In this mass grave near the Castle of Kaprun rest the remains of Russian Forced Laborers who were put to work on the construction of the Tauern Power Plants. This was an ambitious building project initiated by Hermann Göring between 1938 and 1945 after “Der Anschluss”, to provide the region with hydroelectric power plants.
During the war, thousands of civilian Forced Laborers and Prisoners of War were put to work on various construction sites in the high mountains under dreadful circumstances. Especially people of Soviet descent could count on a harsh treatment as they were seen as “subhuman” according to Nazi theory. Many of them died as a result of the hard work in tough mountain conditions, inadequate housing and clothing and malnutrition.
Of the 136 recorded deaths under the foreign workers who left their lives in Kaprun, at least 90 of them were of Soviet descent. These victims were buried in unmarked graves along the river Salzach further down in the valley. Under the instigation of mainly US companies working in Austria, their remains were exhumed and buried in this mass grave, known as the “Russenfriedhof” near Kaprun castle.
Although the inscription on the memorial column still reads: “Here lie 87 Soviet citizens driven into misery by German fascist conquerors and who died far from home“, the known number of interred has increased in later years thanks to further research and the publication of the list of Soviet dead of World War II.
The mass grave is open to the public. You can find it near the car park of Kaprun Castle opposite the street.