It is estimated that, in March 1938, approximately 201,000 people were living in Austria who were considered Jewish according to the Nazi definition of the Nuremberg Racial Laws. Of these, 181,882 were members of one of the various Jewish community organisations in Austria – 167,249 alone in Vienna. In the course of 1938/39, the Jewish population in the Austrian provinces was expelled and forced to relocate to Vienna, after which the local Jewish community organisations were successively abolished. Following a first major wave of escape and emigration, 91,530 individuals who were considered Jewish according to Nazi definitions remained in Vienna in May 1939. Vienna thus had the highest number of Jews of any city in the entire German Reich.
Unlike in Germany, where the Jewish population was deported from several different cities, the central place for the deportation of the Jewish population in Austria was Vienna. The majority of the Austrian Jewish population was deported between February 1941 and October 1942 from Vienna’s Aspangbahnhof. About 45,527 women, men and children were deported in 45 transports to ghettos and extermination sites in the East. After the conclusion of the mass deportations, smaller individual transports continued between 1943 and 1945, leaving from Vienna’s northern railway station, the Nordbahnhof. About 2,141 Austrians defined as Jewish were deported from there, mainly to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz; a few dozen also to other concentration camps such as Buchenwald and Mauthausen. While research has already been conducted on mass deportations from the Aspangbahnhof, deportations from the Nordbahnhof still represent a lacuna in Holocaust studies.
This project will systematically document and analyse deportations from Vienna’s Nordbahnhof station in the years from 1943 to 1945 on the basis of the available source materials. In light of the currently ongoing “Nordbahnhof” urban development project, this study is highly significant not only in terms of research, but also in terms of sociopolitical relevance.