WWII, Two German spies of Swiss nationality shot on 7th December 1944
The Swiss Newspaper "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" had an interesting article today (couldn't find it online) about two Swiss, who were found guilty of spying for Germany and were shot in 1944. The two sources I found were written by Walter Schaufelberger.
The story begins, when Walter Schaufelberger heard different explanations, why a certain part of field was named Hitler Place. After doing some research, he found documents, affirming claims that spys were executed there. It was a strange twist, that his own father was
Auditor and judicial officer who was the prosecutor in that case. Now 86 years old, he remembers his father being repeatedly pale
and tight-lipped and had never talked with his family about this case.
"Gradually, I learned, however, that his depression was a result of executions, which he had ex officio attend."
The case involved two Swiss citizens, Walter L. and Hermann G.
They were part of the largest German spy ring in Switzerland and were directed from Stuttgart. Their main job was to scout bunker and other military installations as well as ammunition and explosives-factories. They were further interested in companies owned and run by Jews. In the first part of the operation, messengers were used to relay informations, later they used radio.
Both spies were born 1897. Walter L. dropped out of university and had difficulties keeping a steady job. Hermann G. was born in Germany as a Swiss national. He wanted to join the German army, but was rejected. So he joined the Swiss army where he run into problems with the criminal justice. Without a job, he collected welfare. He left the National Front (the Swiss Nazi Party) and joined the Social Democratic Party as a cover. Being unemployed, he voluntary served in the army, preferably in the Swiss large bunkers near Sargans (Festungstruppen).
Walter L. was not payed for his work, but he was promissed some Jewish owend companies, when the Germans took power.
Hermann G., who had received training in the use of the radio in Stuttgart and was the radio operator, and received periodic payments, totaling about SFr. 30'000.00 during the period of summer 1941 till autumn 1942.
This huge increase of wealth made the neighbours suspicious. This led to their arrest and to a fast unanimous conviction. The Federal Assembly of Switzerland dismissed the petition of mercy on 7th December 1944 with 181:26 for Walter L. and 204:10 for Hermann G.
Few hours later, at nightfall, 40 soldiers and two officers led the conviced to a gravel pit, still named Verrätergruber (traitor pit) and shot them.
The convicted were placed eight meters away of the firing sqad, 40 shots were fired, eight shots did not hit.
Walter Schaufelberger claims that he received written death threats from the SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt.