Changing location was especially dangerous. The Krakauer family, for instance, used the streetcar or the train even though checks were to be expected all the time. Once they had an opportunity to ride on a truck. Once, they had to cover a longer distance on bicycles. Other means of transport included a carriage and a bus and long distances frequently had to be covered on foot – an increasing torture as their footwear steadily deteriorated. Toward the end of the war, hideouts had to be changed in ever shorter intervals of time.
The Krakauers were finally taken in by Hildegard Spieth, a pastor’s wife, in Stetten on April 11, 1945. They witnessed American troops marching in toward 4 p.m. on April 21.
Max Krakauer recalled this event:
It turned 4 p.m. and we were sitting at the coffee table when a cry from the street entered the room, “American tanks!” Bounding wildly, I rushed outside, while the women went with a few neighbors into the parsonage’s cellar. Three American soldiers slowly came up the street, keenly observing every side, followed by a jeep in which five men sat. Then a few armored cars moved around the corner and took position at the church. “They’re here!” I called to my wife and had to force myself to control my excitement.
The others also came out of the cellar with her. Then, a larger number of soldiers passed by in combat formation. The entire populace appeared before the houses. I held my wife’s arm, my fingers dug into the fabric of her coat. We would have loved to have yelled out loud.
We still had to keep quiet though, were not allowed to attract attention and draw notice to ourselves. After all, if the place would have had to be evacuated again for whatever reasons, we would have been lost and the parsonage with us. My wife looked at me and I at her, incapable of speaking a word. But our faces spoke more than any words: We would see our child again! (Krakauer, Lichter, 149).
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- © Photo: Konrad Autenrieth, Kernen-Stetten