41 DAYS

End of the War 1945 - Culmination of Violence


14 October to 11 November 2015

Graz, Joanneumsviertel / Universalmuseum Joanneum

Vienna, 16 April to 3 July 2015

An Exhibition on the Heldenplatz and in the Äußeres Burgtor (Outer Castle Gate)


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Timeline March 29–May 8, 1945 (german | english)

 

March 29

Soviet troops cross the border of today’s Austria at Klostermarienberg, Burgenland.

Beginning of death marches from the “South-East Wall” in direction of Mauthausen. Massacres against Hungarian-Jewish forced laborers at Deutsch-Schützen, Sankt Margarethen, and Bad Deutsch-Altenburg

 

March 30

The Soviets advance to Mattersburg.

 

March 31

Fighting for Rechnitz

Death-march massacre at Loretto, Burgenland

April 1

Wiener Neustadt and Eisenstadt are liberated by the Red Army.

Attacks of the Schweitzer combat group of the SS on Rechnitz cause thousands of casualties.

The death marches reach Graz.

 

April 2

Heaviest Allied bomb raid against Graz

The Red Army reaches Baden near Vienna.

Vienna is declared a “defense zone” by Gauleiter Baldur von Schirach, who also imposes martial law.

The Gestapo and the Waffen-SS commit a massacre against resistance fighters, Hungarian-Jewish forced laborers, and POWs at the SS barracks at Graz-Wetzelsdorf.

Evacuation of the concentration sub-camp Peggau—fifteen inmates unfit to march are murdered.

 

April 3

Soviet troops liberate Gloggnitz.

In Linz-Hörsching, the U.S. air force pilot Walter P. Manning is murdered.

April 4

“Operation Radetzky” is launched. Staff Sergeant Ferdinand Käs gets in contact with the Red Army at Hochwolkersdorf.

Marshal Fyodor Ivanovich Tolbukhin issues a proclamation to the Austrian population, saying that “The Red Army came to Austria not as a conquering army but as a liberation army.”

The death marches are continued from Graz. Those unable to march are murdered in Graz-Liebenau, Gratkorn, Klöch, and Mixnitz.

Shootings of “deserters” in Graz and Hieflau

 

April 5

The Red Army reaches the western outskirts of Vienna (“Western Enclosure”).

Provisions depots and shops in Vienna are plundered by the population.

“Operation Radetzky” is betrayed, leading to the arrest of Major Karl Biedermann, Captain Alfred Huth, and First Lieutenant Rudolf Raschke. “Operation Radetzky” thus has failed.

Kurt Horeischy and Hans Vollmer are shot trying to prevent the electron microscope at the University of Vienna to be destroyed.

The prison of the Vienna provincial court is evacuated. Most of the inmates are released. Forty-six people are marched to Stein as a chain gang.

April 6

Launch of the Soviet attack on Vienna

Street and house fighting in Favoriten and Simmering

Hitler’s “Nero Decree” is issued in Vienna: it says “Vienna, right of the Danube River,” meaning that all war-important facilities and infrastructures right of the Danube Canal are to be destroyed.

The Gestapo headquarters on Morzinplatz is evacuated.

Massacre in the course of the evacuation of the prison in Krems-Stein. Escaped convicts are hunted down and murdered (“Krems hare hunt”)—at least 385 people are killed.

Otto Koblicek is shot trying to prevent the destruction of the Simmering gasworks in Vienna by the SS.

April 7

Hundreds of German soldiers defect from their units in Vienna and are provided with civilian clothes and put up in hiding by the population.

Resistance fighters hoist the red-white-red flag on the Vienna City Hall.

Death-march massacre on the Präbichl mountain pass in Styria—about two-hundred Hungarian-Jewish forced laborers are murdered.

Shooting of sixty-one people in Haderdorf am Kamp (“Krems hare hunt”)

 

April 8

Evacuation of the POW camp at Krems-Gneixendorf. Several thousand internees are set to march westward in long columns.

The Red Army reaches the Gürtel Beltway in Vienna.

Major Karl Biedermann, Captain Alfred Huth, and First Lieutenant Rudolf Raschke are publicly executed on Floridsdorfer Spitz square.

April 9

German troops clear out of the Vienna city center and retreat across the Danube Canal, blowing up the bridges behind them. Soviet troops reach the Ringstraße Boulevard.

