Johann SCHUCHLENZ was born in Heiligenkreuz am Waasen (near the town of Leibnitz which is 40 km south of the city of Graz in Styria,) on March 18, 1910. He married an Upper Austrian woman named Irma Schauberger and was a carnival showman.
They lived in a caravan and performed in various locations before they became stranded in the city of Salzburg in April 1939: the police register recorded their caravan as parked in the Salzburg Volksgarten.
Apparently nothing seems to have changed under the Nazi-Regime and the police registration for Johann SCHUCHLENZ noted neither any military service nor a war death. But after the end of the war he was reported in any case to have died – although it took seven years before a court officially declared him dead.
Thanks to the research of the Antifascist Committee of former political prisoners of the army his widow learned how her husband had died. Johann SCHUCHLENZ was a Wehrmacht soldier in Italy who has changed sides and joined the Italian Resistance. He was captured by either an army or a SS unit and on April 13, 1945 the 35 year old was either shot or hanged to death for desertion and »treason in time of war«. It was one of the crimes that took place during the last phase of World War II, shortly before the surrender of the German army in Italy.
His widow lived in her caravan until her death in Salzburg at age 72 in 1978. In liberated Austria she was denied victims’ compensation or pension because her husband was never recognized as a »victim of the fight for a free and democratic Austria« after he had been executed in Italy.
Johann SCHUCHLENZ was one of the victims of military injustice declared without honor and left anonymous who were left out of the book Widerstand und Verfolgung in Salzburg 1934-1945 [Resistance and Persecution in Salzburg 1934-1945] published in 1991, as well as the electronic data base of the Documantary Archive of the Austrian Resistance (DÖW).
- Salzburg city and state archives
Translation: Stan Nadel
Laid 28.09.2017 at Salzburg, Volksgarten