lecture by Charlotte Horst (LMU Munich)
The Aspangbahnhof as deportation site
Historical documentation, commissioned by KÖR Kunst im öffentlichen Raum (Public Art Vienna), for the competition to design a memorial to the victims of deportations at the site of the former Aspang Railway Station.
Unlike in Germany, where the Jewish population was deported from several different cities, in Austria deportations of the Jewish population were centralised from Vienna’s Aspang Railway Station in the city’s 3rd district. During the main period of deportations from Vienna that ran from February 1941 to October 1942, a large proportion of the Jewish population was deported to ghettos and extermination camps in the east from the station. Situated away from the larger stations and main railway routes and hence less frequented, it is likely that the Aspang Railway Station was chosen for this purpose quite deliberately. At the same time, the station was situated in the middle of the city. Therefore, what were often weekly transports of around one thousand Jewish women and men each did not take place unnoticed, but rather were carried out in plain sight of the Viennese population.
Between 1939 and 1945, a total of 48,953 Jews were deported from Vienna, of whom 47,035 were on one of the 47 transports that left from Vienna’s Aspang Railway Station. The destinations of deportations from Vienna were the so-called “General Government” (Nisko, Opole, Kielce, Modliborczicze, Łagów/Opatów and Izbica), Łódź (Warthegau), Riga (Latvia), Minsk and Maly Trostinec (Belarus), Theresienstadt (“Protectorate”) and Auschwitz (Upper Silesia). Only 1,073 of the Jews deported from the Aspang Railway Station survived.