Krems Regional Court

Josef-Wichner-Straße 2

In February 1928 the Social Democrat National Council member of parliament Adolf Laser called for the construction of an official building for the Krems District Court. His intention was for the building to house not just the District Court and the Borough Court but also a prison, gendarmerie, tax office and the surveyor’s office. The architect commissioned for the project, Franz Sturm, would later rise through the Nazi hierarchy and become “Gau office leader” for Lower Danube. The designated construction site was the former parade ground in front of the Steiner Gate, an area of 10,000 square metres. The building – at the time the tallest in Austria – was completed in October 1933. One special feature was the murals by Leopold Schmid, Herbert Dimmel and Gustav Steinschorn in the foyer in front of the Jury Court hall and in the hall itself. In 1938 these were condemned as “degenerate art” and painted over. Almost 50 years later, Leopold Schmid uncovered and restored his own painting.

After the February Uprising of 1934, in which leftist groups fought the Austrofascist regime, the cells were filled with social democrats and communists. Over the following years, up to 200 prisoners would be incarcerated here. They came from across the whole spectrum of political opposition to Nazism: revolutionary socialists, communists and even monarchists. Around half of the prisoners were women. Some were set to work in the prison’s workshops: the sewing, shoemaking, knitting and joinery workshops and the laundry. Most of the prisoners worked in various businesses in the city.