Trofaiach Displaced Persons Camp,

in Austria


Many thanks to John for providing us these wonderful photos. You may e-mail directly to: John Zakelj / USA


Click on photos to enlarge.

The Trofaiach refugee camp, located near the city of Leoben, about 50 miles southwest of Vienna, Austria. This picture was taken in the winter of 1948.

  Birds eye rview Trofaiach in winter
Birds eye view Trofaiach in summer  

Bird's eye view of Trofaiach in the summer

Left is a picture, taken in summer 1948, which shows clearly a field behind the camp.

The entrance to Trofaiach photo was supplied to us by Miff Crommelin His father worked with UNRRA and was stationed at a variety of dp camps. Miff's note:

"John Zakelj contacted me and sent me the 1948 diary of his father. The entry for Thursday, June 10, 1948 mentions his dad busy digging in the fence posts around the entrance guard house when he got sunburnt 'as red as a lobster'.

If you look at my dad's pictures of the Trofaiach DP camp entrance, you will see the posts that John's dad stuck into the ground! His dad is still alive, age 96, and has kept up his journal for over 70 years. He began his diary when he was 25 years old. It is loaded with first-hand experiences of life in Judenburg, Trofaiach and Vikring, etc.

Interesting, eh? Regards, Miff"

  front gate Trofaiach
procession altar boys  

I received an e-mail from a person who was in the Trofaiach camp as a boy, namely Ferdo Pusl.  He happened to see your webpage and was very excited to see himself in the third picture on that page, the one with the procession.  

Refugees in the Trofaich camp participate in a solemn procession (probably celebrating the holy day of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ on May 27, 1948).  From left to right: Anton Zakelj is holding up one corner of the baldachin, Rev. Klemencic is holding the Eucharist, Milan Cebašek is the tall young man in the middle, Jernej Zupan is holding up the other corner of the baldachin, Rev. Malavašic  is to his right, Ferdo Pusl is the altar boy holding the censer with the incense, and the altar boy on the far right is not identified.  Photo by Marjan Kocmur.

Irena & Cilka

Irena Primozic and Cilka Zakelj in the Trofaiach refugee camp. Cilka was the sponsor for Irena's confirmation. The Primozic family eventually settled in Argentina. Photo by Marjan Kocmur.


Anticipation for a new and better life: This was the train that took the first group of refugees from our camp to the ship bound for Canada. Looking out from the train window are Vinko Krziznik and an unidentified man, and holding on outside is Pavle Cebasek. Photo by ?, April 26, 1948

group photo

The Slovenian camp choir at the Trofaiach refugee camp near Leoben, Austria, on the occasion of papal delegate bishop Jagodic's visit on June 13, 1948 (names are listed to the extent that the author still recognized them 50 years later, and with help from Jerry Zupan). Photo by Marjan Kocmur.

Front row: Avgust Clemente, ?? (a woman who was the secretary for the camp director), Rev. Josip Rot, "Pater Jakob" (the bishop's secretary), camp director Leadbetter (?), papal delegate Bishop Joze Jagodic, Rev. Janez Klemencic, Rev. Kokelj, Rev. Roman Malavasic, France Zupan (the choir director)

Second row: Milena Dobrsek, Ema Dobrsek, Marija Dobrsek, Ivanka Povirk, Vida Povirk, Vera Zorc, Lojzka Zorc, Anica Zorc, Mimi Zalaznik, Julka Zorc, Mrs. Malka Povirk

Third row: Franci Skvarca, Rafko Zonta, Albinca Zonta, Marija Gosar, Helena Klemencic, Hribar, Mrs. Jelka Malavasic, Toncka Povirk, Malka Povirk, Joze Krvina

Fourth row: Bore Erman, ?, ?, Pavel Malavasic... (with beard), Dr. Alfred Fisinger, Joze Staric, Vincent Povirk, Hribar, Tine Malavasic..., ?, ?

Outdoor Mass at the Trofaiach camp in 1948
  outdoor mass

In the refugee camp, Mr. Stajdohar helped teach English to the other refugees.

map   Olga, thank you for making such good use of my father's pictures! Here is a map with the locations of the camps we were in.

Thanks for all your work. John

The 1949 Diary on life & photos in Trofaiach by Anton Zakelj, translated and edited by John Zakelj:

Anton Zakelj's 1948 diary:
Anton Zakelj's 1949 diary:

Jewish website and

Ukrainians camp, German language website

Photos submitted by Klaus Fohringer

A book about the DP Camps Trofaiach /Gai (by G. Stieber et al., publ. Clio):

Konflikt und Integration vom Lager Trofaiach/Gai 1915-1960
Werner Anzenberger, Heimo Halbrainer und Gabriela Stieber

vom Verlag CLIO
ISBN 3-9500971-4-7

Trofaiach 1948 School class   Trofaiach 1950 Kindergarden
The last Slovene school class in the camp Trofaiach 1948
(source: Konflict book above)
  Kindergarten in camp Trofaiach - the beginning of the '50s (source: Heimatmuseum)
Trofaich 1951 Carousel   Trofaiach Schlagfeld Titel
Carousel in Camp Trofaiach 1951 (source Ivanc)   Fl Trofaiach, Schlagfeld - Titebild (source: Konflict book above)
Trofaiach Schlageld 1945  
Camp Schlagfeld 1945-46 (source: Pospischil)   Original map of the camp under British managmeent (source Archiv der Gemeide Gai)
Langefelderstrasse   TROFAIACH MAP 1945
Langefelderstrasse - the prisoners were brought along this road to Trofaiach Station (source: Heimatmuseum)  

Sketch of Camp Schlagfeld 1945-1960

map of Stalag 18a early 1945  

Map of Stalag 18A Early 1945
and the location "Schurer" seems to be a misspelling of Schwaz, Tyrol (near it you can find a St. Margarethen village; at Schwaz, there was a French POW Camp called Oradour)



Trofaiach Orthodox Church   typical bedroom situation

FL Trofaiach Orthodox Church (Photo credit Schlega)

  This is a typical barrack situation, where I large room is divided up into small bedroom. In this picture there are doors, however, in my of the barracks, the divisions for bedroom are blankets on a rope. (Photo credit Gall)
Trofaich Guard Entrance
Submitted by Markus Mraz



Thanks John! In my country nobody talks about it, and I think that it is always better to know the truth about the past, altough it is full of pain. If you have more information, please send it to me. Julia / Argentina



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