located at Tiergartenstraße 4
- Salzburg city archives
- Schloss Hartheim Learning and Remembrance Center
Translation: Stan Nadel
Laid 13.07.2015 at Salzburg, Grazer Bundesstraße 14