During the fall-winter months of 1942-1943 Nazi Germany suffered its first major military defeats in several theaters of the war: The defeat at El Alamein, followed by the landing of Allied forces in North- Africa (Operation Torch) and the encircling of the Sixth Army at Stalingrad signaled a possible shift in the course of the war. However, despite these setbacks the Nazis proceeded with the extermination policies. On February 7, 1943, several days after the German surrender at Stalingrad, Hitl
er addressed a group of Gauleiters (district party leaders) assembled at Rastenburg. He repeated his threat that Jewry must be eliminated from Europe. From January 1943 onwards, Auschwitz- Birkenau and Theresienstadt were the main destination of transports from the German Reich. The Gestapo increased its efforts to seize and deport Jews remaining in Germany. After the mass deportations of 1942, 8,000 Jews remained in Vienna (Wien). On October 10, 1942, Alois Brunner, head of Central office for Jewish Immigration, informed Dr. Löwenherz that the Jewish Community, which still had formal legal status, would be dissolved. The Jewish population would be represented by a Jewish Council (“Ältestenrat der Juden in Wien”). All Jews residing in Vienna, including Christians of Jewish origin referred to this council. The Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna gradually began to narrow its activity. On July 6 1942, it moved its headquarters to the Jewish community’s building on Castellezgasse 35, which previously served as a collection point for deportees. At that time, the majority of personnel of the central office had been sent to other European countries to arrange deportations of Jews from these areas to extermination camps. In October 1942, its name was altered to Abwicklungstelle für jüdische Auswanderung. In the beginning of 1943 the Central Office for Jewish Emigration was dissolved, and the local Gestapo was assigned to supervise the remaining Jews in Vienna. The Gestapo deported about 3,000 Jews between 1943 and 1945. On May 21, 1943, Rolf Günther, Adolf Eichmann’s deputy in Department IVB4, informed all local police headquarters that Heinrich Himmler had ordered to complete all deportations of Jews from the Greater Reich and the Protectorate to the East (Auschwitz-Birkenau) and to Theresienstadt by June 30, 1943. The new regulations permitted the deportation of ill and handicapped Jews, as well Jews who were still employed by the war industry, and employees of the Reichsvereinigung der Juden (Reich's Association of the Jews in Germany) and of its representatives in various communities. Jews married to non-Jews were exempt from deportation. Transport No. 46h left Vienna’s Nordbahnhof (Northern Railway Station on May 25, 1943, and arrived at Theresienstadt on May 27. It consisted of 200 Jews. The average age of the deportees was 67. 129 of them were over 61. 2/3 of them had been inhabitants of the Jewish old age home in Wien 9, Seegasse 9. This institution was officially closed and seized by German authorities two days after the deportation. On its arrival in Theresienstadt, the transport was listed in the ghetto register as IV/14h. The Roman number IV represented Vienna as city of origin. At the end of World War II, around 5,000 Jews remained in Vienna.