• Memorial to the Victims of the Deutsch Schützen Massacre
On March 29, 1945, members of the SS shot 57 Hungarian Jews in the forest of Deutsch Schützen in southern Burgenland. The victims had been deployed as forced labourers in the construction of the so-called »Southeastern Wall«. Members of the SS and the »Hitlerjugend« (»Hitler Youth«) buried the bodies in a pit at the site.
Only 50 years later, on August 23, 1995, could the grave be recovered on initiative of the »Shalom« Association. A monument was set up the following year.
Image: Deutsch Schützen, 2000, Memorial of Deutsch Schützen, Hans Wetzelsdorfer
Deutsch Schützen, 2000, Memorial of Deutsch Schützen, Hans Wetzelsdorfer
Beginning November 1944, the SS deported tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews to the Austrian-Hungarian border area. They were forced to construct the »Southeastern Wall« - a system of fortifications meant to impede the Soviet advance.
Camps to accommodate the Jewish forced labourers from Hungary were established in Deutsch Schützen and numerous other townships in the area. As the front was drawing closer in March 1945, the SS began closing down the camps and chased most of the prisoners westwards on »death marches«.
In Deutsch Schützen, the »Hitlerjugend« leader in charge, Alfred Weber, ordered to not to send the town's 200 forced labourers marching, but to murder them on the spot. On March 29, members of the »Hitlerjugend« led the forced labourers in groups of 20 to 30 to a forest nearby. Three SS men, who had come from the front to Deutsch Schützen the day before, shot 57 people in total. An existing fire trench was used as a mass grave. The men finally interrupted the shootings, most probably due to the quick advance of the Soviet troops, and chased the remaining 150 Jews onto a march towards Hartberg in Styria.
Image: Deutsch Schützen, 2000, Memorial of Deutsch Schützen, Hans Wetzelsdorfer
Deutsch Schützen, 2000, Memorial of Deutsch Schützen, Hans Wetzelsdorfer
Members of the SS shot 57 Jewish forced labourers from Hungary in the forest of Deutsch Schützen.
Image: Deutsch Schützen, 2000, Signpost to the Memorial of Deutsch Schützen, Hans Wetzelsdorfer
Deutsch Schützen, 2000, Signpost to the Memorial of Deutsch Schützen, Hans Wetzelsdorfer
Already in May 1945, a Hungarian commission uncovered the mass grave, identified a majority of those murdered and sealed the grave again.
For decades not a word was uttered about the massacre and the mass grave, both in the town and the region as a whole. Only on August 23, 1995, could the »Shalom« Association locate the grave again, with the support of the Jewish community of Vienna and the Austrian Ministry of Interior. In the following year, they dedicated a monument on the site. In the centre of the fenced in area stands a stone slab, bearing an inscription in Hebrew, Hungarian and German which reads: »Here lie fifty seven Jewish martyrs from Hungary who were murdered by National Socialist barbarians on March 29, 1945 and buried in this forest. May their memory be blessed! In the month of December, 1995.«
Name
Denkmal für die Opfer des Massakers von Deutsch Schützen
Phone
+43 (0)664 919 490 4
Fax
+43 (0)3352 346 85
Web
http://www.refugius.at
E-Mail
info@refugius.at
Open
The memorial is accessible at all times.