Attorney’s petition re Schertling

Attorney-at-Law, Karl Götz
Admitted to the Bar before the Higher Regional Court of Munich and Regional Courts Munich I and II
Elisabeth Str. 48/0

Tel: 371023
Postscheck Munich Account No. 15239
P. O. Box 332
Consultation upon appointment

Munich, April 7, 1943

To The Chief Prosecutor of the People’s Court, Berlin, Bellevue Str. 4 [sic].

Regarding: Schertling Gisela, trial for high treason

File No. 1H 47/43

/Stamp: District Attorney’s Office Munich I, April 8, 1943/

In accordance with the Power of Attorney I have submitted, please permit me to petition the court to act as defense counsel for Gisela Schertling. I hereby request issuance of a permanent visitor’s card as soon as possible.

In addition, I request to be given a copy of the indictment so that I am able to thoroughly study the files so I can speak with the accused about it and if necessary to expand upon the statements she made before the investigative judge.

In preparation for the trial, please permit me to present a few personal facts about the accused that I have learned from her deeply affected parents. I will then present my petition.

The accused is the oldest daughter of the publisher Paul Schertling from Pössneck. Mr. Schertling and his wife stand firmly on the foundation of National Socialist ideology. Both he and his wife have long been dedicated members of the Party. Therefore the actions of their daughter affect these parents even more, as one can well imagine.

According to the parents, the early childhood years of the accused were not completely without incident.

When she was only 12 years old and received a small dose of anesthetic for an operation to remove her tonsils, she developed such severe convulsions that the head nurse expressed extreme concern to the parents at the time.

In the time following that, it became apparent that the accused took any difficult life events very hard, such as schoolwork and tests, etc. She would become very depressed beforehand, extraordinarily excited, and convulsive.

Remarkably the director of the Home Economics Girls School in Weimar advised the father of the accused in 1938 that he should not put too much pressure on the girl to take the Abitur. In his opinion, the mental difficulty of that examination would be too much for the child. Not only was she gifted almost exclusively in music [Note 1], but also her ambition to get everything right could harm the child.

Nevertheless, the accused then enrolled in the Girls Secondary School in Spetzgart near Überlingen. In 1941, she passed the Abitur there.

It is noteworthy that the director [Note 2] of that school, Dr. Engelhardt, likewise told [Gisela’s] father that Gisela Schertling appeared to intellectually cramp up. This was about six months before she took the Abitur. The director said that she was afraid that this predisposition could be the basis for a future mental illness.

Even at that time, the accused clearly had an inclination to classical music. It noticeably increased to the point that the accused solely concerned herself with the classics, both in music and in literature. She refused all other musical activities.

Her parents were happy about this unusual limitation insofar that they saw that precisely through this inclination [to classical music], their daughter’s nervous condition appeared to clear up.

The report cards that I am enclosing demonstrate this rather one-sided talent and inclination of the accused. While she was studying at the university in Freiburg, she had a seizure that was very frightening both to her and her friends. This was during an excursion to Alsace one morning when she was well-rested.

In May 1942, the accused visited the school in Spetzgart and took part in a choral rehearsal. The choir director noticed that this girl (he did not recognize Schertling as a [former] pupil of the school) stood out because of her noticeable rigidity.

As a precaution, I have asked the director of the school Dr. Engelhardt to serve as witness for these events in Spetzgart.

In contrast, the accused behaved extraordinarily well when she worked in the kindergarten, in agricultural service, and in Reich Labor Service (RAD). She received special commendation. She primarily wanted to go into agricultural work, which probably would have been the best thing for her. But in accordance with her background, she decided to become a librarian and enrolled in the universities of Jena, Freiburg, and then in 1942, Munich.

She had met Sophie Scholl in RAD [in 1941], and she associated with them when she went to Munich. When she returned home over Christmas break in 1942, she was in the happiest of moods.

On March 1, 1943, Mrs. Schertling came to Munich with her youngest daughter to visit [Gisela]. She heard about the Scholl affair and asked the accused if that were her friend [Sophie] Scholl. The accused said it was, but said that she had nothing to do with the matter. The accused only told her mother on March 1 that she had been seeing [Hans] Scholl for about six weeks, and that this Scholl had influenced her a great deal. She expressly stated that she had given herself to him for that reason, and not out of any physical reason.

It should be noted that the accused had expressly selected employment in a munitions factory in Unterwellenborn near Saalfeld during the semester break, so she could get to know the social circumstances of the workers.

