The HASLAUER family, who lived in Salzburg, Getreidegasse 33, 3<sup>rd</sup> floor, professed to be members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (Bible Students) denomination, which had already been banned in Austria and which was persecuted under the Nazi regime in particular because of its refusal to perform military service.
The state police were able to identify those persons who had left the Roman Catholic Church and were registered as »Christian freestanding« on the basis of the registration file: Persons who were under surveillance as members of a forbidden »anti-defense association«.
Consequently, for the small religious communities there was the problem of how to organize their religious life in secret.
One place of their regular meetings was the apartment of the HASLAUER family in Salzburg’s old town. On April 4, 1939, a Gestapo official had found six Jehovah’s Witnesses there at their memorial meal or Passover feast, as the court record shows.
The persons charged with »secret alliance« and imprisoned, among them the HASLAUER family, were released on May 31, 1939, but were unsuccessfully pressured to renounce their Christian faith.
Johann HASLAUER, born on January 5, 1890 in Hallein, brewer at the Stern Brewery in the Riedenburg district of Salzburg, was arrested on November 9, 1939 for refusing military service, deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on December 14, 1939, and murdered in the Wewelsburg subcamp on August 12, 1940.<sup>1</sup>
His wife Marie HASLAUER, née Mackinger, born on December 27, 1899 in Berndorf (Land Salzburg), and their daughter Antonia, born on May 16, 1922, were arrested because of their faith on November 10, 1939 and deported to the women’s concentration camp Ravensbrück on December 28, 1939.
The 42-year-old mother – together with about 100 Jehovah’s Witnesses who refused to do any war work in the concentration camp – was deported from Ravensbrück to Auschwitz in August 1942, where she was murdered on September 27, 1942 (according to contemporary witnesses, the typhoid-sick woman was bitten to death by dogs).
Her daughter Antonia Mackinger survived the terror years, returned to Salzburg and married Otto Stessun, who was also persecuted for his faith.
On April 19, 1946, their daughter Ruth was born in Salzburg.
<sup>1</sup> Access and death dates as well as place of death according to information from the Sachsenhausen Memorial on December 9, 2011.
Laid 28.08.2008 at Salzburg, Getreidegasse 33