Pressbaum is a municipality with 7754 inhabitants (as of January
1, 2020) in the St. Pölten district in Lower Austria. Pressbaum lies
on the main ridge of the Vienna Woods in the industrial district.
The Wien rises in the municipality and flows through the Wiental
valley it forms to the Vienna Danube Canal. Pressbaum itself is
mostly located in the Wiental and in subsequent side valleys such as
the Pfalzau, the Weidlingbachtal and the Brentenmais. At some ends
of the valleys there are saddles like the Rauchgern, the Hengstl or
the Rekawinkler Berg. Higher-lying districts are Dürrwien,
Haitzawinkel, in der Bonna, Rekawinkel and Schwabendörfl, the latter
two being directly on the main ridge of the Vienna Woods. The area
of the municipality covers 58.87 square kilometers, 78 percent of
the area is forested.
The best known elevations are the Pfalzberg, Bihaberg, Saubühel and Karriegel. The highest point in the municipality is the Jochgrabenberg at 645 meters.
The municipality includes the following localities (population in brackets as of January 1, 2020):
Au am Kraking (4) including In der Au, In der Bonna and Rauchgern
Pfalzau (531) including Fellinggraben, Klaushäuseln, Ober Kniewald, Pfalzberg, Schwabendörfl and Unter Kniewald
Pressbaum (6440) including Bartberg, Bihaberg, Brentenmais, Frauenwart, Haitzawinkel, Offene Meidling, Wallner and Weidlingbach
Rekawinkel (779) including Am Hagen and Sonnleiten
The community consists of the cadastral communities Au am Kraking, Preßbaum and Rekawinkel.
Antiquity and the Middle Ages
According to finds (Beilfund), the area may have been inhabited as early as the Neolithic Age. In ancient times the area of today's Pressbaum belonged to the Celtic Kingdom of Noricum, after its incorporation into the Roman Empire to the province of Noricum and later to the province of Pannonia. Several finds, such as a grave located on the municipal boundary (already in Sieghartskirchen), the so-called "Roman grave", point to traces of civilization from the time when this part of the Vienna Woods was both a retreat for the originally Celto-Illyrian population New settlement area for veteran Roman soldiers (Romanes) was. Another grave in this context was found during the construction of the road from Rekawinkel to Kogl, but it was destroyed by the road construction. It is not clear whether the current municipal area was touched by traffic lines such as paths or roads during the Roman era. In any case, the border between the provinces of Noricum and Pannonia lay on the main ridge of the Vienna Woods (Cetius Mons), which runs through today's municipal area. This border has been preserved to this day as the diocesan border of the Catholic Church: Pressbaum belongs to the Diocese of Vienna, the neighboring municipality of Eichgraben to the west of the Diocese of St. Pölten.
At the time of the Great Migration, the Vienna Woods, and thus also the municipality of today's Pressbaum, was the western border of both the Avars and Hungarians. The hallway designation "Am Hagen", alluding to an entrenchment, still refers to this time.
Early modern age
The further history of the area is unclear until 1572, as the Vienna Woods were a manorial forest and thus not accessible to the public, which was probably not so easily possible due to the primeval forest character. In 1572, Emperor Maximilian II ordered a documentary recording of the area in the form of a forest book for the first time; the Imperial Forest Office in Purkersdorf Castle was responsible. In this book, for the first time, well-known field names of the municipality are mentioned. From the two offices "Anzbacher Amt" and "Koglinger Amt" of the Vienna Woods comprising a total of twelve offices, the municipality of Pressbaum developed over time.
It is said that after the first siege of Vienna by the Turks, residents who fled Vienna were the first to settle in today's Pressbaum, at least the first dated building parts (passage beams from 1609) come from the time after that and the first hallway name “Pressbaum” is found in the year 1633. The population consisted mainly of forest and forest workers who were settled here from the areas of Salzburg, Upper Austria, Styria as well as from Bavaria and Swabia.
In 1675 Paul Tanner (or Thonner) became the forester of the Anzbach office and for this reason asked to be allowed to settle in his area of work. With the approval he received, he built the first house that was located “by the Pressbaum”, today's Gasthaus Lindenhof, which is probably the oldest house in today's community. This is where the term “Tonnerin” or “Tannerin” for Pressbaum, which was used well into the 19th century, comes from. In 1681 Christian Pezzelberger took over the forestry office. It was he who led the alliance's reserve army - consisting of troops from Austria, Poland, Bavaria and Baden, the Ottoman army that was besieging Vienna in Tulln - across the main ridge of the Vienna Woods to the battle of the Kahlenberg.
