See E. Gabory, Alias Bluebeard (tr. 1930); T. Dix, Black Baron (1930); J. Benedetti, Gilles de Rais (1971).
See biography by J. H. Salmon (1969).
Rudolph von Habsburg awarded Count Berthold of Rabenswalde (1278 – 1312) shire and sovereignty of Hardegg as a fiefdom. The count did not stay for long in Hardegg, and moved to Retz, where he founded the monastery of the Dominican Order (called Dominikanerkloster). The monastery was finished in 1295. Finally he founded the city of Retz around 1300.
Around 1343 the preacher Franz von Retz was born. He reformed the Dominican Order, taught at the University of Vienna, was their Dean for five times, and represented the university also at the Council of Pisa. He died on September 8, 1427 in Vienna.
In 1425, the Hussites conquered Retz (November 25) and only a few days later also Schrattenthal and Pulkau. The city was destroyed and many people were killed. A chronicle from Klosterneuburg reported of 6000 captives, among them Count Heinrich of Maidburg (Hardegg), which were led to Prague. Nearly 8000 men are said to be slain and over 30 catholic churches to be destroyed. In 1431 the Hussites came to raid Retz for a second time.
In 1467 the Burgeois hospital chapel, located between the Verderberhaus and the Znaimer Tor, has been consecrated and in 1783 it has been secularized. Today it serves as a museum for the South Moravian gallery.
After the reconstruction of the city Retz was conquered by Matthias Corvinus on October 12, 1486 after a siege which lasted for four days. Until 1492 Retz belonged to his dominion. During that time the city received the privileges concerning the trade of wine which were responsible for the wealth of Retz in the future. Also as a consequence of these privileges the huge and multi-storied wine cellar system was built. Today it is being used for guided tours and during Advent, it serves as the location for a christmas market.
In 1576, the Sgraffitohaus was built. In 1928, the overpainted paintings were discovered and uncovered again.
The eye-catching Verderberhaus originates to the year 1583. It has its name from a family named Verderber which was a very wealthy family in Retz at that time. The family acquired the building in 1848.
Between 1660 and 1670 the castle of the Suttner-Gatterburg family was built. Today it is home to the bicycle museum of Retz. During the shootings for the TV series Julia - eine außergewöhnliche Frau between 1998 and 2002, the fictional police station was situated there.
In 1680 the pest came to the town. The Pestsäule on the main square still reminds of this dramatic event.
Since 1696 the houses are allowed to being built higher than the city's defensive wall. This was the reason for the Dominican Order to increase the size of their monastery by a third story.
The first windmill in Retz was entirely built out of wood in 1772. Later, a second windmill was erected nearby, which was built out of stone. The second windmill is not used as a windmill anymore, it now serves as a residential house.
In 1831 the wooden windmill was removed and a new windmill was built on the same spot, which is still one of the town's landmarks today, for it is the only fully functional windmill left in Austria. There was also a bricklayer from Lesná u Znojma (South Moravia) involved in the works. He used the acquired knowledge to build a windmill also in his hometown, which was later inherited by the son of the windmiller of Retz. In 1927, the windmill was shut down. Not far from the windmill the Kalvarienberg (calvary) is located. It was erected in the years 1727 to 1737 by Jakob Seer.
Mayor of the town is Karl Heilinger, chief officer is Andreas Sedlmayer. In the municipal council there are 25 seats and the distribution of mandates after the municipal council election from March 6, 2005 is as follows: ÖVP 16, SPÖ 8, Greens 1, other parties no seats.
There are 206 non-agricultural workplaces as of 2001, and 315 agricultural workplaces as of 1999. The number of gainful persons is 1,709 according to the census of 2001. The activity rate was 42.08 percent.