The Establishment of the Gestapo Leitstelle Vienna (regional headquarters)

After the break-up of the Austrian police authorities, Heinrich Himmler appointed two special staffs to coordinate the establishment of the "Order Police" (= regular police and gendarmerie) and the Security Police (= Gestapo, Criminal Police). In a decree of March 15, 1938, Reinhard Heydrich, Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, determined the tasks and responsibilities of the Austrian Gestapo regional headquarters. The Munich Gestapo member Franz Josef Huber became head of the Gestapo Vienna.


At the same time, mass arrests of Austrian Jews and known adversaries of the Nazi regime were taking place; they were apprehended not only by Gestapo members, but also by members of the SS and SA as well as by members and followers of the Nazi Party.


On April 1, 1938, the Gestapo Headquarters Vienna began operating in the Hotel "Metropole" (Morzinplatz 5 resp. Salztorgasse 6). That same day, the first transport of Austrian prisoners left for the Dachau concentration camp.


Prisoner transport of April 1, 1938Prisoner transport of April 1, 1938Prisoner transport of April 1, 1938















The Austrian National Socialists, especially those in the justice and security apparatus had already compiled lists of adversaries of the Nazi regime ahead of the "Anschluss." The prisoner transport of April 1, 1938, consisted mainly of functionaries of the regime ruling from 1933 until 1938 as well as of prominent Social Democrats and Jews.

Download >> (PDF, 766 KB)


General Wilhelm Zehner (photo: DÖW)

General Wilhelm Zehner, state secretary at the Austrian ministry of defense was shot by Gestapo officials in the night from April 10 to 11, 1938 while being arrested. The Nazi authorities presented his death as suicide.


Photo: DÖW



"Thereupon I jumped out of bed and in that moment two men, unknown to me, stormed through the door into the bedroom. One of them approached my husband, grabbed his arm and shoved him toward the adjacent living room. [...] I rushed into the parlor, switched on the chandelier and in that moment I heard the blast of a shot and saw my husband, who had been standing, collapsing. The stranger stood beside him with a pistol in his hand, took my husband's hand and tried to press the pistol into his hand. However, he was unsuccessful and my husband's hand dropped as did the pistol. [...] I was interrogated and the entire interrogation was about making me believe that my husband had committed suicide."


Witness account of Maria Zehner on January 28, 1951, before the Vienna Regional Court as People's Court in the proceedings against Josef Junker, Johann Mösslacher, and Franz Hemetsberger.



Gestapo Headquarters Vienna >>


<< index page


Unterstützt von: