Story Of The Week: Professor Karl Görlacher

Our story this week comes from Rainer Görlacher of Karlsruhe, whose grandfather Karl Görlacher of Ettlingen fought in the Great War.

Karl was born on September 21, 1869 in Villingen. He married Sophie Regensburger, born on February 19, 1880 in Eppingen. Their marriage took place on November 20, 1900 in Freiburg.

Karl and Sophie lived in the Bismarckstrasse in Ettlingen, and Karl worked as a teacher at the local school - the Realprogymnasium with Realschule - where he held the title of Professor.

Karl and Sophie Görlacher

By the outbreak of war in 1914, Karl and Sophie had three children: Gertrud, born in 1901 in Heidelberg, Hans, born in 1903 in Ettlingen and Werner, born in 1905 in Ettlingen.

Although Karl was almost 45 when the Great War broke out, he was called up to fight in August 1914. Karl held the rank of "Hauptmann der Landwehr", which is equivalent to a Captain.

This extract from the school's accounts records of December 10, 1914 shows that "the married Professor Karl Görlacher, employed at the Realprogymnasium with Realschule in Ettlingen has been called up as Hauptmann der Landwehr following military mobilization. According to notification by the military authorities, he will receive his monthly salary as 'battlefield remuneration' in August and September 1914 and from October 1, 1914 he will receive a monthly salary as a Hauptmann at the Ettlingen Military Preparation Establishment". (The figures in Reichsmark have been eliminated in this photo).

In his "War Diary" of 1914, Dr. Richard Barth, editor of Ettlingen's newspaper "Mittebadische Courier", reported the following on September 2, 1914. Here, he mentions that Professor Görlacher, brought wounded to the lazarett in Ettlingen, provides news on the fighting at the Vosges in France:
"At 12 o'clock, Town Councillor Buhl came to my office. He reported that wounded soldiers transported to Karlsruhe brought the news that the French had once again penetrated German territory at Saarburg. He reminded me that the French Supreme Commander had announced that he would send his troops to the threatened northern part of France. Buhl believes that this maneuver was intended to confuse the Germans, as our wounded arriving from Alsace, such as the sick Professor Görlacher, report that the French have large numbers of armed forces at the Vosges. He considers it worrying that we are no longer hearing anything from the army of the Crown Prince of Bavaria [Prince Ruprecht of Bavaria] other than that they have stalled at the fort belt and the last news we had was that they and the army of the Crown Prince [presumably of Germany, Prince Wilhelm] are in battle with the French.

Karl with his pupils, a pre-war photo

Strict accounts of the payments to men called up to fight from the school were kept in the school's accounts records.
Karl's entry is shown on the left (the figures in Reichsmark have been eliminated in the photo).

Karl together with his colleagues. An arrow has been inserted to show where Karl is standing.

Karl survived the war and returned to Ettlingen, where he once again took up his position as Professor at the school. He and Sophie had one more child, sadly, their son was stillborn on July 28th, 1919.

This photo shows Karl with his colleagues in the 1920s. Karl is standing directly in front of the stove. In contrast with the photo above, there are now four ladies on the teaching staff.

Karl died on March 9, 1943 in Karlsruhe, but he is buried in Ettlingen. Sophie died on May 24, 1945 in Furtwangen.

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