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St. Gallen cantonal police rehabilitate Paul Grüninger

Jewish rescuers, police, and intelligence (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

Writer: Jörg Krummenacher, St. Gallen August 22, 2014

Our comments follows the (partial translation of the) article.

Der einstige St. Galler Polizeikommandant Paul Grüninger hat mehreren hundert österreichischen Juden und Jüdinnen das Leben gerettet.

The former St. Gallen police commander Paul Grüninger saved the lives of several hundred Austrian Jews. (Photo: Daniel Ammann)

In a symbolic act, the police of the canton of St. Gallen rehabilitated their former commander, the savior of Jews Paul Grüninger.

Humanity, according to the police, is above the strict enforcement of regulations.

Justice prevails over law. This is not a basic idea usually rife in a police corps. Law enforcement in the canton of St. Gallen have, however, championed this cause. This is in memory, at least, of their now famous commander from before the war, the police captain Paul Grüninger.

Before the outbreak of the Second World War, between July 1938 and February 1939, he let around 3,000 Jewish refugees enter the canton and thus saved them from arrest and possibly death. But in doing so he violated official Swiss policy, which called for the rejection of refugees from August 1938 onGrüninger was dishonorably dismissed from office in the spring of 1939, and he was later convicted of breaches of duty and fined.

Setting an Example

The St. Gallen police captain was not rehabilitated politically and legally until 1993 and 1995 after lengthy efforts and ten attempts. On Friday, August 22, 2014, he has now also been internally rehabilitated by the police force internally in a small ceremony of the canton St. Gallen police. At the main entrance of the police building, there is now a plaque that commemorates the former commander and his moral courage, right next to a plaque in memory of the officers of the Corps who have died in the performance of their official duties

Media: Paul Grüninger

Paul Gruninger 1891-1972 Translation: As police commander, he rescued in the years 1938-39 hundreds of Jews and other refugees from the National Socialist persecution. In defiance of instructions from the Federal Government, he took them over the border into St. Gallen Rhine Valley and was therefore dismissed without notice in 1939. In 1940 he was convicted and in 1995 rehabilitated by an acquittal from the district court. {Read about his life at “The Righteous Among the Nations.”}

FredyFassler Councillor Fredy Fässler said at the celebration in honor of Grüninger that the justification: “it was commanded meis morally worthless: . The application of rules or instructions that fail in their flagrant violate elementary principles of justice and human dignity must be refused.


Carried negative consequences

…It took justice and politics almost half a century to revise their views of Grüninger’s actions. The dishonorably dismissed police captain felt, on his part, the negative consequences of his now highly praised moral courage throughout life. His now 93year-old daughter Ruth Roduner talked about this in the celebration. She quit going to the business school in Lausanne to return home and support her family with her wages as a clerk. Nonetheless, her father always remained convinced that he had acted correctly.

Comment on the 2014.08.22 Neue Zürcher Zeitung article

Moral Courage

We find, however, that moral courage is still a rare commodity these days. It is rare even when there is compelling evidence that it should be exercised. Moral courage is rare even when the obvious love of parents for their children and children for their parents is on display. This is what we have found repeatedly in Germany, too, that love, affection, good health, a wonderful environment, and a good education are all insufficient to maintain the rights of parents to raise their own children.

A Swiss example, from the Canton of Bern:

A sad tale from the land where the good commander Grüninger is now honored for his moral courage: “Reported by Eyewitnesses.” (This was first published on our German blog November 9, 2013). A corresponding report in English – from the viewpoint of the children – is “Seized in the Middle of the Night.”

“It is afternoon, 8 November 2013. The police officer puts his finger on the peephole in the door and rings the doorbell. Not knowing who is there the door is opened and two police officers come into the apartment and bring the terrible news that they have come to pick up Eva and Merea  Krumbacher and take them to Germany. Eva grabs the phone and calls her parents who are out on the go. The parents speak with the police officers and try to get them to wait until their arrival – unsuccessfully!

The parents inform their lawyer in Bern by phone. He could not, however, change anything on late Friday afternoon. The competent authorities were no longer accessible.

This was another typical Jugendamt strike. . . just before the weekend.

Eva tells officials that she is Swiss and must not be delivered up – she is not heard! The officials are holding a chamber decisionof the KESB (child and adult protection authority), for the Canton of Bern Police Department, who are to collect Eva and Merea and pass them on to the German police at the German border.