One can see from what has been said – particularly from the doubtlessly abnormal convulsive appearances and from the entire mental state that has been derailed – that one is dealing with a phlegmatic, depressive character that is vulnerable to being influenced.

As defense counsel, I therefore see myself duty bound to petition the court for an expert examination of the accused with regards to her mental or emotional state in this regards.

However, I expressly emphasize that the defense of diminished capacity shall not be brought [Note 3]. Rather, we merely wish to have an expert testify whether a special inclination of a mental sort is present and whether her ability to be influenced should be granted special weight.

Additional comments regarding the facts of the case shall be reserved until I have personally spoken to the accused.

/Signed: Götz/

* * * *

Schloβ Spetzgart School
Private Secondary School for Girls – Home Economics
Branch of the Schloβ Salem School

Report Card.

For Gisela Schertling

Pupil in the 7th Class [11th grade] of the Secondary School for Girls, Home Economics

From the time: Christmas [sic] 1939 to Easter 1940

General evaluation of the character and intellectual efforts [of the student]:

Gisela is diligent. She could participate a little livelier in class.

I. PE Calisthenics, Gymnastics, Sports: Satisfactory

II. German language instruction:
German: Good
History: Good
Geography: Adequate
Art: Satisfactory
Music: Good

III. Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Biology: Adequate
Physics: Satisfactory
Chemistry: Adequate
Mathematics: Satisfactory

IV. Women’s Subjects
Cooking: Satisfactory
Housework: Adequate
Garden work: —
Shop: Satisfactory
Needlework: Satisfactory
Health and Hygiene: Good
Occupational Classes: Good
Service: —

V. Foreign Languages
English: Satisfactory
French: —

VI. Religion: Good

Notes: Passed.

Spetzgart, March 14, 1940

Director of the School: /Signed: Dr. O. Engelhardt/

Teacher: /Signed: Dr. Altrogge? Stregge?/

* * * *

Sequence of Grades for Knowledge and Achievement.
(As of October 1, 1938)

1 [= A] Very good. Clearly exceeds “good”.

2 [= B] Good. Substantially above average.

3 [= C] Satisfactory. Fully valued normal achievement without reservations.

4 [= D] Adequate. Adequate achievement, even if not without weaknesses.

5 [= D-] Poor. Insufficient achievement. However, evidence exists that improvement is possible.

6 [= F] Fail. Completely unsatisfactory achievement. No good basis. Improvement not possible.

* * * *

Schloβ Spetzgart School
Private Secondary School for Girls – Home Economics
Branch of the Schloβ Salem School


/Attached: Photograph of Gisela Schertling, with school seal/

Gisela Schertling, born February 9, 1922 in Pössneck, Lutheran faith, daughter of businessman Paul Schertling, has attended Spetzgart School, Secondary School for Girls, Home Economics, since April 1939 beginning with the 7th class [11th grade].

Since Easter 1940, she has been a pupil in the 8th class [12th grade].

I. General evaluation of the character and intellectual efforts [of the student]:
Gisela exhibits serious, intellectual, and personal effort. She can dedicate herself to a goal with great energy. She works very keenly [eifrig] and conscientiously. She puts out great effort in sports.

II. PE Calisthenics, Gymnastics, Sports: Satisfactory

III. Scholarly, artistic, and practical achievements:
German: Satisfactory
History: Satisfactory
Geography: Satisfactory
Art: Satisfactory
Music: Very Good

Natural Sciences and Mathematics:
Biology: Satisfactory
Chemistry: Satisfactory
Physics: Satisfactory
Mathematics: Poor

Women’s Subjects
Cooking, housework, and garden work: Adequate
Handwork: Adequate
Shop: Satisfactory
Health and Hygiene: Good
Occupational Classes: Good

Nursery for babies, kindergarten, family: Diligent and willing

Foreign Languages
English: Adequate

Religion: —

IV. Overall evaluation:
Gisela Schertling has passed her final examinations.

Spetzgart, March 22, 1941

Chair of the Examination Committee: /Signed: [Illegible]/

Director of the School: /Signed: Dr. O. Engelhardt/


Note 1: That is, not in schoolwork.

Note 2: Leiterin. The director was a woman.

Note 3: Gisela Schertling’s attorney had to walk a fine line. He could not argue diminished capacity, because Gisela Schertling could then be subject to laws affecting so-called useless eaters (physically and mentally handicapped persons), which could result in a death sentence.


Source: Schertling/Schüddekopf (78 – 86)

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