Rudolf Redlinghofer (born October 31,1900 in Vienna-Alservorstadt, Austria. Executed January 11, 1940 in Berlin-Plötzensee) is an Austrian victim of the Nazi regime from Krems on the Danube. As one of Jehovah´s Witnesses (also known then as Ernest Bible Students), he refused military service due to his conscientious conviction and was executed by the guillotine on January 11,1940 in Berlin-Plötzensee - The Republic of Austria reversed his sentence 58 years after his execution and Rudolf Redlinghofer became one of the first victims of the Nazi regime to be rehabilitated in Austria.
Rudolf Redlinghofer was born on October 31, 1900 in Vienna-Alservorstadt and became an Ernest Bible Student in the early 30´s. He lived with his wife, Agnes, in Krems on the Danube, Spitalgasse 3 and worked in a rock quarry near Meidling/Tal to support his family. Their daughter Regina was born on November 3, 1937. On July 25, 1939, he received draft papers assigning him to serve several weeks in Langenlois at the Training Grounds Horse-Military Hospital. Due to his conscientious refusal to support war, he wrote a letter to the Military Conscripton Office in Krems on August 5, 1940 explaining that he was not going to report for duty to fight in war for Hitler since he is a peaceable soldier of Christ. Rudolf Redlinghofer did not report for duty but continued to work for the construction company Schumm as usual. For the time being he was not taken into custody.
Letter written 16.11.1939 to his wife Agnes, explaining his conscientious conviction
On August 18,1939 he was arrested by the Gendamerie Krems due to an order issued by the Gestapo Division-St. Pölten and was imprisioned in Krems. On the following day he was transferred to the Gestapo Division-St.Pölten. In St. Pölten, to start with, one tried to break his resistance. To this purpose, his wife was ordered to stand with their small child in front of the court room to put pressure on her husband to change his conviction as he was lead past them. However Rudolf Redlinghofer remained determined in his conviction to obey God more than men.
As a result, he was transferred to the Investigational Prison Alt-Moabit in Berlin on November 13, 1939. His court case was held before the Supreme Reichs War Court on December 9, 1939. The 3. Senate of the Reichs War Court with Councilor Dr. Burckhardt as Prosecutor sentenced him to death and lifetime loss of military honors for undermining the military defense. According to the record there was no Defender present. At this time he was also denied civil rights for life.
The decision was undersigned in course of law by Schmauser, v. Goeldel, Schrot, Büscher and Block. The President of the Reichs War Court confirmed the decision on December 21, 1939. Consequently, Rudolf Redlinghofer was transferred to Berlin Plötzensee Prison and arrived there on December 30, 1939.
The defendant is sentenced to death and loss of all military honors for undermining the military defense. More over he is denied all civil rights for life. "In course of law. Signed Schmauser V. Goeldel Schroth Büscher Block".
On January 11, 1940 after just a few days in Berlin-Plötzensee Prison, he was excorted to the location of execution. After the court decision was re-read Rudolf Redlinghofer with his hands tied to his back was laid on the guillotine and beheaded. The Reichs War Court notified the Military Conscription Office in Krems of his execution on January 12, 1940. For his wife, Agnes, and their 2 year old daughter began a very difficult period of time. Agnes Redlinghofer attempted to support herself and her daughter as house-keeper and cook at an Inn. She later moved to the Heinemann Str. 5 and lived there until her death in 1987.
Agnes Redlinghofer often spoke to her daughter and grandchildren about her husbands conscientious conviction, as Jehovah´s Witness and how highly she esteemed his decision not to support Hitlers obsession with power.
A fellow Christian brother of Rudolf Redlinghofer - Peter Golles – was in prison in Stein near Krems. On April 6, 1945 - due to the approach of Russian Troops - all prisoners were to be set free and the prison vacated. During the morning, the release of prisoners took place without trouble, but in the afternoon it came to what is called the Massacre of Stein. The order was given to hunt down all released prisoners and to execute them. As a result, many prisoners were not only murdered in Krems, but it also came to mass shootings in Hadersdorf on the Kamp, Hörfarth, Paudorf and other places. Peter Golles was able to leave the prison in Stein and using back streets, found his way to Agnes Redlinghofers apartment in Krems. Agnes gave him a suit belonging to her husband Rudolf who had been executed in Berlin-Plötzensee. Wearing this suit, Peter Golles was able to escape the Massacre and arrive safely back to Vienna. In this way, Rudolf Redlinghofers suit saved the life of one of his fellow christian brothers.
Rudolf Redlinghofer was rehabilitated in 1998 from the Republic of Austria, 58 years after his execution. On October 14, 1998, the Viennese Dictrict Court reversed the former unjust Nazi decision. By doing so, is not only his conviction given appropriate honor but also his destiny escapes oblivion. Moreover, it also substantiates the fact, that loyally upholding ones conscientious conviction is not a crime.
- 25.07.1939 - Received Draft Notice to report for several weeks of practice duty
- 05.08.1939 - Letter sent to Military Conscription Office with his refusal of military service
- 18.08.1939 - Arrested and transferred to St. Pölten
- 13.11.1939 - Transferred to the Investigational Prison in Berlin-Moabit
- 09.12.1939 - Trial before Supreme Reichs War Court – Death Penalty
- 21.12.1939 - Death Penalty confirmed by President of Reichs War Court
- 30.12.1939 - Transferred to Berlin-Plötzensee Prison (location of execution)
- 11.01.1940 - Executed 6:10 a.m. By Guillotine
- 14.10.1998 - Reversal of Unjust Nazi Decision by Viennese District Court – completely rehabilitated
- 23.06.2009 - Stumbling Block put down in Krems, Spitalgasse 3
Rudolf Redlinghofer with his wife Agnes and daughter Regina taken on an excursion to the Danube
For more information as well as documents, pictures and background information: http://www.standhaft.at