Today’s seat of the Vienna Chamber of Labor at Prinz-Eugen-Straße 20-22 used to be the palais of banking family Rothschild until 1954. It was seized by NS-authorities immediately after Austria’s “Anschluss” in 1938 and quickly became the headquarters of the “Zentralstelle für Jüdische Auswanderung” founded by Adolf Eichmann. This new type of agency’s goal at first was the coordination and implementation of the displacement of the domestic Jewish population, while also extorting most of their assets. The Viennese “Zentralstelle” was so efficient at both the displacement as well as the extortion, that it became the institutional role model for similar agencies in the German Reich and other states in occupied Europe.
In Fall of 1941 the policy of displacement and forced emigration was given up by the National Socialist authorities. Their new goal was the murder of all people deemed to be Jews according to the Nuremberg laws of 1935. The implementation of this genocide in the territory of today’s Austria – the deportation of the remaining Jewish population to the ghettos and death camps in Eastern Europe – was also organized by the “Zentralstelle”. Through this, Eichmann’s staff became the leading bureaucratic experts in the Nazi genocide program. When only a few hundred of the 200,000 Viennese Jewish residents remained, the “Zentralstelle” was liquidated in March 1943.
Very few of the members of the SS and police who were active here were held accountable after 1945, although they were directly responsible for the death of tens of thousands of people. Only two were sentenced to death and executed: Adolf Eichmann and Karl Rahm. This project aims to compile a collected publication and is part of a broader examination of the history of the site of the Arbeiterkammer, including the erection of a memorial in front of the house, as well as an informational installation in the foyer.