Among the tragic fates intimately connected with Palais Epstein as the seat of the Soviet City Commandantura, those of two Austrians are particularly vividly remembered: Anton Marek and Friedrich Böhm. Anton Marek was a criminal police officer who had been ordered to investigate cases of arbitrary arrests by the Soviet occupation force. He was arrested in the Commandantura and deported to Siberia for a period of seven years. Friedrich Böhm was a chauffeur in the service of Soviet officers. When he was suspected of aiding and abetting desertion and espionage, he committed suicide by throwing himself out of a window of Palais Epstein. Another case that caused a considerable commotion was that of a person arrested by the Inter-Allied Military Patrol, but dragged by the Russians into the City Commandantura.
Up to the early 1950s arrests and deportations of Austrian citizens by the Soviet occupation forced were a sad reality, reaching their peak in 1948. All in all, some 2200 Austrians, both male and female, were arrested, more than 1000 deported to the Soviet Union and more than 150 executed. For many of the Vienna City Commandantura was the “gateway to Siberia“.