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České Velenice

Česká Velenice and Gmünd

Animated time travel through railway history spanning České Velenice and Gmünd

In 1874 a new epoch began in the Waldviertel when the Franz-Josef Railways expanded to a fully serviced network. Counter to the wishes of Gmünd, the train station was built outside the town in the municipality of Böhmzeil, at the railway yard at Wieland.

The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye entailed a modification of the border line in favour of the newly founded Czechoslovakia. Covetous glances fell on the railway yards and surrounding areas.  The new border was demarcated upon inspection by a newly arrived committee. Its members were met with suspicion by the Gmünd inhabitants, who were worried about the future status of their city.

According to some rumours there were even sabotage efforts. The towns of Unterwielands and Böhmzeil subsequently became České Velenice, and Czech workers moved there. In the autumn of 1938, Hitler’s troops arrived at České Velenice from Gmünd. Following that, Unterwielands and Böhmzeil underwent a subsequent change to become city district Gmünd III. In the train yards, Czech forced labourers and prisoners of war were incorporated into the Nazi war effort. On 23 March 1945, Allied fighter jets turned the train yards into a heap of rubble.

Gmünd III now switched back again to being České Velenice, including its train station. And the Gmünd train station is now a popular meeting point for cycle excursions with the Waldviertel rail line – the bicycles of course come along for the ride!

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