Memorial to the Greek victims of Stein

Steiner Landstraße 1

The Stein Penal Institution was the largest prison in “Ostmark” (the Nazi name for Austria) during the Nazi period. Among the inmates were political prisoners originally from Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Croatia, Greece and other countries. 300 Greek prisoners were brought to Stein in 1944 after the withdrawal of the Wehrmacht from Greece.

On 6 April 1945, on the instructions of the prison director Franz Kodré and against the wishes of guards with Nazi sympathies, all the prisoners were to be released. Under the pretext of suppressing a revolt, soldiers of the paramilitary terror organisation SS, its military wing the Waffen-SS, the regular armed forces Wehrmacht and the conscript militia Volkssturm carried out a massacre in the prison and in the nearby streets in order to prevent the freeing of the prisoners as ordered by the prison management.

The memorial in front of the Stein Penal Institution commemorates the 150 Greek prisoners who were murdered in the massacre on 6 April 1945. It was erected by the Greek Antifascist Committee Vienna and unveiled in late August 1946. At the handover ceremony, the Krems mayor Franz Riel promised to “pass it on intact to future generations as a symbol of the international antifascist struggle.”

Until 2015, when the street sign was put up for “Gerasimos-Garnelis-Weg”, which commemorates a survivor and co-initiator of the monument, the Greek Antifascist Committee’s monument was the only publicly visible sign of commemoration in front of the Stein Penal Institution of the people murdered in the massacre. In 1965 a memorial plaque was put up in the courtyard, and since 2018 there has also been the artwork 6.4.45 by Ramesch Daha on the exterior wall of the Penal Institution in memory of the victims of the massacre.