Anton Jungwirth

Anton Jungwirth was born at Oberndorf (Salzburg) on the 25th of September 1889. Following the early death of his father in 1895 he attended a boarding school at Feldkirch (Vorarlberg) and finally his mother moved with the children to Innsbruck, her hometown, in 1904. At Innsbruck, Anton Jungwirth started to study law at the Leopold-Franzens-Universität in 1908. In 1910/11 he served as a one year volunteer with the 1st regiment of the Tiroler Kaiserjäger and successfully passed the first state examination in law (Erste Staatsprüfung) in 1913. Because his family was not rich he had to work in addition to his studies as an editor for a Tyrolian newspaper. With the outbreak of war in 1914 he was immediately called to arms as a Fähnrich in Feldjäger Bataillon number 19, going directly to the eastern front in Galicia.

As a platoon commander Fähnrich Jungwirth took part in all the actions of his unit in Russian Poland. On the 22nd and 23rd of October 1914 we find him and his men south of Ivangorod on the left bank of the Vistula river in General der Kavallerie Viktor Dankl's 1st army as a part of the 14th Infantry Division. The Austro-Hungarian troops were held by superior Russian forces with well placed machine-guns and the marshy country between both armies was a knee deep morass. The situation became critical and Fähnrich Jungwirth's platoon was the nearest to the enemy and he therefore decided to attack. Collecting all the men he could get, he assaulted the much superior Russian forces with a group in about company strength. The Russians were so surprised that it worked, the whole battalion followed the example of this brave Fähnrich and at the end of this day they had captured 13 Russian officers, including a battalion commander, 620 NCOs and men, 4 machine guns and over 200 hand grenades! For this fine example of heroism Fähnrich Anton Jungwirth was honored with the award of the Golden Bravery Medal. From today's point of view it is interesting to notice that the recommendation for the medal was made on the 24th of October 1914, he received the medal on the 1st of December 1914 from his battalion commander, the date of the imperial decree was given as the 31st of December 1914 and the award was published in the Personalverordnungsblatt on the 6th January 1915 - and this was the procedure under nearly "peacetime" conditions at the beginning of the war. One could imagine how long it would take in 1917 or 1918! 

Oberleutnant Jungwirth with his fianceé, mother and sister in October 1915 Fähnrich Jungwirth is also a fine example of another awarding practice: When the war started in 1914 the need for orders and metals was much higher than in any previous war because of the huge number of personnel engaged and on the other hand precious metals, especially gold were rare and it was therefore decided that all older types of Golden Bravery Medals should be utilized from stock and this is why many of the Golden Bravery Medals which were awarded in 1914 and early 1915 were not of the 3rd type (1866-1916) but of the 2nd type (1859-1866) and even of the 1st type (1848-1859) production. If one looks closer at the original photos of Anton Jungwirth, one can see that he received a medal of the 1848 type!

On the 1st of November 1914 Anton Jungwirth was promoted to Leutnant in der Reserve with seniority number 4264 and on the 21st of November 1914 he received a commendation of the Kaiser which allowed him to wear the Bronze Military Merit Medal (Signum Laudis) with war decoration.

Oberleutnant der Reserve Anton Jungwirth, 1938For his performance during the battles near Novo-Aleksiniec in the autumn of 1915 he was honored with an accelerated promotion to Oberleutnant in der Reserve on the 13th of September 1915 and on the 29th of October 1915 again received the commendation of the Kaiser which allowed him to wear the Silver Military Merit Medal (Signum Laudis) with war decoration . These awards and a light wound allowed him to have a longer leave at home with his mother and his intended, Elsa Schober, at Innsbruck. Returning to the frontlines he again distinguished himself and was honored by the award of the Military Merit Cross 3rd class with war decoration on the 16th of December 1916 and was recognized by the German allies with the award of the Iron Cross 2nd class in the Spring of 1917. When the sword emblems were introduced in 1917 he received them retroactively for all his previously awarded decorations and of course he received the Karl-Truppen-Kreuz.

After the war Dr. Anton Jungwirth did his prescribed law court practice at the Landesgericht Innsbruck and married Elsa Schober on the 20th of August 1919 with whom he had a son, Walther, born in 1920. After a year as an aspirant lawyer at the law practice of Dr. Richard Steidle he successfully passed his last examinations and on the 1st of January 1922 opened his own law practice in Innsbruck . Over the years Dr. Jungwirth was also engaged with the Tyrolean lawyers' association (Tiroler Rechtsanwaltskammer) and was during his later years elected vice-president of this professional association. After the occupation of Austria by German troops in March 1938 he was called up into the German Wehrmacht and sent on a training course for reserve officers in Bregenz. He took part in the occupation of the Sudetenland and in the war against Poland in 1939. During the war he was employed on occupation duties in France and finally, in the meantime having been promoted to Hauptmann der Reserve, in Norway. His only son Walther Jungwirth was killed in action as a Leutnant on the invasion front. Dr. Anton Jungwirth died on the 3rd of May 1966 at Innsbruck and was buried there at the Mühlauer Friedhof.

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