Mass grave for the 228 victims of Hofamt Priel

A mass grave at the Jewish cemetary in St. Pölten contains the mortal remains of 226 Hungaro-Jewish forced labourers – men, women and children – who had been shot by SS-men during the night of May 2nd,1945 at Hofamt Priel close to Ybbs Persenbeug (Lower Austria). The perpetrators, who must have also received local assistance, could never be traced and therefore not convicted either.  In 1964, the remains were transferred to the Jewish cemetary St. Pölten and buried in a mass grave. The plain memorial stone bears the inscription „Here rest the mortal remains of 223 Israelite martyrs of 1945“ and a Hebrew translation. The number of victims was taken from the list of camp inmates at that time. The names of those buried are not documented on the stone.

The former member of the Injoest, Eleonore Lappin-Eppel compiled a |list of names| based on various lists and documents. The list was published in 2006 and while it is probably not complete it does reflect our current knowledge. Ms Lappin-Eppel‘s investigations led to 228 victims; of some the first name is not known. There were nine survivors, amongst them the then eleven-year-old Tibor (today Jakob) Schwarcz. His mother and both sisters are amongst the victims.  Jakob Schwarcz, who has been living in Israel since 1950, regularly visited the grave and left a name list and prayer books.

On May 3rd, 2015 – the 70th anniversary of the massacre – the murder victims were finally given a memorial stone containing all their names. The stone setting took place at the Ceremonial Hall at the Jewish Cemetary St. Pölten (Karlstettener Straße 3) with more than 100 attendants. Two of Jakob Schwarcz‘s four children as well as his grandshild Ori contributed on a personal level. Politicians, sponsors, granddaughter Na'ama and two descendents of Georg Forsthofer, who had concealed Tibor for two weeks after the massacre, and further supporters read out the names of all the victims. Chief cantor Shmuel Barzilai sang the funeral prayer El male rachamim („God full of compassion“) and then Jakob Schwarcz prayed the Kaddish. The Injoest will now initiate the nomination of Georg Forsthofer at Yad Vashem to be recognised as „Righteous Among the Nations“.

A short contribution in the local Austrian Broadcasting (ORF NÖ) can be found |here|

Publications

Eleonore Lappin, Susanne Uslu-Pauer, Manfred Wieninger, Ungarisch-jüdische Zwangsarbeiter in Niederösterreich 1944/45. St. Pölten 2006 (=Studien und Forschungen aus dem Niederösterreichischen Institut für Landeskunde 45, NÖ Schriften Wissenschaft 167)

Daraus die Beiträge:

  • Eleonore Lappin-Eppel, Das Massaker von Hofamt Priel. |Download |
  • Dies., Die Opfer von Hofamt Priel – Namen, Tagebücher und autobiographische Berichte. |Download|

Manfred Wieninger, „Das Dunkle und das Kalte. Reportagen aus den Tiefen Niederösterreichs“. Austria as it is – Österreich, wie es ist. Hg. von Günter Milly, Band 2/1 Niederösterreich. Wien 2011, S. 108-119.

Manfred Wieninger, 223 oder Das Faustpfand . Ein Kriminalfall. 2012 im Residenz Verlag erschienen. |Review|

We would like to express our thanks for the support of this project to the following institutions:
Kulturabteilung des Landes NÖ
Nationalfonds der Republik Österreich für Opfer des Nationalsozialismus
Zukunftsfonds der Republik Österreich
Stadt St. Pölten
Jewish Welcome Service
Österreichisches Schwarzes Kreuz. Kriegsopferfürsorge
Franz Hinterhofer
Marcus Hufnagl

Design of the grave stone: Renate Stockreiter