Eugen Grimminger and the "White Rose"

Dr. Michael Kißener

The story of the Munich students who, in 1942-43 under the name of "White Rose", appealed to fellow citizens for resistance against the national socialist regime, passed out flyers, and wrote slogans on walls, is today well known the world round. Streets, squares, and schools are named for Hans and Sophie Scholl, in addition to further members of the group: Willi Graf, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell and Professor Kurt Huber.

Almost forgotten and unknown, however, is Eugen Grimminger, the citizen of Crailsheim who, through his money, paid for this courageous students' fight for resistance and the expansion of their activities throughout all of Germany.

The family of the train engineer Franz Xaver Grimminger came to Crailsheim in 1887 and purchased a house in the Bahnhofstrasse 15. They quickly felt at home, and the father became involved in the public life of the city and took park in the formation of a citizens' club in 1905. The son Eugen was born in 1892 as the seventh child in the family. In Crailsheim, he attended grade school and secondary school. From 1907 to 1909 he took part in an apprenticeship for city administration and maintenance in Crailsheim. By 1914 he already had several jobs as an assistant in the local city administration and prepared himself for civil service exams. However, then came World War II, which influenced this young civil servant very differently from most people in his generation. In spite of the fact that Grimminger was advanced to sergeant and received awards for bravery, he learned to detest the horror of war and became a convinced pacifist.

In Crailsheim, he became a consultant for a communal association and dealt with his war experiences by writing a novel with the title Rosel Steinbronner's Love. From now on, he became interested in the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.

Jenny und Eugen Grimminger, Sommer 1932 in Stuttgart
Jenny und Eugen Grimminger, Sommer 1932 in Stuttgart

During his work in Crailsheim's administration, Eugen Grimminger had not only official, but also personal contact since 1918 with the Scholl Family. Robert Scholl, the father of Hans and Sophie, had-like Grimminger-graduated from the School of Administration in Stuttgart, and was mayor of Ingersheim near Crailsheim from 1917 to 1919. In 1922, Grimminger married Jenny Stern, a Jew from Craillsheim. This was a type of scandal in the small city of Crailsheim. Grimminger dramatically described the situation of the young couple in his autobiography: "Now began a stealthy ostracism. Since until now we lived in a small city, we married half the city. I was asked if I weren't ashamed of myself. Our friends withdrew from us one by one. We moved to Stuttgart."

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