Where is "Landerthal near Blaustaden, Austria"?
March 15, 2010 6:59 AM   Subscribe

My grandparents were part of a group taken to Austria as slave laborers via the Strasshof concentration camp. The last surviving member of the group remembers their destination as being "Landerthal near Blaustaden, Austria". Does anyone know where this is?
posted by Joe in Australia to Travel & Transportation around Austria (11 answers total)
You might try posing this qursion to someone at Remember.org. If they don't have an answer, they might be able to point you in a general direction
posted by timsteil at 7:17 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I was thinking it might be in Germany, or somewhere not-Austria, so I started to type "Blau.." into googlemaps and got: Blaustaudenhof, Laa an der Thaya.

Looks pretty close, and looks like farmland.
posted by molecicco at 7:34 AM on March 15, 2010

There's no entry for anything close to that spelling or pronunciation in the book Das nationalsozialistische Lagersystem, which is a catalog of Nazi camps compiled after the war. However, there are thousands of places of Nazi persecution across Europe that are not well-documented (and the Lagersystem book is incomplete). Plus, if this was a relatively small working farm it may well be left out of the major sources. Molecicco's guess looks as good as any, especially as Laa and der Thaya isn't all that far from Vienna. I'll keep poking around in the sources I have at hand and will let you know if I find anything. In the meantime, if you can email me any details you have about your grandparents (especially names and birthdates) I can see if we have any documentation about them: rcoleman (at) ushmm.org.
posted by arco at 7:49 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

If they were Jewish, you might try asking the people at the Jewish Museum in Vienna. I think they were helpful to my dad when he had to sort out some stuff about his family in that period.
posted by craichead at 7:51 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

MeFi user arco is a good person to ask about this if you don't find out through other channels. He works at USHMM.
posted by jessamyn at 8:33 AM on March 15, 2010

hi, jessamyn!
posted by arco at 8:36 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

hi! check me out, no preview.
posted by jessamyn at 8:55 AM on March 15, 2010

A brief mention of Strasshof in a PDF from yadvashem.org suggests prisoners were sent to agricultural locations in Eastern Austria, and molecicco's suggestion fits the general area.

You might also try Footnote.com's Holocaust Collection. I believe it is free to view the records from this collection without a Footnote membership. I searched on both Strasshof and Blaustaudenhof but came up with nothing. However, you may search on the names of your grandparents, rather than searching for locations.
posted by kuppajava at 9:52 AM on March 15, 2010

However, there are thousands of places of Nazi persecution across Europe that are not well-documented (and the Lagersystem book is incomplete). Plus, if this was a relatively small working farm it may well be left out of the major sources.

This. In fact, many prisoners were sent to work on individual farms and there may have been no records left behind at all. Additionally, through many areas of Eastern/Central Europe, farms were seized from the original owners and given to German farmers who then used slave labor; toward the end of the war, the German farmer would flee or be deported, but that did not guarantee that the original owners would have their farm returned - as you can imagine, the record keeping in such circumstances is going to be quite lacking. Sometimes you can turn up something by writing directly to the municipal authorities for a given region, but it's a bit of a lottery.
posted by VikingSword at 10:51 AM on March 15, 2010

Response by poster: Molecicco's answer looks right to me. This explains why the party ended up in Czechoslovakia during the last part of the war: it's right on the border.

A bit of Googling found a website with a lot of material collected by a (local, non-Jewish) woman who has recorded the Jewish community of Laa - now extinct - which briefly refers to Hungarian Jews who ended up in camps there. I think my family was in a farm, not a camp, but it confirms the location as a destination for the Jews deported from Hungary.

Incidentally, everyone in that party survived the Holocaust, including my great-grandmothers who were 70 and 85 years old. At the end the camp system was being rolled up and they were sent to Theresienstadt. Apparently the other slave laborers couldn't believe their eyes - they hadn't seen an old woman for years.

My thanks to everyone who responded. This is incredible. I feel shaken.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:32 PM on March 15, 2010

Wow, I have family in Altenmarkt (just south of that location) and have been there several times, I had no idea about the history of the area.
posted by ryaninoakland at 9:26 PM on March 16, 2010

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