Networld WWI CA Database (Demo)

Camp cemetery of the former Sigmundsherberg POW camp, Lower Austria, Austria

The camp cemetery, today located on the route of the Kaiser Franz Joseph railway, was built in the form of a modern military cemetery. According to the memorial plaque, 2,464 soldiers are buried here who died during their war captivity in the Sigmundsherberg camp (2,363 of these were Italians).

In 1917 the Italian war captives set up a memorial in the form of a female statue dedicated to the deceased prisoners of war. After the war it was canopied with the construction of a small chapel. Today the camp cemetery is in the form of a flat grassed area with a few stone crosses, the chapel and cemetery cross.

A memorial trail with descriptive signage in German, Italian and English language leads through the former camp site and commemorates the history of this Lower Austrian POW camp.

Austria, Lower Austria

Type of WWI-heritage

  • POW-camp
  • Military cemetery

Dimensions

No information available.

State of repair/preservation

The camp cemetery is in good condition.

Historical WWI Context

In 1915 the Austro-Hungarian military authorities set up one of the larger Austro-Hungarian POW camps to the north of the community of Sigmundsherberg and on the territory of today's Republic of Austria. The camp could accommodate 40,000 soldiers and 1,180 officers. As with other POW camps in Austria-Hungary, the camp at Sigmundsherberg was designed as a barrack settlement and therefore with almost completely self-sufficient administration and custody units. Originally the camp contained Russian inmates, but from 1916 mainly Italian captives. Today this facility is only commemorated by the field name of “Lagerfeld” and the camp cemetery where 2,363 Italians, 75 Russians, 9 Serbs, 9 Montenegrins, 8 Romanians and 29 members of the Austro-Hungarian army found their last resting place.

The City of Sigmundsherberg administers and maintains the military cemetery and the memorial trail with a length of 4.2 kilometres, set up for remembrance of the history of the POW camp.

State of legal protection

The cemetery facility is not heritage-protected.

Owner

The camp cemetery and memorial trail are owned and supervised by the local council. The camp cemetery is also supervised by the Austrian Black Cross.

Kind of cultural use of WWI

Further information:

Sigmundsherberg railway museum: www.eisenbahnmuseum-waldviertel.at

Opening

Further information:

Sigmundsherberg railway museum: www.eisenbahnmuseum-waldviertel.at

Entrance Fee

Sigmundsherberg railway museum Further information: www.eisenbahnmuseum-waldviertel.at Access to the camp cemetery is free.

Information regarding cities, villages, other touristic attractions (non-WWI) nearby

Further information:

Krahuletz-Museum Eggenburg: www.krahuletzmuseum.at

Erzherzog-Franz-Ferdinand-Museum Artstetten: www.schloss-artstetten.at

Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Vienna: www.hgm.at

Accomodation

Further information:

Waldviertel: www.waldviertel.at

 

Public Transport

Further information:

ÖBB: www.oebb.at

Further information sources

Publications:

Rudolf Koch, Im Hinterhof des Kriegs. Das Kriegsgefangenenlager Sigmundsherberg, Sigmundsherberg (2002).

Rudolf Koch, Schicksal Kriegsgefangenschaft. Das Kriegsgefangenenlager Sigmundsherberg, Horn (2015).

[Italienische Ausgabe: Rudolf Koch, Malasorte Prigionia di Guerra. Il campo di prigionia di Sigmundsherberg, Horn (2015).]

Verena Moritz & Hannes Leidinger, Zwischen Nutzen und Bedrohung. Die russischen Kriegsgefangenen in Österreich 1914–1921, Bonn (2005).

Julia Walleczek-Fritz, Kriegsgefangenschaft und Kriegsgefangenenlager in Österreich-Ungarn im Ersten Weltkrieg, in: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Kunst und Denkmalpflege, Heft 3/4 (2015), S. 273–282.

 

Museums Private Collections

Part of the Sigmundsherberg railway museum is dedicated to the history of the Sigmundsherberg POW camp. The museum is freely accessible with an entrance fee. Events related to the time of World War One regularly take place on the camp cemetery and former camp site, often with international participation.

Further information:

Sigmundsherberg railway museum: www.eisenbahnmuseum-waldviertel.at

 

Location

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