Katharina PFRIEMER, née Klimitsch, was born in Salzburg on September 26, 1902 and was baptized Catholic. She was the second of Theresia und Karl Klimitsch’s four children and the entire Klimitsch family had local citizenship rights in Salzburg. Katharina’s father, who began as a police watchman and ended as a bailiff, died in May 1924 at age 56. One of Katharina’s brothers was a worker, another was a clerk, and the third was a policeman. He and his sister didn’t survive the terror years.

Katharina wasn’t able to learn a trade and worked as a maid. She changed her workplaces and residences frequently and in March 1928 she gave birth to a child – a baby who died the next year. She married an unskilled worker in Salzburg’s Maxglan parish in 1933, but that too didn’t last very long before her husband left both her and Salzburg. After that Katharina PFRIEMER lived off and on either with her widowed mother in a community building in the Scherzhauserfeldsiedlung neighborhood, or in some barracks in the Lehen district that were eliminated long ago.

In the spring of 1943 Katharina PFRIEMER was arrested – either by the Gestapo or the Kripo [Criminal Police], but why did she fall under suspicion? She was probably the victim of a denunciation. What we know for certain is that the 40 year old was locked up in the police jail without being brought to trial, indicating that she hadn’t committed any demonstrable offense. This shows how the police treated suspects and victims of denunciations from lower social strata, a curtailed process and deportation to a concentration camp.

The political persecution of Katharina PFRIEMER´s younger brother, on the other hand, can be reconstructed from judicial files: Maximilian Klimitsch was a police seargent in 1940 when he warned the pastor of the St. Andrä church, Franz ZEISS, that the police were going to search the parish offices. For doing so he was sentenced to ten years in prison, but was then put in a prisoner unit of the army and sent to the front. His death in combat is noted in the Salzburg police registration files. In his sister Katharina’s file it just says her fate is »unknown«.

Our researcher has discovered that the 40 year old Katharina PFRIEMER was deported from the police jail on the Rudolfsplatz, known then as the Georg-von-Schönerer-Platz, to the Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp on August 28, 1943 – where she was registered as prisoner number 22811. There is no record of her death, which is not unusual because the SS eliminated all evidence of their crimes by destroying the death registers and sending all the surviving prisoners on a death march before Soviet troops arrived to liberate Ravensbrück on April 30, 1945.

Recent research has discovered that Katharina PFRIEMER wasn’t killed in the Ravensbrück concentration camp for women, but was instead murdered in the Majdanek concentration camp in a Lublin suburb in occupied Poland: her death was reported as occurring on March 1, 1944, from an alleged »pulmonary tuberculosis« (according to a death registry now in the Moscow Central National archives). As all the files of the Majdanek concentration camp were destroyed by the SS shortly before it was liberated by Soviet troops, we can’t identify when Katharina PFRIEMER was transferred from Ravensbrück to Majdanek.

Katharina’s mother Theresia Klimitsch died a few days after the liberation of Salzburg in May 1945. There were no other survivors eligible to apply for Victims’ Compensation. Katharina PFRIEMER was one of the terror victims who was left out of the book Widerstand und Verfolgung in Salzburg 1934-1945 [Resistance and Persecution in Salzburg, 1934-1945] published in 1991 because they didn’t appear in any police, court, or victims’ compensation records. And for the same reason they have not been included in the Victim Registry of the Documentation Archives of the Austrian Resistance (DÖW).

Sources

  • Salzburg city and state archives
  • Archive of the Lublin-Majdanek Memorial Museum (Muzeum na Majdanku)
Author: Gert Kerschbaumer
Translation: Stan Nadel

Stumbling Stone
Laid 28.09.2017 at Salzburg, Rudolfsplatz 3

All stumbling stones at Rudolfsplatz 3