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Gotthilf Fritz

Gotthilf Fritz was in charge of a home for teenage girls near Schorndorf during the war. Among them was a 16-year-old Sinti girl called Berta Georges, whose parents and nine siblings had already been deported to Auschwitz for extermination. When SS men tried several times to pick up Berta Georges from the home, Gotthilf Fritz refused to hand the girl over, which would have meant certain death for her.

Another Sinti girl called Thea Reinhardt and a Jewish girl survived the war undetected in the safety of the home. The Jewish girl also had a twin sister who lived in Stuttgart. In spite of the risk to the lives of himself and his family, Gotthilf Fritz also offered this girl sanctuary for a time, in order to save her from impending deportation. Like the whole family, the daughter of Gotthilf Fritz, Margarete Löffler, lived in the home which her father ran. She remembers:

Berta Georges

"One day an SS man came and wanted to take Berta Georges with him. My father said she was his child, he would not hand over his child. He was a deeply committed Christian and would have never been able to act any differently. There was a fierce argument, then the SS man went away without having achieved anything. A second SS man came some time later. Again he said he wanted to take Berta away.

My father knew that she would be killed in any event. We all knew what happened to the Sinti families. We had close contact with the Guttenberger family in Schorndorf, we had heard a great deal about the persecution from them. Nobody can say they knew nothing about it. My father also told the other SS man that Berta Georges was his child, and that he wouldn't hand her over. After a while, a third man came, who again said that Berta would have to come along. Father said, and I quote: 'Only over my dead body. If you want to take Berta, you'll have to arrest me first.' But the Nazis didn't dare to do this, because my father had been active in the church for a long time and was well-known in the area.

I also lived in the home with my four siblings and had very close contact with the girls. Berta was often together with us in the family, and we all knew that her parents and siblings had been deported and were well aware of the danger she was in. She felt very much at home with us and stayed in the home for another three years after the war, as she no longer had any family. She joined a group of French people in 1948. I've heard nothing from her since then. My father died on 2nd April 1955 at the age of 75." (Margarete Löffler)