Eugen Grimminger and the "White Rose"

Dr. Michael Kißener

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In the state capital of Württemberg, Grimminger henceforth worked as an accountant with the agricultural cooperative in Württemberg. When the National Socialists took power in Germany in 1933, Grimminger became an outsider in two aspects: his marriage to a Jewish woman didn't fit in with the times, and his pacifism was contrary to the militarism of the National Socialists. It wasn't long until his open enmity toward national socialists cost him his job. In 1935, in spite of incontestable merit, he was dismissed from his work. Struggling for economic existence, he tried to take the exam for public accounting, which was denied him, but he could finally be sworn in as a certified public accountant through the help of a third party. Through this capacity, he now had close contact with Robert Scholl, who in the meantime worked as a public accountant and tax consultant. In August, 1942, when Robert Scholl was sentenced to a four-month prison term on account of dissidence toward the government, Grimminger, without hesitating, substituted for him in his trust company. In general, Grimminger sought contact with dissident circles in Stuttgart and helped Jews flee. There was therefore no risk involved when, in November, 1942, Hans Scholl recalled this friend of his family and, together with Alexander Schmorell, sought him out.

Besitznachweisheft des  Zuchthaus-Gefangenen Eugen Grimminger, Ludwigsburg 1943
Besitznachweisheft des Zuchthaus-Gefangenen Eugen Grimminger, Ludwigsburg 1943

During the spring and summer of 1942, the "White Rose" had already composed several flyers which had been produced in small numbers and sent laboriously through the mail to circles of people from whom support was expected. In order to really achieve something, however, thousands of flyers needed to be produced and disseminated, not only in Munich, but everywhere in Germany. For this, money was needed. Grimminger did not hesitate to give that which he could, including hard-to-get paper and envelopes to use in mailings. We cannot say how much money Grimminger gave. Even the sums stated in later interrogations held by the secret police (Gestapo) are not dependable. One fact was certain: it was so much that the "White Rose" could continue work based on this, and Hans Scholl was totally euphoric. "He thought, 'Now, now we can do something,'" a friend of Sophie Scholl's later attested. With his help, Grimminger put everything at stake: without influencing the actions of the group, he financed this betrayal against the national socialist state. If the group were exposed, it was only a question of time until someone would discover his involvement. And then his Jewish wife, who was protected only through her marriage, would be utmost endangered: "My wife imploringly asked me not to take part in the conspiracy, for her sake, for our sake. I did, nevertheless. I did it because I couldn't do otherwise. I could not continue to face all the atrocities and crimes which were taking place." Thus Grimminger himself later explained his behavior.

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