Carl Szokoll

Carl Szokoll ( Vienna , 15 of October of 1915 – 25 of August of 2004 ), member of the Wehrmacht in which reached the degree of Commander ( major ), belonged to the Austrian resistance and participated in the attack on July 20 Of 1944 against Adolf Hitler . After World War II , he was a writer and film producer .

Early years

Szokoll was born in Vienna, son of a soldier of the Austrian army fighter in World War I who spent long years like prisoner of the Red Army . He suffered a difficult childhood due to the poverty of his family, but thanks to the excellent grades he obtained both in primary and secondary school, he was admitted as a cadet in the Austrian army in 1934 . During his military training he met his future wife, Christl Kukula , the daughter of a Viennese Jewish industrialist. After the Anschluss ( 1938 ), he had to end his commitment to Christl because the Nuremberg Laws prohibited the “Aryan race” from having sexual relations with Jewish people. Overcoming all these difficulties in secret, he managed to maintain contact with her until the end of the conflagration, and finally they married in 1946 . The fruit of his marriage was born a man.

However, because she had been associated with a “half-Jewish” woman ( Halbjüdin in the terminology of the Nuremberg laws), she was reprised and went from being part of an elite armor unit to being integrated into an ordinary infantry regiment . It participated from the beginning in the first German offensives against Poland and France . Subsequently, as a result of the injuries received in combat, he was assigned to an administrative post in the military district of Vienna.

Participation in the attack of the 20 of July of 1944

In 1943 , then- captain Szokoll was introduced in Berlin to Colonel von Stauffenberg , one of the leading leaders of the internal resistance against Nazi Germany , by Austrian Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bernardis . From February 1944 , he received monthly visits from Bernardis and, little by little, became involved in the preparation of the imminent attack.

At first, it seemed that the attempted murder by the bomb placed by Stauffenberg in the Wolfsschanze had been successful . Szokoll was at that moment with Colonel Heinrich Kodre , head of the General Staff of Vienna and one of Stauffenberg’s men.

Kodre and Szokoll, unlike their colleagues who were in Berlin at that time, achieved their objectives and managed to neutralize all the authorities of the Nazi administration and the leaders of the SS in the area. When the conspiracy leaders learned that Hitler had survived the attack, Szokoll received a direct call from Stauffenberg via a secure telephone line telling him of the plan’s failure. Although Szokoll was one of the last people to have had a telephone call with Stauffenberg, he managed to persuade the Gestapo that he was only obeying orders and was one of the few involved in the attack that managed to escape without being affected by the Grave reprisals that followed the frustrated assassination.

Szokoll savior of Vienna 

Having been promoted to commander in 1944, he sought to adopt from his post all the measures he deemed necessary to put Vienna safe from the fate which so many other European cities had suffered because of the destruction caused by the war. In early 1945 he became involved with the Austrian resistance and began to weave a network of ideologically related officers who were willing to contact the Red Army to get Vienna to be declared an open city .

Their plans were relatively successful until early April. Against the orders of Hitler that forced the Wehrmacht to fight to the last man in the defense of Vienna, the collaborators of Szokoll anticipated the immediate withdrawal of all the troops involved in the defense of the capital as soon as the Soviets did act Of presence on the outskirts of the city.

Nevertheless, the conspiracy was discovered and SS officers were in charge to persecute and to execute as quickly as possible its leaders. Obviously, they tried to capture Szokoll, but, once again, he managed to escape alive. Moreover, shortly after these incidents, it was able to be part of the so-called Operation Radetzky , the plan of the Austrian resistance to render Vienna without any fighting within the city. If not in full, one had to try to avoid the street fights during the maximum possible time. The final balance showed that the central districts, at least, were spared the savage destruction that many other European cities suffered during those tragic years.

From the moment the Wehrmacht forces withdrew, Szokoll became the provisional administrator of Vienna, which, however, did not serve to eliminate the Soviet Army’s deep mistrust towards him. In fact, they were about to take him prisoner on charges of working as a spy for the United States .

Postwar

After being rehabilitated by the Austrian government in recognition of the merits contracted in the liberation of his country, he began a career as a filmmaker and producer . Of its work it emphasizes the script of Der Bockerer , the production of Die letzte Brücke ( the last bridge , the film that made Maria Schell famous ), and the publication of its autobiography that became a bestseller .

Works

  • Der Bockerer II: Österreich ist frei . Verlag der Apfel, Wien 1997 ISBN 3-85450-128-5
  • Der gebrochene Eid . Europa-Verlag, Wien 1985 ISBN 3-203-50929-6
  • Die Rettung Wiens 1945. Mein Leben, mein Anteil an der Verschwörung gegen Hitler und an der Befreiung Österreichs . Amalthea-Verlag, Wien 2001 ISBN 3-85002-472-5