Ebensee am Traunsee is an Austrian market town in the Gmunden
district in the Traunviertel and Salzkammergut in Upper Austria with
7677 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2020). The community is located
in the judicial district of Bad Ischl.
Originally located in the eastern part of the Duchy of Bavaria, the area has belonged to the Duchy of Styria since 1180, which the Austrian Babenbergs inherited in 1192. The place Ebensee was first mentioned in 1447.
Since the local brewhouse could not be expanded due to an acute shortage of wood in the area around Hallstatt, Emperor Rudolf II ordered the construction of a new Pfannhaus (saline) in Ebensee in 1596, the Saline Ebensee, which was realized from 1604. The first salt could be boiled on February 8, 1607. The manpower required for the brewhouse was mainly recruited in Hallstatt, the lumberjacks in Aussee. The brine was fed in via an almost 40 km long brine line from the Hallstatt Salt Mountain, which was built under the technical direction of Ischl forest master Hans Kalß - this is still in operation and the Gosauzwang brine line bridge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site Hallstatt-Dachstein / Salzkammergut .
In 1625 Ebensee already had 1,000 inhabitants. The construction of its own Catholic church began in 1729. The church was under the Traunkirchen monastery. Ebensee first became a vicariate in 1771 and an independent parish in 1786. When in 1733 the salt works workers wanted to take their free Shrove Tuesday, the "Shrove Tuesday revolt" occurred.
The salt works, numerous houses and the
church tower were destroyed in a major fire in 1835. During the
March Revolution in 1848, a national guard was set up in Ebensee. A
first telegraph was set up in Ebensee in 1866. Ebensee was connected
to the Austrian railway network in 1877 by the Salzkammergutbahn, a
branch line of the Rudolfsbahn. The railway line ran from
Attnang-Puchheim in Upper Austria to Stainach-Irdning in Styria.
This was intended to promote the onset of tourism and to cover the
enormous fuel requirements of the salt pans, which could no longer
be met by the increasingly scarce forests, by supplying coal. The
brothers Alfred and Ernest Solvay built an ammonia-soda factory in
1883, the Solvay-Werke in Ebensee. In 1887 the Ebensee volunteer
fire brigade was founded.
Electricity was introduced in 1907 after the construction of a power station on the Offenseebach. During the First World War, 218 residents were killed and 6 more went missing. In addition, the place was affected by a great famine in 1917.
Since 1918 the place belongs to the federal state of Upper Austria. In 1927, a cable car built by Adolf Bleichert & Co. was opened on the Feuerkogel, the Feuerkogel cable car. Ebensee was raised to a market town in 1929. During the Austrian civil war, a large part of the Ebenseer workers took part in the general strike in February 1934. The armed forces marched in and put down the uprising.
After Austria was annexed to the German Reich on March 13, 1938, Ebensee was part of the Upper Danube Gau.
In November 1943, the Ebensee concentration camp was established as a sub-camp of the Mauthausen concentration camp - with the code name Projekt Zement, it served to relocate the Peenemünde rocket research facility to a bomb-proof area. From November 1943 to May 1945, 8,745 prisoners died in Ebensee concentration camp. At the end of April 1945 there were 18,437 prisoners in Ebensee. The camp was liberated on May 6, 1945 by American troops. During the Second World War, 289 Ebenseers fell and another 90 were missing. After 1945, a DP camp for Jewish “displaced persons” was set up on the site of the concentration camp. Due to tensions, most of the Jewish DPs were relocated to Bad Gastein.
Flood protection was built from 1951 to 1957 by building the Traun. The Protestant church was consecrated in 1953. A new prestressed concrete bridge over the Traun was built in 1954. In 1957 the 350th anniversary of the town took place. On September 23, 1963, Italian neo-fascist terrorists carried out bomb attacks on the saltworks, the Feuerkogel cable car and the Lion Monument. One gendarme was killed and four other people injured.
The new town hall with ancillary facilities was opened in 1973.
The saltworks was converted into a stock corporation in 1979. In the
same year a new large saltworks was built in Ebensee / Steinkogl and
the local history museum was opened in the "Saltworks Office". A new
Feuerkogel cable car was put into operation in 1986. In 1988 Ebensee
received the title “Most youth-friendly municipality in Upper
The KV Kino Ebensee was awarded the Upper Austrian State Culture Prize in 1992 and the art day trip Prä-Post-Brunft (Christoph Herndler, Reinhard Kannonier, Georg Nussbaumer, Walter Pilar & Norbert Schweizer) was awarded the Upper Austrian promotion prize for alternative cultural work.
In 1995 a big international 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Ebensee concentration camp took place. The concentration camp memorial gallery was opened a year later. The former prisoner in the Ebensee concentration camp, Roberto Castellani from Prato, became an honorary citizen of the market town of Ebensee in 1997.
The Contemporary History Museum Ebensee was opened in 2001. In 2002 Ebensee became a "bicycle-friendly community" and a "climate alliance community". From 2004 to 2005 Ebensee received new flood protection. In 2005, Ebensee became Austria's first “attac municipality”. On September 30, 2005, Solvay closed its soda production. In 2007, the 400th anniversary of the municipality was held. In 2008 Ebensee took part in the decentralized Upper Austrian provincial exhibition "Salzkammergut" with the project "Heimat - Himmel & Hölle - Migration im Salzkammergut".
On July 5, 2017, the city council meeting decided to rename Ebensee to Ebensee am Traunsee. On October 31, 2017, the renaming was approved by the state of Upper Austria.