Christine Berger-Wagner
It was a sad reception…

Christine Berger was moved from Ravensbrück concentration camp to the Magdeburg/Polte concentration camp in 1944. There she was freed when US troops liberated the camp in April 1945. On her way back to Leoben, she heard of her parents’ assassination. In 1945, she married her old friend, the former partisan Anton Wagner. Both were active functionaries of the KPÖ (Austrian Communist Party) until 1968. Christine Berger-Wagner took care of her brothers in the post-war years. From 1977 to 1994, she ran a tobacco shop in Bruck/Mur. The loss of her parents and her own experience of persecution caused serious psychological problems. An injection she had been given at Ravensbrück luckily did not lead to any life-threatening illnesses. Christine Berger-Wagner has been active in the Lagergemeinschaft Ravensbrück (camp community, the association of former prisoners at Ravensbrück) since the end of the war.

The last years of her life she lived in a nursing home and was severely ill. She died on August 16th, 2007.


Homecoming 1945
I told you, I jumped off the train, and with the others, the train passed through Leoben. (…) But for me, the ground was already hot under my feet, as I knew that my brother was alone. Then it was a very sad reception [by the grandmother]: „Oh, it's you.“

During the first months, I think it was two months, I didn't get out at all. And if I went out, I went only when it was dark. So nobody could talk to me and ask, because of course everybody knew that my parents had been killed. I wasn't able to talk about it...

""THE PARTY" - The Austrian Communist Party (KPÖ) after 1945

After 1945, many of those who had been persecuted and displaced continued their political activities within the Communist Party. After the publication of the Stalinist crimes, and the brutality of the Soviet troops in Hungary and the CSSR, many members left the party. Even after 1968, a group of reformers did not have any success, and critics found themselves isolated or excluded in the years to follow. Women in the KPÖ also had to fight the lack of faith in their abilities. Until the 1980s, only very few held leading positions or became members of decision-making bodies.

Bei einem Kuraufenthalt in Jesenik (CSSR).
(um 1958, Foto: privat).