Between April 7 and 11, seventeen Hungarian-Jewish forced laborers are shot in Prebensdorf (Styria)..

April 10

The Red Army reaches the Danube Canal.

A white flag is hoisted on St. Stephen’s Cathedral. An order to take the church under fire as retaliation is refused by Captain Gerhard Klinkicht.

Execution of eighteen suspected partisans in the Hebalm area between Styria and Carinthia

April 11

Soviet troops cross the Danube Canal. Heavy fighting in the Prater area. Shortly after, large sections of the 2nd and 22nd district are liberated.

Decree no. 1 of the Soviet Military Commandant of Vienna “to maintain normal life and public order”

A provisional Austrian civil administration is set up by members of the O5 resistance movement at Palais Auersperg.

The SS commits a massacre in Förstergasse 7 in Vienna.

“Deserters,” “defectors,” and “self-mutilators” are executed in Amstetten and Hieflau.

Shooting of eighteen Hungarian-Jewish forced laborers in Nestelbach by the Waffen SS and the Organisation Todt

April 12

Flying sparks set St. Stephen’s on fire.

Fighting on the Danube Canal

Shooting of two American airmen ordered by Gauleiter August Eigruber at the Mauthausen concentration camp

 

April 13

The battle for Vienna is over.

Two people are sentenced to death under martial law and executed for “Wehrkraftzersetzung” (undermining of military morale) in the prison in Krems-Stein.

In St. Pölten, thirteen members of a resistance group are arrested, sentenced by a drumhead court, and executed in Hammerpark.

In Göstling, a Waffen-SS unit burns a hut camp housing seventy-six Hungarian-Jewish forced laborers—men, women, children— to the ground; the inmates are murdered.

At Großraming, Hungarian-Jewish forced laborers who are unfit to march are shot and thrown into the Enns River.

April 14

Fighting north and north-west of Vienna

 

April 15

St. Pölten is liberated by the Red Army.

The Österreichische Zeitung [Austrian Newspaper] comes out in Vienna.

Forty-four death-row inmates from the prison of the provincial court of Vienna are murdered in the penitentiary in Stein.

SS members murder ninety-six Hungarian-Jewish forced laborers near Randegg, Lower Austria.

April 16

Nazi newspapers run the slogan “Berlin stays German— Vienna will be German again!”

The death march from the hopelessly overcrowded Mauthausen concentration camp to Gunskirchen begins.

U.S. pilot Donald H. Stott is shot by a SA patrol near Ried im Innkreis, Upper Austria.

April 17

Theodor Körner is appointed provisional Mayor of Vienna.

Five Wehrmacht soldiers are shot for alleged desertion by members of the 9th Mountain Division in Steinhaus am Semmering.

April 18

The Vienna Municipality takes up work again.

In the Triesting Valley, forty Hungarian-Jewish forced laborers are murdered. Ninety-seven Hungarian-Jewish forced laborers are shot in the streets of Enns, Upper Austria.

April 19

 

In Gresten, sixteen Hungarian-Jewish forced laborers—two men, two children, and twelve women—are driven into a water ditch and shot by the Waffen SS.

April 20

Negotiations for the formation of an Austrian government begin.

In Klagenfurt-Kreuzbergl, Raimund Ziegler is executed for partisan activity; he is one of at least sixteen soldiers executed at the military shooting range at the end of the war.

April 21

Heavy American bombing of Attnang-Puchheim

In the prison in Krems-Stein, the commander of the POW camp at Krems-Gneixendorf, Captain Hauptmann Franz Schweiger, as well as First Lieutenant Kilian and Sergeant Zelenka are executed for “desertion”.

Near Lilienfeld, Lower Austria, six people are killed by morphine injection in a camp for resettlers from South Tyrol.

April 22

 

 

April 23

The first issue of the daily Neues Österreich is published.

The Tyrolean resistance fighter Robert Moser is tortured to death by Gestapo members in Innsbruck.

Inmates from the concentration camp at Ebensee, who had been forced to help clear out the damage after a bomb raid against Attnang-Puchheim on April 21, are shot.

April 24

The Soviets halt their advance and hold the line between St. Pölten and Mistelbach.

“Socialists’ murders” in Freistadt, Upper Austria. Five people are shot.

April 25

American and Soviet troops meet at Elbe River near Torgau, Germany.

Linz is hit hard by the last heavy bomb raid against an Austrian city.

