When you think of the city of Klagenfurt, illustrious names of German language literary and popular culture come to mind. Robert Musil, Ingeborg Bachmann or Udo Jürgens. You will find the house where Musil was born right in front of the train station, while a sculpture of Bachmann is in one of the many parks which form a green belt around the history-laden old city centre. What brought me here, though, was a more notorious side of the city’s past or, to be more precise, that of a number of its former residents.
From 14 to 17 July 1943, eleven Soviet citizens stood trial in Krasnodar, a city in southwestern Russia. During the German occupation of the town from August 1942 to February 1943, all but one of the defendants had worked for the SS, primarily in auxiliary functions. Accused of having committed crimes under German rule, a Soviet military tribunal sentenced eight of the defendants to death, and three to long prison sentences.