Schertling parents interviewed

Secret State Police [Gestapo]
State Police Headquarters Munich
Munich, April 2, 1943
Vol. No. [blank]. II A/Sond. [Special Commission]

The parents of Gisela Schertling – Paul Schertling (owner of a book printing company and businessman, born June 3, 1889 in Pössneck), and Lotte Sch., nee Pressler (born April 19, 1895 in Pössneck) – appeared voluntarily. With regards to their daughter Gisela, they make the following statement:

We have three daughters: Gisela, Renate, and Uta. Gisela was born on February 9, 1922, Renate on August 17, 1924, and Uta on October 9, 1926. Gisela is therefore the oldest of our three children.

We had no difficulties whatever raising our children, not even with Gisela. She was very compliant, but also rather introverted and very sensitive. As a child, she suffered only minor childhood illnesses.

When she was 11 or 12 years old, Prof. Dr. Zanger in Jena took out her tonsils. On that occasion, they observed excitability and convulsions. Professor Zanger’s nurse[1] told us immediately that we needed to particularly look after Gisela’s health, because her nervous system did not work right.

Her teachers later told us that she was always very fearful when doing class work and exhibited serious inhibitions. Dr. Weiss, Director of the Girls Secondary School in Weimar advised us not to allow Gisela to take the Abitur for health reasons. We decided instead on a change of schools and took Gisela to the Girls Secondary School in Spetzgart on Lake Constance.

She developed better there, because she passed the Abitur. The director of that school also noticed that Gisela suffered from convulsions.

About six months before the Abitur, the director said she was concerned that one had to worry that Gisela was developing mental problems. The director said that one had to worry that Gisela would fall apart before taking the Abitur. Luckily, that was not the case. It was the director of the school in Spetzgart who made us expressly aware of the fact that Gisela suffered from convulsions in an alarming way.

Regarding Gisela’s character, I have the following to say:

Gisela was particularly considerate towards her parents and siblings. We were only worried about her because she tended to get depressed. On summer vacations, we repeatedly had the pleasant experience that other hotel guests would spontaneously congratulate us on our children.

In the report card from the Girls Secondary School in Weimar, her [Gisela’s] good character and good congeniality were expressly emphasized. Gisela was especially known for not being able to lie.

The Secondary School in Spetzgart specially emphasized her good character, her neat appearance, her sense of honor, her idealism, and her naivety.

During semester break (Spetzgart), Gisela had to attend a six-week kindergarten teachers’ course. The director of the kindergarten treasured Gisela extraordinarily, because she submitted to the new duties very thoroughly and lovingly. Gisela is a person with a pronounced sense of compassion. She was always ready to help those who were suffering.

As did all of our children, Gisela volunteered for agricultural assistance. She began every day of agricultural service with great ambition. Because of her great accomplishments in agricultural service, the county local leader of the farmers association requested her the next year.

Gisela always got along well especially with the farmers during her RAD service, because she liked to work. During that time, her letters home said that it would be nice if she could get to know the farmers in every part of Germany by steady agricultural service.

As long as Gisela was away from home, we heard nothing but praise for her achievements and conduct. We never received any complaints. We never thought this child could ever bring us sorrow. I can only imagine that Gisela has gotten into this situation by moving in circles that she was not ready for due to her modesty. She is easily influenced by people who are intellectually superior to her.

Characteristic of her finely developed inner life is her consistent inclination for Bach’s music, and her noticeable preference for Bach’s piano music. Gisela has not been able to play in public for the longest time because of her inhibitions. We parents were always happy that she played Bach for herself alone.

Something typical of her character is the following little story: When Gisela and her sisters were working together in agricultural service, her sister Renate once was slacking in her work. Therefore they had to redo her work. Gisela was ashamed of her sister and very angry with her.

We had the impression that playing the piano (Bach) helped Gisela get over her convulsions and inhibitions.

When she was given the choice as to what to do during semester break, Gisela chose the more difficult work in a munitions factory. At first she was afraid of the new activity. But she hung in there bravely and developed a good relationship with the female workers in the munitions factory. We heard about that because people from Pössneck were employed in the same department of that munitions factory, and they liked her.

Politically, she has belonged to all of the National Socialist girls’ organizations. In addition to her political education in these organizations, we have done all we could to raise her as a National Socialist. We could tell that she always gladly did her duty in the National Socialist youth organizations. She also told us that she liked the National Socialist League of Students in Jena. She was never a leader in any of these organizations because she always had her inhibitions. She did not think she was capable of mastering that area and she did not have a “Führer” [leader] nature. I always objected to her statement that she was too shy.

Her 18-year-old sister Renate has been active in National Socialist youth organizations since she was 11. She was a Jungmädel platoon leader, and later became a member of the League of German Girls, then “Glaube und Schönheit” [Faith and Beauty]. She has been a member of the NSDAP for a year. Her younger sister Uta is particularly awakened for National Socialist duties, which was noticeable during her membership in Jungmädel.

I myself have belonged to the Party since 1937. I registered shortly after Hitler came to power at the insistence of the then-precinct leader in Pössneck.

After Hitler came to power, I also joined the NS Opferring [Circle of Martyrs] and became a patron member of the SS. I am also a member of the Nordic Society, of the Reich Colonial League, and of the People’s League for Germans Abroad (Expatriates). I am actively involved (commissioned by the German Folk Education Society) as director of the Heimatschule in Jena.

In this context I would also like to mention that even before 1933, I was active with the Volkshochschule Thüringen, and after Hitler came to power, became director of the Heimatschule.

My wife is in the NS League of Women and is a cell leader. She has belonged to this organization since 1938. She has always taken her responsibilities as cell leader very seriously.

Of course we also belong to the National Socialist Welfare League (NSV). I have always given large sums of money to various National Socialist collections. I believe that I can confidently say that our family has always been ready and willing to undertake National Socialist duties. That can easily be determined at any time.

In conclusion, I would like to request that a psychiatrist examine my daughter Gisela because of her depressive state and her convulsions. If that were permitted, I would bear the costs for such an examination.

Recorded by: /Signed: Beer/, KS

Signed: /Signed: Paul Schertling, Lotte Schertling/

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Note 1: Could also be sister. Schwester.

Editor’s note: The records do not indicate that a psychiatrist ever examined Gisela Schertling after she was taken into custody.

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Source: Schertling/Schüddekopf (59 – 62)

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