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1940/41, 31 Landstraße

Sister Kamilla throws a pair of woollen socks to a French prisoner of war from the window of the convent. She is sentenced to 4 weeks in prison.

The story of Margarete Smolan, Sister Kamilla, an Ursuline nun in Linz, shows the harshness of the Nazi penalties for even minor infractions. The offence which Margarete Smolan committed was to throw a pair of woollen socks down to a French prisoner of war from the window of the convent. This act was an infringement of the law governing the Protection of Military Strength. A private observed the “incident” and reported it to his superior who told the Gestapo. The following day Margarete Smolan was picked up and interrogated. She said that she had knitted the socks for herself. However, when she saw the prisoners of war working in the snow in bare feet she decided spontaneously to thrown them down to them.

In a letter by the director of Public Prosecutions to the departmental head of Special Court Matters in the Public Prosecutor’s office in Linz, it was held in her favour that there were “no indications of a closer relationship between the accused and the prisoner of war, especially in the nature of attempted sabotage or spying activity. It is to be assumed that the accused, who has no previous convictions, acted from a false sense of pity”. Nevertheless, on the 19th of February 1941 she was sentenced to four weeks in prison and her appeal was denied.