Who was Paul Grüninger?
[Brackets include information from the Commemoration flyer published by the Peter and Paul Parish in Aarau]
The police chief of St. Gallen, Captain Paul Grüninger (1891-1972) rescued [an estimated 3600 Jewish] and many other refugees from Nazi persecution and destruction in 1938 and 1939, when he was in his late 40s.
In spite of the Swiss border closing, he allowed them in to St. Gallen, ignoring the orders of the Federal Government and also violating the Law [changing dates and otherwise changing visas and other documents] in order to protect the refugees.
In 1939, Paul Grüninger was summarily dismissed by the St. Gallen government. In 1940, he was condemned in a St. Gallen trial for violating his official duty and forgery of documents. He was ostracized and later forgotten. He lived in poverty until he died.
In 1993, Paul Grüninger was politically rehabilitated by the St. Gallen cantonal government. In 1994, the Swiss Federal Council published a full apology for Paul Grüninger.
In 1995, the St. Gallen district court reopened the trial of Captain Paul Grüninger and issued a legal acquittal.
In 1998, the Grand Council of Canton St. Gallen voted to award a material reparation and compensated Paul Grüninger’s descendants for the loss of his original salary and pension due to the captain’s summary dismissal. The descendants gave the entire amount to the Paul Grüninger Foundation. [PGStiftung]]
Books – Über jüdische Flüchtlinge, Schlepper, Landjäger, Zöllner, Bauern und einen Polizeioffizier mit Gewissen. Ein Buchhinweis: Stefan Keller: «Grüningers Fall. Geschichten von Flucht und Hilfe», WoZ im Rotpunktverlag, 1998 (4. Auflage)