Albert Schuler was born on May 31, 1911, in Casablanca / Morocco. Fritz Pasquay, his father, was a French officer. Since his mother, Anni Pasquay, probably was unable to take care of her baby due to health reasons, Maria Schuler, his father’s sister, and her husband Dr. Albert Schuler (Sr.) adopted her nephew when he was three months old.
Albert Schuler (Jr.) grew up in Gőppingen at Wolf Street 8, attended the Realgymnasium starting in 1917 and enrolled in the Latin class in 1921. In order to provide him with the best possible education, his parents decided that he should attend a boarding school beginning in 1926. This proved to have serious consequences for young Albert because he met James Moltke and Christoph Probst at the ‘Landerziehungsheim Schondorf’ [county boarding school] at the Ammersee. Moltke would later become a leading member of the Kreisauer Circle who opposed the Nazis; Probst became a member of ‘White Rose’, an underground organization widely known today. Their beliefs must have fallen on fertile ground with young Albert who had been raised by his parents as well as the boarding school administration to believe in liberal and strictly democratic principles. Upon completion of his secondary education in 1932 he traveled to Vienna, Rome, Berlin and Munich before beginning his studies with focus on technology in Hanover and at engineering schools in Mittweida and Zwickau.
On January 1, 1939, Albert Schuler took on the position of technical director of the Schuler Corporation. As a future member of the board of directors he made the acquaintance of leaders of the global industry and important business decision-makers. At that point, the Schuler Corporation already was a major company. There is much evidence that Albert kept in communication with regime opponents with whom he had come into contact at his boarding school and through the military. The longer the war lasted, the more hopeless the situation became, the clearer it became to Schuler that Hitler was plunging the nation into a catastrophe. „There is only one goal for us, and that is to overthrow the government. We are all awaiting the day when the Fűhrer will be killed,“ he is quoted of saying in the indictment against him, as well as „The whole gang“ - which probably meant the whole government - „must disappear so that Germany can improve again.“ According to a contemporary witness, it appears that Schuler did indeed make these careless statements and that they had not simply been fabricated. It is not clear what made him a target of the Gestapo and who denounced him. However, after the Gestapo had gathered enough evidence of ‘defeatist enemy propaganda and preparation for high treason,’ they attacked: On July 3, 1943, Albert Schuler was arrested by the Stuttgart Gestapo. He was imprisoned in Berlin until the start of the trial. On October 22, 1943, the ‘show trial’ began in front of the People’s Court headed by Freisler and Storbeck. Albert Schuler was condemned to death.
His whole family attempted to free him but failed. On November 10, 1943, his mother Maria Schuler made a plea for mercy to the People’s Court which was denied. A Dr. Vollmer, who acted under orders by the Reich Minister of Justice, requested that the execution be carried out ‘with the utmost speed.’ Frieda Pasquay, Albert Schuler’s aunt, was not permitted to visit her nephew one last time. A visit by his mother Maria was not possible due to health reasons. On December 10, 1943, Albert Schuler was executed by guillotine. At the beginning of 1944, Maria Schuler received a ‘cost accounting.’ In it she was ordered to pay for the incarceration, execution and other related costs.
For decades the fate of Albert Schuler was known only to immediate family and friends. Because of research conducted by Pia Maria Hellweg, a young relative of the Schuler family, his story now serves as a reminder of the inhumanity of the NS regime, but also as example of the courage displayed by individuals like Albert.
This text is based on an article in the NWZ [Gőppingen newspaper] on September 28, 2005, by Pia Hellweg and Markus Zecha.
On October 4, 2005, Gunther Demnig laid a Stumbling Stone in memory of Albert Schuler, the first to be placed in Gőppingen.
(February 12, 2016 ph/ir)