Until well into the 1970s, the area of today’s Leon Zelman Park was the site of the Aspang Railway Station, built 1880/81 as a terminal for the regional Vienna–Aspang–Pitten line. Although centrally situated in Vienna’s 3rd municipal district, the station, serving regional rail traffic only, was never much frequented. This was probably the reason why it was made the point of departure for deportation transports under the Nazi regime. The first two transports left in October 1939. 1,584 Jewish men were deported to Nisko on San River in the Lublin District of the “Generalgouvernement” for the failed experiment of establishing a “Jewish reservation.”
The large deportations began in February 1941. 45,451 Austrian Jews, men and women, were deported on 45 transports to Nazi-established ghettos, extermination camps, and killing sites between February 15, 1941, and October 9, 1942. The destinations were Opole, Kielce, Modliborzyce, Lagow/Opatow, Litzmannstadt, Kaunas, Minsk, Riga, Izbica, Wlodawa, Maly Trostinez, Sobibor, Theresienstadt, and Auschwitz.
The transports were organized by the Nazi “Central Agency for Jewish Emigration” in Vienna and put together in four internment camps established at Kleine Sperlgasse 2a, Castellezgasse 35, and Malzgasse 7 and 16 in the 2nd municipal district. The internees were bullied, humiliated, and robbed of their last possessions. For each transport, about one-thousand people were taken to Aspang Station on open trucks—in plain sight of the Viennese population.
Of 47,035 Jewish men and women deported from Aspang Railway Station, only 1,073—according to calculations by historian Jonny Moser—survived the ghettos and extermination camps. For most of the more than 66,000 Austrian victims of the Shoah, the way to extermination began right here in central Vienna.
The City of Vienna has set up a memorial to commemorate the Jewish Austrian men and women who were deported from Aspang Railway Station to be murdered.
The Aspang Railway Station Memorial by Austrian artist duo PRINZpod consists of two 30 meter long converging concrete rails as a reference to the railway tracks at the Aspang Railway Station, which was demolished in 1977. The rails lead into a dark and hollow concrete block, symbol of death, nothingness, and oblivion.
Leon-Zelman-Park, 1030 Vienna
Brigitte Prinzgau, *1955, lives and works in Vienna.
Wolfgang Podgorschek, *1942, lives and works in Vienna.
PRINZpod have lived and worked as a team in Vienna since 1984.
This project was selected as a winner's project in the course of an artistic competition. For more information please follow this link: