Richard HOLLEIS was born in St. Johann im Pongau [in the southern part of the province of Salzburg] on November 12, 1910. He had worked as an unskilled laborer in a sawmill since the early 1930s and before he left Salzburg he was a subtenant living at 7 Kaserngasse.
Nothing precise is known about HOLLEIS’ political beliefs during the Austro-fascist dictatorship, but we know that the political persecution of members and sympathizers of the Austrian Revolutionary Socialists and the Austrian Communist Party led some of them to join the International Brigades that fought on the side of the Spanish Republic against a fascist military revolt in the Civil War of 1936-1939. In the spring of 1937 Richard HOLLEIS went to Spain to fight fascism and joined a Republican artillery unit.
After the victory of Franco’s forces and the collapse of the Spanish Republic HOLLEIS fled to France, where he was interned with other non-French supporters of the Spanish Republican cause in the camps at Argelès-sur-Mer and Saint-Cyprien. With the defeat of France by Germany most of the Austrians who had fought for the Spanish Republic were deported to the Dachau concentration camp.
Richard HOLLEIS was registered in Dachau as number 24356, a »Spanish Red«, on March 31, 1941. He was one of more than 3.000 Dachau prisoners who were deported to the extermination center at Hartheim Castle near Linz in Upper Austria under the cover of an »invalid transport« or »special treatment 14f13«1
The first selection came in September . All the prisoners, stripped to the waist, had to pass in front of some SS officers, and prisoner functionaries from the office had to record the selection. Inexperienced prisoners were seduced by a rumor [that invalids would be sent to a special camp with easier workloads] to point out almost invisible disabilities.
That’s what the Salzburg Spanish fighter Richard Holleis did when he pointed out a hernia operation for the SS. He was promptly added to the list. He was 31 years old and in relatively good physical condition when he was sent on one of the first »invalid transports« [to Hartheim] on January 20, 1942. A few days later the office got instructions to record him as having died from exhaustion in Dachau. [Hans Landauer in coopertion with Erich Hackl: Lexikon der österreichischen Spanienkämpfer 1936 – 1939, Vienna 2008, p. 40f.]
Richard HOLLEIS was gassed in the Castle Hartheim killing center – either on the day of his arrival (January 20, 1942) or on the next day.
1 »Special treatment 14f13«: »14« = Inspector of Concentration Camp, »f« = cause of death, »13« = gassing in killing station of the »T-4« Organisation.
Recherche: Florian Schwanninger
Translation: Stan Nadel
Laid 06.07.2011 at Salzburg, Kaserngasse 7