The stated reason: Because of the huge danger of flight of the children and their threat situation,” and “because of the present urgency of substantial child endangerment, the recognition and enforcement is superprovisional.”

Here, though, the children Merea and Eva have already been registered as residents with the authorities in October by their parents. And the parents were already in contact with the KESB and a first appointment had been made for Monday, November 11, at 2:00 p.m. Was this Monday appointment just a trick or deception? It boils down to the fact that Eva, screaming, is taken to the car against her will by the police. Merea, screaming as well, clings to the grandmother, but is taken also.

Their parents follow the police car and call Eva on the phone and talk while she is driving with the police officers. They try a transfer to the German police to prevent the taking, but their requests will not be heard! The parents call their attorney and also try to get the authorities to avoid the delivery to the Germans without success. It’s Friday afternoon!

The Swiss police officers cross the border and stop at the German customs. The parents only speak with the Swiss and the German police and plead that  they would not hesitate to send the children back to Switzerland — without success! It is about 5:00 p.m. and all that is left is to follow the German police officers to the police station. There, the parents will be allowed to wait in the hallway along with their children.

The wait drags on for hours, until finally arriving at 9:20 p.m. the two men and three women from social services of Donauwörth arrive. Eva and Merea told their parents in the middle of this dramatic 7.5 hours, that they still are grateful for the 3 weeks that they could spend with their parents. It was worth it, despite the painful separation, because the time of separation is a time of pain and agony. The parents once again try to stand up against the Jugendamt employees and two police officers for a release of Eva and Merea. But again without success.

The employees of this agency could hear neither the crying of the children nor the parents, nor the advice of the senior Swiss police officials to not separate the two girls. The parents were detained by the police until the children were led out to the vehicles against their will.

The two cars are parked at the Jugendamt (Social Services) shortly before 10:00 p.m. right in front of the entrance; childproof safety catch controls the doors. Then the two girls come out with police guards and are separated from each other. Eva is heard yelling loudly: “I will not go back to Germany.”

She is urged into the white Mercedes and her little sister into the other car. Then the doors are closed and the cars pull out. The parents were not allowed to come out with them. A short time later, the parents come in with a police officer who is visibly affected.

The police officer thanks the parents that they have not lost control in this extreme situation. That deserves respect he told them.

He also encouraged the parents to hire a lawyer and exploit the legal process.

Conclusion: Everyone does their duty, their mission, even though all also have an understanding that the children and the parents obviously love each other. . . but no one is willing to act on what he feels. Everyone hides behind his place and is only doing his job. The job and obedience are holy both to the Germans and the Swiss.

In retrospect, many wonder, “How could this happen?” Is it not true that if all are to only do their duty“, then justice loses its voice more and more?

Moral courage is a strange word anyway and is used more and more rarely and may soon be banned.

Read more about the Krumbacher family. Note that Eva was released to the custody of her parents several weeks later (on November 22, 2013), but Merea remains in state custody in Germany. Eva wrote a diary of her horrifying experiences at the hands of the Jugendamt, “Diary of an Abused Girl.

It was commanded me

The children were seized in the Canton of Bern, of course, not St. Gallen. One Swiss high court judge has subsequently objected to the proceedings that day as an “order of execution” — meaning not able to be remedied by appeal. After all, these Swiss citizens were delivered to another nation without the least chance for the parents to appeal to the Swiss courts.

Ohevi and Rachel Krumbacher were literally on the run that Friday afternoon (November 8, 2013) and no one with the power to stop the execution of the warrant was even in their office. The wheels of justice were not turning just then. Certainly, it was planned that way by the Jugendamt. They are very good at such things.

It seems that for everyone concerned with the Twelve Tribes, the power of the morally worthless defense, “It was commanded me,” remains.

But such excuses for not following one’s conscience have always tended to be used where the weak, the powerless, and the unpopular are concerned. It has happened before, and it is happening again.

Men like Paul Grüninger — surely worthy of all the honor he failed to receive in his own lifetime from his own people — are honored for this very reason: to dishonor and so end morally worthless justifications in the consciences of officials, judges, and police.

They are supposed to be servants and not lords of the people, but they can only be servants if they do what they know is right in their own hearts. Evil men have so often managed to pass evil laws, and then called down the power of the law on the righteous who cannot obey them in good conscience. So it is in Germany today with its law against love. For every parent who loves their child knows in their own conscience they must discipline them for wrongdoing and disrespect. And the Bible teaches that, too! (Proverbs 13:24)