• Stalag XVIII C »Markt Pongau«
In March 1941, the Wehrmacht began constructing the POW camp Stalag XVIII C »Markt Pongau«. The camp was located in Markt Pongau (today: Sankt Johann im Pongau) in the northwest of Austria, close to Salzburg. The prisoners of war - mostly from France and the Soviet Union - had to perform forced labour in nearby factories and in agriculture.
Today, various memorials, gravestones and memorial plaques commemorate the almost 4,000 victims of the camp, the majority of them Soviet prisoners of war.
Image: Markt Pongau, undated, Main road in the prisoner of war camp »Markt Pongau«, Archiv Mooslechner/Stadler
Markt Pongau, undated, Main road in the prisoner of war camp »Markt Pongau«, Archiv Mooslechner/Stadler

Image: Sankt Johann im Pongau, 2006, Memorial stone at the »Russian Cemetery«, Annemarie Zierlinger
Sankt Johann im Pongau, 2006, Memorial stone at the »Russian Cemetery«, Annemarie Zierlinger
In March 1941, the Wehrmacht began constructing a POW camp for around 10,000 prisoners of war in the town of Markt Pongau. The Stalag (short for »Stammlager«) was still under construction when the first prisoners were brought there from France in the summer of 1941.
Until the end of 1941, the number of prisoners of war rose to 30,000. Most of those held in the so-called »South Camp« were French, Serbian and Polish prisoners; Soviet prisoners of war were housed in the »North Camp« which was established later. Due to overcrowding in the barracks, many of the prisoners were forced to stay in tents. The prisoners of war had to work in factories and agriculture.
The Soviet prisoners, whom the National Socialist racist ideology deemed »inferior«, were exposed to particularly harsh conditions. Thousands of them died of malnourishment and illnesses. Although they made up only about a third of the camp's prisoners, the number of deaths among the Soviet prisoners was by far the highest. The camp administration set up a special cemetery in the vicinity of the camp, the so-called »Russian Cemetery«.
Image: Markt Pongau, undated, Main road in the prisoner of war camp »Markt Pongau«, Archiv Mooslechner/Stadler
Markt Pongau, undated, Main road in the prisoner of war camp »Markt Pongau«, Archiv Mooslechner/Stadler

Image: Sankt Johann im Pongau, 2006, Memorial stone at the »Russian Cemetery«, Annemarie Zierlinger
Sankt Johann im Pongau, 2006, Memorial stone at the »Russian Cemetery«, Annemarie Zierlinger
In all, about 4,000 prisoners of war perished in the camp. The majority - around 3,700 - came from the Soviet Union.
Image: Markt Pongau, undated, Gathering the dead, with the tent camp for Soviet prisoners of war in the background, Archiv Mooslechner/Stadler
Markt Pongau, undated, Gathering the dead, with the tent camp for Soviet prisoners of war in the background, Archiv Mooslechner/Stadler

Image: Sankt Johann im Pongau, 2004, Memorial ceremony at the »Russian Cemetery« with pupils from Sankt Johann, Annemarie Zierlinger
Sankt Johann im Pongau, 2004, Memorial ceremony at the »Russian Cemetery« with pupils from Sankt Johann, Annemarie Zierlinger
Today, various memorials, memorial plaques and gravestones at the municipal cemetery and the »Russian Cemetery« commemorate the victims of the POW camp. Most of the victims are buried in the »Russian Cemetery«. There, monuments honour the 3,600 prisoners, of those 3,542 were from the Soviet Union.
The community of Sankt Johann im Pongau, the Austrian Ministry of Interior and the War Graves Commission »Black Cross« are responsible for the maintenance of this memorial site. What's more, for decades individuals and pupils from the town have been getting involved in keeping the memory of the camp and its victims alive.
Image: Sankt Johann im Pongau, 2006, Memorial stone in the »Russian Cemetery«, Annemarie Zierlinger
Sankt Johann im Pongau, 2006, Memorial stone in the »Russian Cemetery«, Annemarie Zierlinger

Name
Stalag XVIII C »Markt Pongau«
Phone
+43 (0) 641 280 010
Fax
+43 (0) 641 280 05
Web
http://www.erinnern.at
E-Mail
office@stjohannimpongau.at
Open
The memorials and the municipal cemetery are accessible at all times.