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Vandans/Montafon Memorial plaque for Russian POWs, Vorarlberg, Austria

Russian POWs in the custody of Austria-Hungary during World War I had to carry out extensive forced labour from 1915 onwards. They were put to use in various areas. The Austro-Hungarian military authorities frequently used them for infrastructure work – as happened with the approximately 200 Russian POWs forced to work on mountain stream control for the Mustergielbach in the community of Vandans in Montafon, Vorarlberg. A memorial plaque still commemorates the POW work force.

Austria, Vorarlberg

Type of WWI-heritage

  • War monument
  • Military Fortification

Dimensions

The memorial plaque has an approximate size of 1.5 x 1.5 metres.

State of repair/preservation

The memorial plaque is in need of renovation.

Historical WWI Context

Already at the end of 1914 the Vorarlberg and Tyrol State Committee contacted the Austro-Hungarian War Ministry in Vienna. Interest was expressed in the POWs contained in Austria-Hungarian custody, and especially in the workforce of the enemy army soldiers. It was claimed that the POWs would be suitable for “cultivating the Inn flood plains” and “drying the swampy high valleys and carrying out clearing work on the streams and mountain rivers”. From 1915 onwards the POWs had to do extensive forced labour. They were put to use in various areas and frequently for infrastructure work. Around 200 Russian POWs for example were put to work on mountain stream control for the Mustergielbach in the community of Vandans in Montafon. The Austro-Hungarian military authorities housed them in an existing work camp located in the vicinity. The nearest main POW camp at Grödig near to Salzburg was much too far away from the work location, meaning that the prisoners could not be transported daily from there to the work site. In Vorarlberg, POWs were also used for road construction on the Bödele and the Bregenzerwaldstraße, with mountain stream control in Bürs, in the cement factory at Lorüns and in the Lutz oven factory at Bludenz.

State of legal protection

The memorial plaque is not heritage-protected.

Owner

Kind of cultural use of WWI

Opening

Entrance Fee

The memorial plaque can be accessed by the public.

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

Further information:

Gemeinde Vandans: www.vandans.at
Region Montafon: www.montafon.at
City of Bludenz: www.vorarlberg-alpenregion.at/bludenz
City of Bregenz: www.bregenz.travel
City of Feldkirch: www.feldkirch.travel

Accomodation

Further information:

Region Montafon: www.montafon.at/de/Gastgeber
City of Bludenz: www.vorarlberg-alpenregion.at/bludenz

Public Transport

Further information:
ÖBB: www.oebb.at

Further information sources

Publications:

Julia Walleczek, Hinter Stacheldraht. Die Kriegsgefangenenlager in den Kronländern Oberösterreich und Salzburg im Ersten Weltkrieg, Dissertation Universität Innsbruck (2012).
Julia Walleczek-Fritz, Im Dienste Österreich-Ungarns. Kriegsgefangene in Tirol während des Ersten Weltkrieges, in: Tiroler Heimat 78 (2014), S. 109–134.
Peter Strasser & Andreas Rudigier, Montafon. 1906–2006: Eine Zeitreise in Bildern, Schruns (2006).

Other heritage sites nearby

Museums Private Collections

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