Jewish Casualties of the First World War from Solingen

As a non-commissioned officer of Brigade Etsatz Battalion No. 27, Dr. Curt Gaertner from Solingen, a “Gerichtsassessor” or judge on probation, succumbed to a shot in the head on February 25, 1915 in France. He was the second victim from the Solingen synagogue community and was twenty-six years old. His younger brother Fritz fell two years later at the age of twenty-one. In addition to the loss of both sons, the Gaertner family also had to cope with the loss of its menswear business, which had gotten into economic difficulties due to the outbreak of the war. 

When the third son Willi was arrested in Mainz in 1938 during the pogrom night, his mother Juliane went to the Gestapo headquarters there and demanded the surrender of her son, since she had, after all, already sacrificed two sons to the fatherland. Willi Gaertner was released and was able to emigrate to the USA in 1940. 

From the Solingen synagogue community, altogether eight men and the nurse Käte Strauss died during the First World War. Several Jewish participants in the war were distinguished with the “Frontkämpferkreuz,” honoring combatants on the front. In 1920, the memorial stone for the fallen was erected adjacent to the Jewish cemetery mortuary, which was destroyed in 1938. 

Timeline Solingen

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