Rudolf Ortner was born in Salzburg on January 28, 1920 and was baptized in the Catholic Church. He was the first of the two children of Helene and Franz Ortner. The Ortner family last lived together at 6 Fürstenbrunnstraße in the Riedenburg neighborhood. After the marriage of the parents broke up in 1936 Helene moved away from Salzburg with her younger child.
Rudolf was taken into one of Salzburg’s children’s homes for care. After the Nazis took over Austria he was moved to a nursing home in a cloister at Mariatal bei Kramsach in northeastern Tyrol that belonged to the Archdiocese of Salzburg and which was operated by the Sisters of Mercy.
Anna Bertha Königsegg, the regional head of the Sisters of Mercy, protested strongly and with great courage against the Nazis’ »Euthanasia« program that was murdering tens of thousands of handicapped patients across the Third Reich. When she was arrested by the Gestapo on April 16, 1941 the Sisters of Mercy patients lost their main defender.
Twenty-one year old Rudolf Ortner was one of 61 patients who were deported from Mariatal to the Hartheim killing center near Linz on May 23, 1941 where they were all murdered.1
As with all of the victims of the Nazis’ secret »T4«2 murder program his death was not entered in the Salzburg police registration files.
Rudolf’s father died in Salzburg in 1942.
1 So far eight of these 61 victims have been identified as having come from Salzburg: Rudolf Ortner, Wilhelm HÖPFLINGER, Franziska SPECKINGER, Rupert ZANINELLI, Maria Kahlhammer, Therese Raaber, Georg Schweighofer and Katharina Wagner.
2 It was called the »T4« program because its central headquarters were located at Tiergartenstraße 4 in Berlin.
Main persons 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 Christian Doppler Clinic).
- Salzburg City Archives
- Schloss Hartheim Learning and Memorial Center
Translation: Stan Nadel
Laid 25.09.2018 at Salzburg, Fürstenbrunnstraße 6