Franz Thaler

Franz Thaler was born in Reinswald in South Tyrol on 6 March 1925.
In the referendum ("Option") in 1939 his father decided that the whole family should remain Italian citizens. Despite this Thaler was called up to do military service in the German Wehrmacht in 1944 at the age of 19. Instead of enlisting he fled to the mountains, but gave himself up when his family was threatened with reprisals. He was arrested and sent to Dachau where he spent about five months. When the Americans arrived in Dachau he became a prisoner-of-war of the Americans and was taken to a camp in France, where he was finally set free and allowed to return home. After the war he became a craftsman in quill embroidery, and continued to work until his recent retirement. After publishing his memoir of Dachau in 1988 ("Unvergessen", now available in Raetia Verlag, Bolzano), he did educational work with young people, which included accompanying them on trips to Dachau. In 1997 he received the Verdienstkreuz des Landes Tirol (Order of Merit of the Land of Tyrol) and in 2011 he was awarded the honorary citizenship of Bolzano.
Franz Thaler died on 29. October 2015 in Sarnthein, South Tyrol.