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Introduction

The story

 

Anna Baier, born Geiger

My grandmother


Anna Geiger was born in the small town of Neuburg an der Donau. She grew up in the house on the Danube bridge. As a child she collects the bridge toll at the bridge.
 

On Saturday the farmers cross the bridge in horse-drawn carts and bring the saddlery for repair to their father, who is a master saddler and lives mainly from military horses. On Sundays, after going to church, there is a weekly military promenade on Karlsplatz with military music.
 

In 1918 the house was decorated with green garlands to receive the returning troops. Later, from a window on the top floor, a machine gun secures the bridge from possible November revolutionaries, but they do not come.

Military music provides the musical repertoire for Anna, she happily sings operetta songs, even in adulthood. 

In 1919 she marries Franz Xaver Baier and moves to Munich in Schlotthauerstraße, in the district Au.
 

Anna Baier gives birth to two children, first her daughter Traudel and then her son Karl in 1923.

Anna Baier lives the life of a traditional housewife. She keeps the apartment clean and prepares the food for each member of the family separately at the time they return home. Her external contacts are limited to the weekly walk to the Viktualienmarkt, the visit to the church and the walk to the sister who lives in the nearby Frauenhoferstraße. Evenings with colleagues of her husband bring much happiness and laughter. She is the clear centre of the family.
 

Anna is very nationalistic influenced by the military in Neuburg an der Donau, she hates the French, the national anthem brings tears to her eyes.

In 1933 the family moved to Auenstraße 13. The Nazis came to power.

Three Jewish families in the house disappear almost unnoticed, nobody in the house talks about it. Anna, with her clairaudience and restless sleep, investigates the disappearance, she can reconstruct the events. The gentlemen enter the stairs shortly before six o'clock, Anna hears the footsteps, clamps herself to the peephole of the apartment door, waits until the gentlemen come back, now increased by a Jewish housemate and neighbour, whom she only greeted yesterday. New people move in. Anna's national sentiment is now shaken.
 

Anna's verdict on Jews is, on the one hand, the constantly present prejudice of petty bourgeois bourgeoisie who have been damaged in business. However, this is not enough to reject or hate, but only provokes amazement at strange phenomena whose presence she avoids. "Look, this is definitely a Jew"! is spoken fearfully, respectfully before her. On the other hand, there are personal encounters and experiences. All the Jews Anna knows are good, especially those who dress up in traditional costume and speak Bavarian. 

Anna admires the great Jewish businessmen of Munich, Bamberger and Hertz, Konrad Track and Uhlfelder, who in their opinion deal more humanely with the employees than Christians.

Years later, this contradiction between abstract prejudices and personal experience has been eliminated. The persecution of the Jews clearly puts Anna on the side of the persecuted. In April 1943, she took in the Jewish lawyer Dr. Schülein, a friend of her husband's, on his flight to her flat and kept him there for fourteen days. 

At the request of the city priest of Sankt Max, Anna's proximity to the church obliges her to accept a subtenant. He is Catholic and with a Christian attitude. After a week of living together with Dr. Schülein, who was persecuted as a Jew, the subtenant is losing his patience. He says to his landlady Anna: "If you don't get the Jew out of the house immediately, I'll report you." Anna runs immediately to the city priest, who appears promptly and smoothes the waves. 

Not only does she help Dr. Schülein, she also provides shelter for persecuted Jews for several days. She also takes in a French war refugee for some time until his escape is organized. Names of the hidden persons are unfortunately not known. 

In 1937 her husband dies of tongue and mouth cancer. Her daughter Traudl also dies early because she has been infected with TBC (tuberculosis) as a nurse. 

In the war winter of 1944, Anna succeeds in extending her son Karl's recovery vacation over Christmas by one week by going to the barracks in Füssen, penetrating to company boss Spindler and refusing to leave the room without a positive result. Her son is captured in 1945 and remains in Russian captivity for four years.
 


Anyone who dares to think for oneself will act acordingly.
Bettina von Arnim

 

Sibylle Baier
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