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July 13, 1943
Following are the events of July 13, 1943 on the basis of Ruth Sachs' research as of December 31, 2007.

  • By 9 am, Clara Geyer and her friends Josef and Erika Rieck are sitting in a courtroom in Munich, waiting for the trial to begin. They learn that Judge Freisler will not be hearing this case. The presiding judge is named Schwingenschloegl.
  • The presiding judge is assisted by justices named Boller and Eder. Dr. Hohmann acts as prosecutor. There is no court clerk. Dr. Reisert (a family friend of the Geyers - an attorney involved in the July 20, 1944 resistance and later arrested for that "treasonous" action) represents all four defendants: Wilhelm Geyer, Manfred Eickemeyer, Harald Dohrn, and Josef Soehngen.
  • Judge Schwingenschloegl reads the indictment into the record. All are accused of credible knowledge of a treasonous activity and failure to report same. The prosecutor drops the charges of aiding and abetting the enemy (high treason) because they had lost the evidence against the four men. [Not publicly stated!]
  • The presiding judge questions the four defendants. Soehngen goes first, followed by Eickemeyer, Geyer, and Dohrn. Judge Schwingenschloegl especially grills Geyer about his Catholic faith.
  • Prosecutor Hohmann calls Gisela Schertling as primary prosecution witness. She recants everything she had stated in her interrogations. Since they had lost the transcripts of her words against these four men, the prosecutor is forced to rely on her public testimony, which is not helping his case. When Hohmann attempts to introduce evidence of treason not contained in the indictment or files, Judge Schwingenschloegl will not permit submission of facts not in evidence.
  • Soehngen requests permission to question Gisela Schertling himself. The judge grants him considerable latitude and Soehngen is able to persuade her to testify favorably on his behalf.
  • Hohmann then calls the artist Karl Rieber to testify against Wilhelm Geyer. [Rieber had been present at the January 1943 debates in the studio.] In a scene worthy of Tim Conway, Rieber uses his near-deafness to his friend's advantage. Comic relief!
  • Schwingenschloegl then reads Clara Geyer's letters to her husband into the court record. He allows the letters to stand as evidence of Geyer's devotion to his family.
  • Reisert petitions the court for the acquittal of all four men.
  • At 4:30 pm (with no break between 9 am and 4:30 pm), Schwingenschloegl calls a recess. They learn the verdict is to be handed down from Berlin - it is out of Schwingenschloegl's hands. However, he allows the four prisoners to eat the 'banquet' that Clara Geyer had brought, and to do so in a private room, not a holding cell! - There is a great deal of nervous energy in the room, as no one dares to hope that the "guaranteed death sentences" (per the Gestapo agents) would not be handed down.
  • Around 4:45 pm across town at Stadelheim Prison, three SS officers appear, bearing special permission to observe the execution of Alexander Schmorell. They delay his beheading with their discussion of whether the guillotine can be rigged to make Alex die more slowly.
  • Alex's execution takes forty-six seconds from the time he leaves his cell, eight seconds from the time he is handed over to the executioner named Reichhart.
  • Dr. Deisinger, Alex's attorney, leaves the room shaken to the core. He passes Professor Kurt Huber, who is being led to the executioner. Huber calls out to the prison chaplain, "I will see you in a better world!"
  • When the executioner's assistant asks Huber if he is the prisoner named Kurt Huber, Huber says yes, followed by, "Shame on you!" Huber too is beheaded "without incident."
  • At 5:20 pm, the Executive District Attorney sends a telegram to Berlin. "With regard to 6I 24/43G [case number], matter taken care of today without incident."
  • Around 6 pm, "Eickemeyer et al" are re-called to the courtroom. Schwingenschloegl handles the verdict quickly. Eickemeyer, Dohrn, and Geyer are acquitted. Soehngen is sentenced to six months in prison for failure to report the leaflets. [Even "the girls" had gotten longer sentences for the same crime at the April 19 trial.] The judge notes that he believed Gisela Schertling's testimony that day in court, that these four men had been too old to have been involved in "Hans Scholl's intrigues."
  • The four defendants are advised that they will have to spend one more night in prison and be processed by the Gestapo on July 14. Exit interviews are required. When they arrive at the prison, "fellow prisoners romped," thrilled by the verdict. Their spirits are dampened only when they learn through the prison grapevine that Alex Schmorell and Kurt Huber have been executed.
  • Before closing up shop for the night, the Mayor's Office writes Dr. Hugo Schmorell, Alex's father. The funeral for his son would take place the next day at 6:15 pm, and Dr. Hugo Schmorell owed the mayor's office 100 Marks ($800) for the burial. The Schmorells would not receive the letter in time to attend their son's funeral. But they still had to pay the 100 Marks to bury him.

(c) 2007 Ruth Hanna Sachs. All rights reserved. Please contact Ruth for permission to quote.

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