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October – November 1945, 150 Wiener Straße

This is where the “hair cutting squad”, comprising hundreds of former Hitler Youth, meets every Saturday to threaten women who allegedly have close contact with American soldiers.

In the autumn of 1945 male youths between the ages of 16 and 25 met every weekend. Many were former members of the Hitler Youth and some of them had been soldiers. They met to plan activities against young women who were allegedly keeping company with American soldiers. These were detained, threatened, insulted and intimidated. As was the case under the Nazis when women had “prohibited dealings” with, for example, prisoners of war, some of these women had their hair shorn.

In addition the young men distributed sexist and racist pamphlets: “Filled with yearning for our girls we have to look on while they have dealings with foreigners. For chocolate and cigarettes they even go out with Negroes. Think about the fact that your lover perhaps killed your father or brother last night. … We will be watching you on the street, we’ll cut off your hair, take off your clothes and shame you in front of everyone. … Not ‘Austrian women with Austrian loyalty’, but ‘whores to foreigners and Negro pigs’”.

The American authorities began to investigate the “hair cutters” and considered that they represented a potential political threat. 33 people were arrested and interrogated. Five were brought to trial.