End of War 1945 and Postwar Experiences

I was there.

After her return to Vienna, she began working at the Viennese police station. A few years later, she married Bernhard Stern and started a family. In 1970, after the children had grown up, the Sterns emigrated to Israel.

Grete Stern, nee Feldsberg (1920), Austria

Grete Stern, nee Feldsberg (1920), Austria

Consider here Grete Feldsberg's liberation and her return to Vienna


After a death march to the west, Grete Feldsberg and her fellow prisoners find themselves alone in the village of Vietlübbe in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The SS had fled from the Red Army overnight.

1) Listen to Grete as she describes how the Waffen-SS, fleeing from the advancing Red Army, drove the prisoners westward on forced marches. Answer the question.

  • 1a. How does she describe her liberation by the Red Army?

Return to Vienna

Grete Feldsberg talks about her stay in a Russian reception centre for refugees and her long journey back to Vienna, together with her two friends.

2) Listen to Grete as she talks of her decision to return “home” after liberation. Answer the question.

  • 2a. Can you imagine why she had mixed feelings?

A New Beginning

In Vienna, she finds work and gets her Aryan apartment back again. After the imprisonment in the ghetto and in the camps, she experiences the deprivations of the post-war period less dramatically than other Viennese. She talks about a clash of divergent war experiences.

3) Listen to Grete as she talks of her new start in Vienna. Answer the  questions.

  • 3a. What different reactions did she receive when talking of her concentration camp experience? What could explain these different reactions?

  • 3b. Liberation Day is celebrated internationally around May 8. International Holocaust Remembrance Day is celebrated on January 27. Find out what these two dates commemorate.

  • 3c. Plan activities for these days in your school.

The End of the War and Postwar Vienna

4) Watch the slideshow about the end of the war and the postwar period in Vienna. Answer the question.

  • 4a. How did Austria handle its Nazi past? Discuss various situations.

Read the article "War Criminals: Three Minutes Per Victime" in the German magazine "Der Spiegel" from 1966 (in German) >>

In 1991, the Austrian Chancellor Dr. Franz Vranitzky addressed for the first time Austria's Nazi past. Read the excerpt from his speech on page 15 - 16 of the Stenographic Protocol of the National Council of the Republic of Austria, 8./9.7.1991 (in German) >>

In 1993, the Austrian Chancellor Dr. Franz Vranitzky gave a historical speech at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Watch the TV report (in German) and discuss the content >>

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