With the end of World War II, the repatriation of Austrian Jews who fled or were deported under the Nazi Regime started immediately. However, the majority of those who had managed to escape Austria in time preferred to remain abroad or were not invited back; the overwhelming majority of deported Jews had died or were killed. More than 3,000 of those who had survived the terror left Austria in 1946/47 for other countries.
Millions of people, uprooted by war, persecution and forced labor, tried to return to their former home countries or, if they were Jewish, to leave Europe and go to overseas countries. Many of them would pass Austria, staying in transit-camps and DP ('Displaced Persons' - homeless survivors of the Holocaust) camps where they received medical treatment, food and education. The DP camp situated at the former Jewish Rothschild Hospital in Vienna was mainly intended as a transit-camp accommodating people usually for a few days. Between July 1945 and September 1949 some 170,000 people passed through this camp. It is estimated that only a few hundreds of these DPs chose Austria as a permanent place of living; most of the DPs had no clear idea where they could go and remained in Austria for fairly long periods. The B'richa movement used Austria as a transit route on the way of Palestine. Tens of thousands of mostly young people were led by emissaries from Eretz Israel through Germany, Austria and Italy. Some 30,000 people passed through the town of Salzburg, an important transmigration station, between the end of the war, the number doubling between May and November 1946.
The UK after the end of the WWII, was the only European country to attract any considerable number of Jewish immigrants from Austria, probably relatives of those who had gone there as refugees and had managed to lay down roots in their new homeland.
The first Israeli census (1948) cites 7,626 persons immigrating during 1932-1939 and a further 1,807 for 1940-1945. From May 1948 to 1951, the peak years of mass immigration, 2,604 Austrian-born Jews moved to Israel.
Immediately after the war 787 Jews returned to Austria, another 819 Austrian-born persons returned or re-migrated to Austria from Israel in 1948-1952. According to 1961 census, the Austrian-born Jewish population listed approximately 12,000 persons. Since 1948 more than 5,400 Austrian Jews have immigrated to Israel.
Austria became again a transit place for Jews when the failed revolution in Hungary caused hundreds of thousands to leave the country in 1956/57. In January 1957 the number of registered Hungarian Jewish refugees was 10,400, although the actual figure was estimated much higher. Though most of them wished to immigrate to the US, Canada and Australia, some 1,879 chose to go to Israel.
Jews from Eastern European countries traveled through Austria in several periods. Between April 1947 and February 1948, about 20,000 Romanian Jews passed through Hungary into the American zone of Vienna and from there continued to Germany. Romanian Jews were again able to emigrate in the late 1950s and during the 1960s and 1970s.
In September 1970 five Viennese Jewish students went on hunger strike to support Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union. Between 1968 and 1986 270,199 Soviet Jews emigrated via Austria – which was the only country to offer transit – to the USA, Israel and other countries. In October 1973, a Palestinian terrorist attacked a train with Soviet emigrants and took three Jewish hostages, demanding a stop to Jewish emigration to Israel via Austria. Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky managed to resolve the crisis, even though Golda Meir was dismayed.
Between 1973 and 1989 over 250,000 Jewish immigrants came through Austria, 65,000 of whom continued to Israel. The majority preferred the United States or other Diaspora destinations, and a small number remained in Austria
In the 1990's, approximately 5,000 Jews from the Soviet republics of Uzbekistan, Georgia and Daghestan, and Iranian Jews moved to Vienna, some of them after spending several years in Israel.