Engerau: The Forgotten Story of Petržalka An exhibition of the Jewish Community Museum Bratislava


  • Dokumentationsarchiv (Altes Rathaus) 6-8 Wipplingerstraße Wien, Wien, 1010 Austria

The exhibition project Engerau: The Forgotten Story of Petržalka is the contribution of the Jewish Community Museum to the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. It is focused on the Engerau concentration camp, about which few people in Slovakia are aware. The camp was established in December 1944 as a “labor camp” in Petržalka (German name: Engerau), which at that time was occupied by the Third Reich. Around 1,700 Hungarian Jewish men worked at the camp in appalling conditions. Prisoners died every day from hunger or hypothermia, or succumbed to brutal treatment and outright murder. The camp was not located in one place – the prisoners lived in numerous buildings spread around the town, in six subcamps (named Leberfinger, Fürst, Schinawek, Bahnhofstrasse, Auliesel and Wiesengasse) and other buildings (such as the Krankenrevier infirmary).

 

Upon the evacuation of the camp on March 29, 1945, the prisoners were forced to endure a death march to Bad Deutsch-Altenburg during which dozens of them were shot by the guards. Many exhausted prisoners were murdered earlier that same day, at the Leberfinger and Wiesengasse subcamps, because they were unable to set out on the march. Soon after the war, the Czechoslovak authorities exhumed the bodies of hundreds of camp victims at the Petržalka cemetery. Twenty-one camp guards were tried between 1945 and 1954 during the so-called Engerau trials held in Vienna. Later, in the 1970s and 1980s, one of the largest housing estates in the Communist bloc was built on the site of old Petržalka. The historical memory of the camp vanished, along with old Petržalka and its residents.