In the course of the warlike acts of the second Turkish siege of Vienna, especially by roaming Tatars who reached Pressbaum from the southwest from Hochstrasse, but even more because of the plague that had raged a few years earlier, the population of Pressbaum was badly affected. For example, woodworkers from Upper Austria and Styria were resettled again, who, in return for a certain amount of clearing work, were allowed to build "duck huts" depending on the size (1/4, 1/2 and 1 whole) and manage them with appropriate land. These so-called Hüttler formed the core of the inhabitants of that time.
The further time determined the life of the region, especially the logging and charcoal burning. The cut wood was drifted down the Wien River by means of specially built systems, where it was then processed, mainly in Vienna.
In 1713/14 the plague raged again in the area and the residents were not allowed to leave the place for quarantine reasons. That is why they asked permission to build their own chapel, as the weekly church attendance at Purkersdorf was not possible until then. According to legend, up until then they always met for this "at the press tree", a tree that was felled and never picked up for a cider press. In 1723 the chapel that was built was declared public and in 1730 the first church that replaced it was consecrated.
The passages of the French army under Napoleon, which in 1805 and again in 1809 took the shortest route through the Vienna Woods via Eichgraben and through Pressbaum, were in turn decisive experiences for Pressbaum, which has meanwhile grown into a typical Wienerwald woodcutting village. According to legend, Josef Schönach and Michael Helm were executed in the Pfalzau valley, as is told by the French cross designed by Rudolf Pleban and erected at that point. Another victim of the French was the village school teacher Josef Peschka. Another monument from that time stands on what is now private land, the French grave, a small chapel where 14 graves from those days were found. In some records or descriptions, this chapel is also referred to as the Turkish Chapel, which would mean that the graves found were assigned to the time of the Turkish sieges.
Only after the rulership was abolished in 1848, Pressbaum became an independent municipality, which was assigned to the Hietzing district in 1850. At that time Pressbaum had 358 houses.
In 1872 the painter Eduard Bitterlich, a pupil of Ferdinand Waldmüller and designer of the Vienna Opera, died in the Pfalzau. His paintings were destroyed in World War II.
From 1850 to 1873 the community of Tullnerbach, which was originally part of Pressbaum, was temporarily back to Pressbaum.
In 1858 the Vienna – Salzburg railway was built by the k.k. privileged Empress Elisabeth-Bahn, named after the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph. Empress Elisabeth also came to Pressbaum on her extensive hikes, as evidenced by the captured Wienflussquelle on the Pfalzberg, the “Kaiserbrünndl” and a drinking glass that is kept in the former “Zur Pfalzau” inn, from which Elisabeth supposedly drank milk. According to tradition, Elisabeth tasted the water from the Wienflussquelle so good that she had it brought to Vienna to make her coffee.
For Pressbaum, the passing of the railway meant a radical change in the village structure. Within a few years the lumberjack village transformed into a summer retreat for the better Viennese society of the Belle Époque. The villa buildings built by the master builders of the Palais on Vienna's Ringstrasse still shape parts of the community today. During this time, the buildings that define the center today, the elementary school (increased in 1891) and the Catholic Church (1909) were built. The Catholic Church is one of the few pure Art Nouveau buildings that were built in the sacred area.
In 1881 Johannes Brahms spent his summer in the Brentenmais district of Pressbaum, where he completed the Nänie (Op. 82) and his 2nd piano concerto (Op. 83). The musician, opera director and librettist of the Strauss opera Die Fledermaus, Richard Genée, who lived in Tullnerbach but was actively involved in social life in Pressbaum, among other things in the local choir, and even composed a song about Pressbaum, was even more connected to Pressbaum.
The aviation pioneer Wilhelm Kress undertook his experiments on the Wienerwaldsee, a damming of the Wien River and the Wolfsgrabenbach flowing into the former, which was built between 1895 and 1898 by the Belgian Compagnie des Eaux de Vienne, Societé anonyme for the Wientalwasserwerk he built the world's first airplane with a petrol engine.
