Edith and Richard Nägler (photo 1943). © Schweizerisches Bundesarchiv, Bern
Edith and Richard Nägler (photo 1943). © Schweizerisches Bundesarchiv, Bern

Richard Nägler was warned by his employer Kurt Würz about the selective Gestapo summons in Frankfurt. Kurt Würz who was a member of the Nazi party had heard that Nägler’s Jewish wife Edith was in danger, because the goal of he Hessen-Nassau region was to present itself as being “free of Jewish people”.

Nägler knew what this meant, because a year earlier the Frankfurt unemployment office had offered him a job at the IG Farben factory. The place of employment was Auschwitz. He was unable to forget the trip and the subsequent tour of the inhuman and brutal conditions in Auschwitz in spring 1942. He declined this job and found another job in Kurt Würz’s printing company. He knew his colleagues well enough in spring 1943 so that he was aware of their attitude towards the Nazi regime.

He therefore turned to a colleague from Singen in Baden-Württemburg, which bordered on Switzerland, and asked if the latter knew of any possibility to cross the green border. After the colleague Richard Jäckle had consulted his family in Singen a place was found close to Gottmadingen, which would serve as an appropriate escape crossing point. The path led from the back of the cemetery and through a deep protected hollow directly to the customs house Buch on the Swiss side. The only thing one had to be careful of was that the German border guards, who were housed in Murbach (from which the crossing point could not be seen), had withdrawn. Edith Nägler arrived in the village disguised as if she was going for a walk, used the opportunity and ran to the Swiss customs house. Not only did she manage to escape, a couple of weeks later Richard Nägler also managed to escape and avoid a Gestapo summons. .

Richard Nägler’s memories regarding the escape considerations for his wife Edith (drawings after 1945). © Marcel Nägler
Richard Nägler’s memories regarding the escape considerations for his wife Edith (drawings after 1945). © Marcel Nägler
See: Petra Bonavita: Mit falschem Pass 
und Zyankali, Stuttgart 2009, pages 148-156.

[german version]

One thought on “Salvation at the Swiss Customs House

  1. Das Schweizer Zollhaus ist die Rettung – rettungs.widerstand

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