Franz SCHAUFLER was born in Salzburg on October 19, 1914 in Salzburg and was baptized Roman Catholic. He was a child of Anna Fleischhacker from Linz, who had been working as a servant in Salzburg since September 1913. She moved to Ostermiething in Upper Austria after Franz was born and married Franz’ father there.
Research on Franz SCHAUFLER has discovered that he trained as a tailor, but as his police registration file only identifies him as a tailor’s assistant it suggests that he never completed his formal training. During the Great Depression of the 1930s he seems to have led the restless life of a tramp and got into trouble with the authorities for »Vagrancy and begging«. The unemployment and poverty that made him live that way does not appear in the records.
Franz SCHAUFLER was registered properly in Salzburg starting in June 1938, at first as a sub-tenant on the 4th floor of 17 Goldgasse. Notably, his registration card under the Nazi regime carried the handwritten comment »Pol. Liste« (Police List), a notation that the Gestapo used to indicate politically suspect individuals so Franz SCHAUFLER was certainly not amember of the Nazi Party. When the Second World War started SCHAUFLER was inducted into the 137th Mountain Infantry Regiment created in Military District XVIII (Salzburg). The 137th took part in the invasion of Norway in 1940 and SCHAUFLER was wounded there.
After his recovery he was reassigned to Salzburg and on November 4, 1940 he left the barracks without permission. He acquired civilian clothes and disguised as a civilian he worked briefly in a tailor shop. He spent his nights with a woman friend or in parked wagons. He also reverted to his earlier criminal practices – stealing clothing and selling borrowed items in order to raise money. But nothing really worked and after about 3 weeks of freedom he was hunted down and arrested.
On January 8, 1941 Franz SCHAUFLER was brought to trial before the 188th Division Court Martial sitting in Salzburg. »In the name of the German people« it sentenced him to six years and five months imprisonment for »absence from his unit without permission« and other offenses. His imprisonment in the Silesian fortress at Glatz only lasted 19 months as the army leadership had no intention of allowing soldiers to avoid service on the front lines and save their lives by committing offenses that would keep them imprisoned for the duration of the war.
On August 21, 1942 Franz SCHAUFLER was sent to the front as »probation in face of the enemy«. We don’t know if his punishment service at the front in the war of extermination against the Soviet Union consisted of constructing bunkers and fortifications or clearing mines and recovering bodies.
For decades the court-martial convicted Franz SCHAUFLER was simply listed as missing in action, but in the year 2000, 55 years after the liberation of Austria, the St. John’s Parish in Salzburg got a notice from the Berlin I registry office that the 29 year old Franz SCHAUFLER had been killed near the Norwegian-Soviet border about 150 km northwest of Murmansk on October 7, 1944 – that was the desolate end of the criminal career of this unwilling soldier in the German Wehrmacht.
- The court-martial verdict of the 188th Division
- The Release certificate of the German Military Prison in Glatz Silesia
- Archives of the Salzburg Archdiocese (Parish registers)
- Salzburg city and state archives
Recherche: Esche Schörghofer
Translation: Stan Nadel
Laid 25.09.2019 at Salzburg, Goldgasse 17