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The Raxwerke (also Rax-Werke ) were a large locomotive tender and armaments factory in Wiener Neustadt in Lower Austria during the Second World War and a satellite camp of the Mauthausen concentration camp .


Tenders of the type 2'2'T30 were produced in the Rax works.

After Austria was annexed to the German Reich on March 12, 1938, the Wiener Neustädter locomotive factory , which was founded in 1842 and had been idle since 1930, was taken over by the German group Henschel & Sohn . On May 5, 1942, a subsidiary was founded under the code name "Rax-Werk Ges.mbH" , which was supposed to manufacture military equipment.

In order to increase the production of the locomotive tender as much as possible, the plant was greatly expanded so that the Raxwerke became the most important tender factory in Germany. The standard locomotives of the series 42 and 52 drove mostly with the tenders from Wiener Neustadt and formed the logistical basis for the troop supply of the German armed forces .

The location was chosen between Plant I and Plant II of Wiener Neustädter Flugzeugwerke in the northeast of Wiener Neustadt. Since German aircraft production was the most important target for the Allied bomber fleets in 1943 and 1944, the Raxwerke were also badly affected due to their location between the two aircraft factories.

Concentration camp 1 and V2 production

Serb Hall

In order to set up the Raxwerke as quickly as possible, the decision was made in 1942 to dismantle a large assembly hall for wagons captured in Kraljevo ( Serbia ), 300 meters in length and 70 meters in width, and to rebuild it in Wiener Neustadt - this resulted in the Name "Serbenhalle" . It was brought to Wiener Neustadt with over 400 freight wagons and put back on the factory premises. A year earlier, over 1,700 residents of Kraljevo had been shot in front of and in this hall as an act of revenge for a partisan attack by the German Wehrmacht . This event was part of the Kraljevo and Kragujevac massacres .

Initially, the new company produced tubes for tank and anti-aircraft guns . When the Allied bombing raids on Germany became increasingly violent from the spring of 1943, the leadership worried about their latest weapon: the A4 rocket , also known as the "V2". So far the V2 had only been produced in the Peenemünde Army Research Center and in Friedrichshafen , but now they were looking for a safe production location in the East Mark . The choice fell on the Raxwerk, because the Serbenhalle, which was just being built, was 30 meters high and thus enabled the rockets to be manufactured in an upright position.

Production should start in July 1943 and reach the target of 300 pieces per month by January 1944.

In order to start up the production of V2 rockets in the Raxwerk as quickly as possible and to achieve the ambitious goals, concentration camp inmates were used as workers who were already used in the construction of the Serb hall.

In March 1943, the iron framework of the hall was completed and already provided with barbed wire charged with high current . On June 20, 1943, the first transport of 500 prisoners from Mauthausen concentration camp arrived . In the summer the northern half was complete and at the beginning of August another 722 concentration camp prisoners followed. The prisoners were housed directly in the Serb hall. The concentration camp satellite camp was officially referred to as the "SS Labor Camp Wiener Neustadt" .

On August 13, 1943, the immediately neighboring Wiener Neustädter aircraft works were bombed by the American air force and part of the Rax works was also hit. A second attack on October 1 killed 22 but caused little property damage. Nevertheless, due to this new air attack, shortly after the start of V2 production in October 1943, the decision was made to relocate them to the more bomb-proof Ebensee and Zipf concentration camps or to the Dora subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp . The last prisoners were evacuated on November 20, 1943. An engine test stand was just under construction and was no longer completed.

Concentration camp 2

After the rocket production was withdrawn, the Raxwerk u. a. commissioned with the manufacture of lighters for the German navy ; however, locomotive tenders were still being built. On June 5, 1944, 300 and at the end of July 204 prisoners from Mauthausen concentration camp were brought to the Raxwerk. The number subsequently fluctuated between 500 and 700 prisoners.

The Raxwerke were largely destroyed by bombing in 1945. Only the Serb hall remained, it is now used as a warehouse.

At the end of March 1945 the Red Army approached Wiener Neustadt. Presumably in the late afternoon of March 30, 1945, the SS guards began evacuating the Raxwerk concentration camp and sent the prisoners with 50–60 marines on the march to the Steyr satellite camp , which many of the prisoners did not survive.

post war period

After the war, the Soviets incorporated the Rax works into the USIA companies and the production of rail vehicles began again. According to the Austrian State Treaty , the company continued to run independently until 1958 and was then affiliated with Simmering-Graz-Pauker AG (SGP).

From 1957 to 1964, the twin-engine Meindl 222 touring aircraft was developed in the former Raxwerk and built in small numbers.

In January 1966 the Raxwerke were to be privatized again, against which the workforce fought with a strike . After the negotiation of severance payments by the ÖGB , the plant was finally closed.

The Raxwerk hit the headlines again on October 14, 1969, when the roof of a hall was occupied by activists from the youth workers' group “Spartakus”. The handful of activists waved red flags and wanted to use this campaign to draw attention to the sell-out of Austrian companies.

Current condition

A guard bunker was preserved on the former site and is now located in the parking lot of a shopping center. The Serbs' Hall was the only large building that remained intact and serves as a warehouse.

A locomotive that was used internally ("Fanny") is now a memorial on Pottendorfer Straße.

On the initiative of the Mauthausen Committee Wiener Neustadt and the Verein Sportwetten Verlag, the artist Markus Grabenwöger, in collaboration with Michael Rosecker (Verein Sportwetten Verlag), created a concept for a memorial for the victims of forced labor on the site next to the Serb Hall on May 15 Was unveiled in 2005.

In 2014, 2015 and 2017 the interactive simultaneous drama Alma - A Show Biz ans Ende by Joshua Sobol , directed by Paulus Manker , was staged in the Serbenhalle and in the rooms of the adjoining wing, which celebrated its 20th anniversary there in the summer of 2015 and on 25 August 2018 celebrated its 500th performance.

On the anniversary of the end of the war in 1918, a more than six-hour performance of the drama " The Last Days of Mankind " by Karl Kraus (director: Paulus Manker ) took place, in which the scenes were performed simultaneously in over twenty locations.


  • Karl Flanner : "The concentration camp in the Rax factory in Wiener Neustadt", Wiener Neustadt: IVM 1998.
  • Florian Freund , Bertrand Perz : “The concentration camp in the Serbenhalle. On the war industry in Wiener Neustadt ”, Vienna: Verlag für Gesellschaftskritik 1987.
  • Brigitte Haberstroh, Maximilian Huber, Michael Rosecker (eds.): “Stumbling blocks Wiener Neustadt. City guide of remembrance ”, Wiener Neustadt: Association Daily Publishing 2011.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Markus Reisner: Bombs on Wiener Neustadt - The destruction of one of the most important armaments centers of the German Reich , 3rd revised edition, pages 42 and 43, Kral-Verlag 2014
  2. ^ Air raid on Wiener Neustadt on October 1, 1943 , website regiowiki.at, accessed on November 22, 2014
  3. derStandard.at - "Alma - A Show Biz to the End": industrial beauty and art icon . Article dated August 4, 2014, accessed August 5, 2014.
  4. [1]

Coordinates: 47 ° 49 ′ 47.3 "  N , 16 ° 15 ′ 10.5"  E