The water and power supply is restored for the most part of Vienna.

Rampant “airmen lynchings”: in and around Linz, shot-down allied aircraft crew members are hunted down, mistreated, and murdered.

At the Peršmanhof, Carinthia, SS police kill almost an entire family who have given refuge to partisans.

April 26

Formation of the provisional Austrian government

In Prein an der Rax, Lower Austria, seventeen alleged “Socialists” are murdered. Some bodies are put on public display.

April 27

Declaration of independence and founding of the Second Republic

 

April 28

U.S. troops advance into Tyrol and enter into Upper Austria near Passau.

In Weyer, Upper Austria, and in Mariazell, Styria, “deserters” are sentenced to death by a flying drumhead and executed.

In Treffling, Upper Austria, five people are executed for trying to remove an anti-tank obstacle at Peilstein.

April 29

The provisional government enters the Parliament Building. The government policy declaration is publicly announced. A Soviet military band plays the Blue Danube waltz on Ringstraße. Many people dance on Ringstraße Boulevard.

French troops set foot on Austrian ground in Vorarlberg.

Last gassing of inmates at the Mauthausen concentration camp: the Gauleiter of Oberdonau, August Eigruber, orders Upper-Austrian resistance fighters to be executed.

Last sentence passed by the martial court in the prison in Krems-Stein: three people are sentenced to death and executed.

April 30

By order of Mayor Theodor Körner, street signs with Nazi names are pasted over. The Adolf Hitler Square is renamed to “Rathausplatz.”

Adolf Hitler commits suicide in the underground shelter of the Reich Chancellery in Berlin.

 

In Hohenweiler, Vorarlberg, a person is shot for raising a white flag.

In Braunau, Upper Austria, a “deserter” is executed.

May 1

U.S. troops move into Upper Austria south of the Danube River.

Heavy fighting between German and American troops on Fern Pass in Tyrol

Twenty people die in Salzburg in the last allied bomb raid flown against an Austrian city.

Lieutenants Anton Renz and Helmut Falch are murdered by the SS for trying to prevent the bridge in Lauterach, Vorarlberg, from being blown up.

Thirteen resistance fighters are shot at the shooting range at Treffling, Upper Austria.

May 2

French troops liberate Bregenz.

Capitulation of the German troops in Western Austria and Upper Italy

In Hofamt Priel, Lower Austria, Waffen SS men murder 228 Hungarian-Jewish forced laborers.

Two brothers, Josef und Otto Morscher, are shot near Götzis, Vorarlberg.

May 3

Innsbruck is liberated by resistance fighters and surrendered to U.S. troops without a fight.

In front of the Altes Landhaus in Innsbruck resistance fighter Franz Mair is lethally wounded in a skirmish with SS troops on the retreat.

In Bludenz, Vorarlberg, a resistance fighter dies in the assault on the Nazi Kreisleitung (district party headquarters).

May 4

Salzburg is surrendered to U.S. troops.

Around Itter Castle in Northern Tyrol fighting occurs between scattered SS troops on the one side and American and Wehrmacht soldiers on the other.

The camp at Gunskirchen, Upper Austria, is liberated. The American troops arrive to a scene of horror.

Shootings of “deserters” in Altenberg, St. Kathrein am Hauenstein, and Schildbach, Eastern Styria

May 5

Linz is liberated.

The concentration camp complex of Mauthausen and Gusen is liberated.

In Hartberg, Styria, thirteen people suspected of resistance are  executed on the main square.

May 6

British troops reach the border of Carinthia.

The concentration camp at Ebensee is liberated.

Shooting of three “deserters” in Hermagor, Carinthia, shortly before British troops advance into town

May 7

Capitulation of the Army Group “Ostmark”

 

May 8

Lienz is liberated by British troops.

Unconditional surrender of the German Reich: end of the war

 

May 9

 

Near Vordernberg, Styria, two people are shot by returning SS troops for carrying a red-white-red flag.

Around May 10

 

Nine Jewish forced laborers are made to join a group of SA and Volkssturm men on their march into the mountains (Störingalpe) near Übelbach (Styria). Soon after that, they are all murdered.

 

 

Eine Ausstellung der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften / Institut für Kulturwissenschaften und Theatergeschichte und der Universität Graz / Institut für Geschichte in Kooperation mit dem Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung und Sport

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung von: