UMJ Newsletter Aussendung.

The Institute for Art in Public Space Styria memorates the so-called ‘death march’ of 1945 with a two-part memorial by Ramesch Daha in Eisenerz, Styria


Proceeding from Paul Celan’s sentence “We are digging a grave in the sky, there’s plenty of room to lie down there” from his “Death Fugue”, Ramesch Daha’s work “Eisenerz 1945” is now an emphatic, multi-layered memorial to the victims in the town center of Eisenerz and near Lake Leopoldstein. As always, she develops her work based on extensive research and in close cooperation with the municipality of Eisenerz. Parallel to historical and site investigations and numerous discussions, she researched in archives and at the local city museum. 

"Eisenerz 1945" was opened on July 6th, 2023, by the artist Ramesch Daha, photo: KiöR/Haselsteiner-Scharner

Eisenerz 1945
“The mass murder of Hungarian Jews at the Präbichl pass is one of the so-called ‘final phase crimes’ committed by the old power elite shortly before the end of World War II. In the final months of the war, the National Socialist henchmen brought tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews to the Austrian border as forced laborers to erect the so-called South-east wall defense structure against the advancing Red Army. The military futility of this project prompted the Nazis at the end of March 1945 to ‘drive’ the Hungarian Jews on death marches to the Mauthausen concentration camp. Shootings took place during these marches in a number of Austrian communities. The largest massacre in Styria was committed by members of the Eisenerz Volkssturm on April 7, 1945 in the immediate vicinity of the Präbichl pass, where more than two hundred Jews lost their lives. The corpses were transported on trucks to the flood plain near Lake Leopoldstein, where they were buried in mass graves. The graves were discovered in November 1945 and the victims were reinterred in the cemetery, which still exists today, opposite Leopoldstein Castle. With the help of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Jewish refugees waiting to emigrate to Palestine as ‘displaced persons’ at the Admont camp erected a memorial here, which was dedicated in September 1948.”  Under the initiative of Heimo Halbrainer/CLIO and Christian Ehetreiber/ARGE Jugend gegen Gewalt and with the support of Hermann Auernigg, the mayor at the time, and Gerhard Niederhofer, a process of commemorating the massacre at Präbichl in April 1945 was begun in Eisenerz in 2000. This led to the creation of a memorial, designed by young people from the Eisenerz secondary school, at this spot.

Historical postcards are translated as "blueprints" by the artist, © Institute for Art in Public Space Styria

In a timely concept of a monument, the artist is not interested in a classic work construction, but rather applies highly differentiated, oversized layers over and within each other: On historical postcards of the region she writes accounts from contemporary witnesses of the crime, ranging from the death march through Eisenerz to the murder of the driven people on Präbichl pass, the transport of the corpses and their attempted cremation and burial in the flood plain near Lake Leopoldstein. In light and mindful of these atrocities, Daha works in a specifically conceptual approach from the historical background, making herself available as a reflector of an unspeakable and uncommentable violent crime. By rendering the postcards and texts in blueprint, on one hand, the potential and always possible continuation of a slumbering matrix becomes recognizable. On the other hand, history and memory, i.e., personal imprints over generations, as well as the clash of different realities, become visible. If the removal of color points to obliteration, forgetting and repression, as well as to unreflectively followed official instructions, the blue in its gained abstraction anchors itself indelibly in our minds. Is there a greater discrepancy than that shown by Ramesch Daha between the given idyll, touristic intention and romanticization with handwritten, almost unbearable factual reports of such a crime?


Applied to eleven A2-sized wall tiles with various motifs in the passage of the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in Eisenerz, Ramesch Daha overwrites archival material in the reproduction process and thus brings history into the present, citing a potential danger that is relevant at all times.

On request, individual subjects are also given to town residents so that they can be placed on their house facades.


The second part of the work, a concrete wall in the meadow, set up like a folded postcard, bears “Greetings from Lake Leopoldstein” on the front along with an eyewitness report and a cloud of dark smoke. The back side features a picture postcard with a blank inner field. Thanks to the permission of the property owners Peter and Mario Hofer of Hofer Forst GmbH, this artwork could be positioned in the meadow in front of the gravestone looming in the background at Lake Leopoldstein. It is the gap of what remains unwritten which makes us reflect upon ourselves and keeps us alert.


The work was created in close cooperation with the municipality of Eisenerz. Special thanks go to mayor Thomas Rauninger, Gerhard Niederhofer, pastor Anton Konrad Reinprecht, city planning director Gregor Ruckhofer, Bernhard Nagler and Petra Tilzer.





Ramesch Daha
Eisenerz 1945

Parking lot Leopoldsteinersee
Seestraße 9, 8790 Eisenerz

Lindmoserstraße 1, 8790 Eisenerz


Institute for Art an Public Space Styria/Ramesch Daha


Images for download can be found under the following link: Ramesch Daha





We look forward to your reporting and are happy to answer any questions you may have!




Best regards


Daniela Teuschler

Stephanie Liebmann

Alexandra Reischl