Reprisals against the Stöfflers’ Daughter Ruth

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Eugen Stöffler and his wife Johanna were critical of the Nazi weltanschauung. They endeavored to protect their six children from pernicious Nazi ideology as well as they could. Their eldest daughter Ruth, born in 1922, therefore did not join the League of German Girls (BDM).

Since she remained steadfast when the principal of the high school in Kirchheim unter Teck pressured on her to join the BDM one year before her graduation, she was not allowed to graduate and thus also unable to attend a university. In her “Memoirs of the Years 1933–1945” she wrote:

The presence of such an ‘inferior subject’ in his of all schools was surely embarrassing to the principal of our school in Kirchheim, who had been transferred there on disciplinary grounds. I was thus – this was one year before graduation – summoned to the principal’s office time and again where he talked to me insistently and threatened me that I would not be allowed to take the graduation examination if I did not join the BDM.

The school board in Stuttgart also intervened. But I continued pointing out that it was voluntary and was undeterred, but did not study especially for the graduation examinations because I did not believe that I would be allowed to take them. Three days before, a teacher came to me and said I was now allowed to take part after all. I thus tried to fill the worst gaps in history at least, which we had with that principal, by studying.

I then took the graduation examinations with the others. I did not do particularly well. We had just two weeks of school before the oral exam. At that time, a teacher approached me again and handed me twenty marks without saying a word. That was the examination fee and it was clear to me that that meant the ‘end’ for my graduation examinations. I packed my schoolbag and rode home. Attending a university was thus out of the question (Ruth Stöffler: Erinnerungen an die Jahre 1933–1945, Manuscript, p. 5f.).

Unable to attend a university, Ruth Stöffler started attending the Württemberg regional church’s confirmation teacher course, newly established in Ludwigsburg at the suggestion of the Evangelical Confessional Fellowship, in April of 1940. As a confirmation teacher, she taught children who attended Köngen parish’s voluntary religion class instead of the state weltanschauung class. Ruth Stöffler was issued a high school diploma in March of 1946 to make amends.

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  • 1+2: © Ruth Stöffler; Repreinted in: 450 Jahre Kirche und Schule in Württemberg, 290f. © Calwer Verlag, Stuttgart