In 1922, the Eichgraben cadastral community dissolved from Pressbaum and became an independent community.
The rreichische Landesskiververband founded by four clubs, one of
which was the "Deutsche Turnverein Pressbaum".
After Austria was annexed to the German Reich in 1938, in contrast to nearby Purkersdorf, the place was not attached to Greater Vienna, but was assigned to the district of Sankt Pölten.
The Nazis' ideology of extermination also fell victim to those born in Pressbaum, known by name are Artur Blumel and Adolf Spitz with his wife, who perished in a concentration camp. Jakob Nemencinkis, a Jewish boy from Lithuania who suffered from a harelip, was taken from the “Pressbaum Special Children's Home” to the Am Spiegelgrund Clinic, where he died of inhuman treatment. The Jew Max Arnold, who lived in Pressbaum, had better luck, who was ordered to be transported to Vienna, but was able to hide with his wife Johanna thanks to the help of a courageous Viennese woman, and thus survived.
During the Second World War, in the area of today's settlements around Badgasse, there was a barrack camp of the paramilitary work force "Organization Todt", which, in addition to specialist staff, increasingly used forced labor on a large scale towards the end of the war. The camp was built for work on expanding the western railway to four tracks, an undertaking that was discontinued at the end of the war and never resumed. Refugees in striped camp clothing were encountered by the local population at the end of the war.
On the Western Railway itself, trains served as moving command posts for the German Wehrmacht, which were stationed on the route between Pressbaum and Eichgraben and were brought into the two tunnels near Rekawinkel in the event of an air raid. In 1945 the Red Army, on the point of encircling Vienna, advanced from the southeast to Pressbaum. Three houses were destroyed in the fighting, 17 Pressbaum citizens committed suicide in the face of the "end of the 1000-year empire". The Soviet soldiers who died in the fighting are buried in a separate military cemetery with a memorial next to the Pressbaum cemetery. Local Pressbaumers also had to bring deceased Soviet soldiers from more distant places to Pressbaum to be buried. The sanatorium in Rekawinkel served as a military hospital for the Soviet Army and had to be supplied with food and other things by the local population.
In 1956 Pressbaum came from the St. Pölten administrative district to the Vienna area. This was dissolved on December 31, 2016, since then Pressbaum has belonged to the St. Pölten district again.
In 1961 Pressbaum got a connection to the West Autobahn A 1, which was completed in 1966 to Vienna and runs through the Pressbaumer municipality area, the Bihaberg was thereby divided. What was desired back then as a sign of progress and mechanization has turned out to be a source of noise and exhaust fumes today. The construction of the western motorway also made it necessary to build the Bihaberg tunnel in order to continue to ensure the smooth operation of Vienna's second high spring water pipeline in this area.
Apart from the construction of the motorway, the post-war period
brought decisive architectural innovations for Pressbaum. Some of
them, like the municipal office or the secondary school, have since
been rebuilt and renewed or expanded. In any case, there has been a
noticeable change in the appearance of the village, which today is
characterized by the architectural style of the 1960s / 70s,
supermarkets, and more and more residential buildings and terraced
houses, and in which the typical for these decades and that
continues to this day and therefore also by the residents and in the
local media repeatedly thematized lack of awareness for a harmonious
design of the townscape reflects. In 2003 one of the oldest houses
in Pressbaum, the former forest administration, was demolished and a
supermarket was built in its place. The only skyscraper in
Pressbaum, which differs significantly from the other buildings due
to its height, the Lower Austrian state nursing home Wienerwaldheim,
which was built in the 1970s, was abandoned and reopened as a
residential park in 2008 with added row houses. The valleys of the
municipality are nowadays more and more populated, with the forest
and settlement touching each other directly. In order to stop the
rampant construction of single and terraced houses, a construction
freeze and a structured development plan have been discussed for
In 1964 Pressbaum was elevated to a market town. Pressbaum has been part of the Vienna Woods Biosphere Park since 2005, with a core zone located in the Pfalzau on the Pressbaum municipal area. Pressbaum has been a member of the Climate Alliance Austria since 2007. In 2012, efforts were made, especially by Mayor Schmidl-Haberleitner, to have Pressbaum elevated to the rank of town, which was mainly due to the growing number of inhabitants and its importance as a school location. On November 20, 2012 Pressbaum was raised to the status of a city (municipality).