Nordbahnhof: Historical Research, 2019

Curated on behalf of Blood Mountain Projects

Gestapo Arrest Report of Friedrich Braun, an 18 year-old worker who was arrested and deported by the Gestapo on 25 October 1943 for not showing up at work ("Fernbleibens vom Arbeitsplatz"). On 21 January 1944 we was murdered in Auschwitz. Source: Wiener Stadt-und Landesarchiv / DOEW

Michaela Raggam-Blesch and Dieter J. Hecht, historians and research fellows at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, documented the Nordbahnhof station’s deportation history during World War Two in a new study, commissioned by The Nordbahnhof Project and published for the first time by Blood Mountain Projects in June 2019.

The total number of Jewish deportees from the Nordbahnhof station is estimated between 3,244 and 3,248 people. Most of them were deported during 1943-1945 on trains destined for Theresienstadt and the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. Between 2,141 and 2,145 of these deportees were Jews from Austria. Only 488 to 620 survived. For sources and details, please refer to the report.

In 2019, which is 80 years after these events and despite the launch of a new urban redevelopment programme that is underway since 20 years ago and led by the City of Vienna, ÖBB (Austrian national railway company), Wiener Städtische (insurance company) and Strabag (construction company); there is no commemoration of the victims of the Nordbahnhof deportation onsite, published studies or plans for such future acknowledgement onsite.

Maria Gabrielsen (née Schwarz), one of few survivors, describes the experience at the Nordbahnhof:

“At an appointed time, a truck drove up. A few men in uniform directed us to board the platform. Then we were driven to a railway station. There everything was busy. Constantly new trucks with people arrived. In the end, everything was full with Jews. The yellow stars were glaring at us. A few were standing there and discussing something. Others appeared quite despondent and had seated themselves on their suitcases. There were also a lot of children there, but they were all together with their parents. We stood together in a small group. I would have loved to have my dad with me there, he was always so good at putting everything in order…We were at a railway station with a lot of different train tracks. At one of them a train had driven up. It stood there with all the special sounds that a train generates. It wheezed and panted, while it blew off steam in between. Men in uniforms were shouting and calling out commands at all cardinal points, while their dogs with their sharp barking joined in. The entire scene made us scared.”

– Maria Gabrielsen / Oddvar Schjolberg, Angezeigt von Mama. Die Geschichte einer Denunziation, Wien 2018, 56-58. Translated by Michaela Raggam-Blesch.

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