Starting in 1939, Jews in Poland were forced into ghettos. In the summer of 1941, the Nazis started campaigns of mass-shootings in Eastern Europe. The first extermination camp was established that autumn. At the Wannsee conference on January the 20th, 1942, senior Nazi officials dealt with the organisation and implementation of the plan to murder the Jews of Europe.
Among the major perpetrators of Nazi crimes were a few people from Vorarlberg: The physician Irmfried Eberl from Bregenz, for example, was involved with the programme to kill the physically and mentally disabled and went on to become the first commander of the extermination camp at Treblinka.
When the Second World War began in September 1939, there were almost 70,000 people living in what had been Austria who were classified as Jews according to the Nazi Nuremberg race laws. They were either forced to move to Vienna or deported directly to concentration camps.
Mass deportations to the Theresienstadt concentration camp began in June 1942. It was intended to house old people and as a temporary holding point for people destined for the extermination camps. More than 65,000 Austrian Jews were deported to camps, a little over two thousand of them survived.
Of the 700 Jews living in Tyrol, a third were murdered. There were about 45 in Vorarlberg, at least sixteen of them were deported and killed. The fate of many others has still not been established. More than sixty others were persecuted because they were classified as part-Jewish. Of the eight Jews living in Hohenems in 1939, none survived. next ►