Grimminger’s early life

16) Military experience …

16c) Served from November 1914 to November 1918. Unit: Volunteered for Field Artillery Regiment 54.Location: Ludwigsburg.Discharged as: Non-Commissioned Officer.

17) Decorations and medals (list individually): Württemberg Silver Medal of Honor, Iron Cross II, and Medal for serving on the front lines. …

I was born in Crailsheim, the legitimate son and 7th child of the train engineer Franz Xaver and his wife Rösle Grimminger. I have three brothers and three sisters. My oldest brother Alfred G. is a Master Baker in Crailsheim. The second oldest brother Gottlob died in the world war [WWI]. My third brother is a chief inspector for the Reichsbahn in Bremen, currently delegated to Paris.

My oldest sister Pauline Winkler is the widow of a train engineer and lives in Crailsheim. My second sister Berta Grimminger has retired from the railroad, where she was a secretary. She lives in Crailsheim. My youngest sister Luise Haas is the widow of a train engineer in Stuttgart. She lives at Altenberg Str. 42. All of my siblings who are still living enjoy a good reputation [Note 1]. My deceased parents were respected civil servants.

I attended elementary school in Crailsheim for three years. After that I went to the Realschule. There I graduated after ninth grade. After completing this intermediate [secondary] school education, I entered the national civil service in Crailsheim. In 1917 [Note 2], I passed the intermediate civil service examination for Württemberg.

In November 1914, I volunteered for the Reserve Artillery Regiment 49 in Ulm. In the spring of 1915, I was sent to the Western Front. There I was active as a gunner and telephone operator.

I received the above-mentioned honors for good performance in the trenches [Note 3]. In January 1918, I was transferred to the infantry artillery. When the revolution started (November 1918), I was with a sound-ranging unit in Alsace. From that unit, I was discharged to Crailsheim.

I then registered with the District Authority [Note 4] in Crailsheim. The direction of the municipal cooperative was then transferred to me. In May 1922, I went to Stuttgart as the auditor of the Württemberg State Association of Agricultural Cooperatives. Around 1930, I became Director of the Audit Division for Productive Cooperatives, and simultaneously was promoted to Chief Auditor. …

I married my wife in 1922 at the Justice of the Peace in Stuttgart. …

I would like to mention beforehand that I have never belonged to a political party. When the war broke out, I was under my brother’s influence, who at that time belonged to the Naval Union of the All-German League [Flottenverein des Alldeutschen Verbandes]. That influenced my volunteering for duty. The terrible losses we suffered in the Battle of Flanders in 1917 deeply upset me. I suffered mentally from that.

After the end of the war, I did not turn to any [political] party. However, very early I took up the battle against a planned economy in my role as Managing Director of the municipal cooperative in my hometown. I admit that I cast my vote for the Stresemann party.

Although I married a Jewish woman in 1922, I had previously been basically anti-Semitic. However, I gave up that point of view during the world war, because a Jewish man rescued [Note 5] me and saved my life. The fact that I married a Jewish woman has little to do with my political attitude, because I respected this woman and married her for love.

In 1919, I left the Lutheran Church, because it was an inner battle for me whenever the Lutheran pastor would call for war. In my opinion, he should have been preaching about love of one’s fellow man. After the world war, I read a great deal. In the course of time, Eastern literature most appealed to me. More and more, I took on a Buddhist mindset. Because of that, I finally became a vegetarian as well. Through reading and studying the books of Gandhi, Neel David, etc., I became a disciple of nonviolence. …

I met Robert Scholl in 1919 when I was the Director of the municipal cooperative in Crailsheim. At that time, Scholl Senior was mayor of Ingersheim, which was part of my district.


Note 1: Leumund. Also can mean are of good character.

Note 2: Probably a typo. Should have been 1907. Born in 1892, plus six years before entering elementary school, plus nine years of school = 1907. Also makes more sense with the chronology, since the next year mentioned is 1914.

Note 3: Grabendienst.

Note 4: Oberamt. This term was used only until 1934, when it was replaced with Kreis (county), e.g. Kreisleiter. The Oberamt term dated back to medieval times when the duchy of Württemberg was broken up into administrative districts, which were called Ämter.

Note 5: Grimminger never expounded on this event. He said the man excavated or unearthed him (ausgraben) – as if he had been buried alive.


Source: Initial interrogation of Eugen Grimminger, March 3, 1943

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