Kurt Püringer

… sentenced to death

Kurt Püringer was born on 13th January 1924 in Vienna. He attended grammar school there, before being called up to the Reich Labor Service and to the German Armed Forces.

His father had been a member of the Fatherland Front, the single party of the Austrian Ständestaat ("corporate state"). Kurt Püringer's political views motivated him to carry out acts against the German Armed Forces. After the war, Kurt Püringer was able to continue his education in England and study medicine. Dr. Püringer then emigrated to Canada, where he still lives today.

Black-and-white-photograph: Young men trying on uniforms.
Young men trying on uniforms. Reich Labour Service, about 1938. (c) ÖNB

From late 1944 until the end of the war in 1945, I worked against Nazism as a member of the German Armed Forces, by providing civilian clothes for soldiers who wanted to break away from the forces. I was caught shortly before the end of the war and arrested near St. Pölten, tried by court martial, found guilty and sentenced to death. I escaped during a Russian bombardment and remained hidden until the Russian occupation of eastern Austria. Then I returned to Vienna, where my parents lived. Since then I have suffered from high blood pressure, for which I have been receiving treatment for about 45 years. I had to prematurely give up my career as a result of it. My poor health can be traced back to the events of that time.