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, Hitler 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 the 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. From November 1, 1942, the Jewish population was 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 "Abwicklungsstelle für jüdische Auswanderung" (the former Central Office for Jewish Emigration) in Vienna had been closed in March and the local Gestapo office assigned to supervise the remaining Jews in Vienna. It continued the transports. About 3,000 Jews were deported by the Gestapo 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. 46i left Vienna’s Nordbahnhof (Northern Railway Station) on June 24, 1943, and arrived in Theresienstadt on June 26. It consisted of 137 Jews, who had been arrested by the Gestapo between June 23 and 24. The average age of the deportees was 44. 27 of them were older than 61.
Four armed policemen from the Schutzpolizei guarded the deportees throughout the journey. Through existing archival records the guards have been identified as Rudolf Gettinger, Friedrich Mach, Leopold Trauner and Josef Treipel. They were ordered to report at ramp No.13 at the train station at 6:30 PM and to await the deportees. Upon arrival, the transport was listed in the ghetto records as IV/14i. The Roman numeral IV represented Vienna as city of origin.
At the end of World War II, around 5,000 Jews remained in Vienna.