Refugees 1947 and 2007

I. The situation around 1947

This section contains several contributions:

Harald Waitzbauer analyses the historical chain of events leading to the exodus of the Jews over the Krimml Tauern mountains in 1947.

Thomas Albrich describes Austrian post-war antisemitism. 10 years ago, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the exodus of the Jews through Austria 1947, Prof. Albrich carried out extensive research on the Jewish Exodus, publishing two books on the subject, one in German („Flucht nach Eretz Israel“, Studienverlag: Innsbruck-Vienna 1998), and one in English („Escape through Austria“, Frank Cass: London-Portland, Oregon 2002).

The special situation of the refugees in the U.S.-zone in Austria was described in detail by Susanne Rolinek in her book “Jüdische Lebenswelten 1945-55”.

Viktor Knopf was one of the mountain guides who accompanied the 5000 Jews on their flight at that time (see his own account “Flight over the Krimml Tauern mountains“), Gertraud Steiner’s portrayal of him is in this section, as well as Peter Hofer’s penned recollections of Liesl Geisler-Scharfetter‘s (the then innkeeper of the Krimml Tauern Lodge) compassionate, humanitarian nature


Marko Feingold is a former member of the BRICHA. His reminiscences, together with those of other contemporary witnesses who will participate in our ceremonial weekend at the invitation of BNP Paribas (whose articles are to appear here soon), also form an integral part of this historical perspective.

The Givat Avoda camp in Saalfelden was the starting point for the escape over the Krimml Tauern mountains. Sabine Aschauer-Smolik’s contribution in this section reports on research into this camp. Historical photographs relating to the camp have unfortunately gone missing. However, we hope that through our project they may eventually resurface.

The trauma of the Shoah-survivors has been researched by Brigitte Lueger-Schuster.

Helga Embacher analyses the difficulties facing refugees on their repatriation to Israel and the USA.

Further literature recommendations:

Susanne Rolinek, Jüdische Lebenswelten 1945-55
Thomas Albrich, Flucht nach Eretz Israel, Studienverlag: Innsbruck-Wien 1998
Thomas Albrich, Escape through Austria, Frank Cass: London-Portland, Oregon 2002

II. The situation today

Refugees have to deal with traumatic experiences, which they often can only overcome with psycho-therapeutic help. The article by Brigitte Lueger-Schuster describes the psycho-trauma of refugees as currently experienced even here in Austria.

The paper by Richard Dörflinger describes the international assistance of “Doctors without Borders”, how they secure the basic needs of refugees.