Austrian Physicians Under National Socialism

DÖW Yearbook 2017

Published by Herwig Czech and Paul Weindling on behalf of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance
Editing: Christine Schindler
, 2017
303 pages
Price: € 19.50



This publication examines the effects of National Socialism on Austrian medicine, with the focus being on the large group of persecuted – mostly Jewish – men and women doctors. It is an updated compilation of lectures given at a conference at the Medical University of Vienna on April 16, 2015, co-organized by the Medical Univertsity, the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance (DÖW) and the Natural History Museum Vienna. The conference had been sponsored by the Center for Medicine after the Holocaust (Houston, TX).

Topics include:

  • The systematic exclusion of Jews from the medical profession and their ultimate deportation out of the city;
  • The Institute of Racial Biology (Rassenbiologisches Institut) at the University of Vienna; where 19th century concepts of racial anthropology and eugenics were investigated and promulgated;
  • The criminal, forced experiments for converting salt water to drinking water on prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp in 1944;
  • Dealings with Nazi physicians after 1945.

All contributions are in German.
INTRODUCTION (Herwig Czech / Paul Weindling, Österreichische Ärzte und Ärztinnen im Nationalsozialismus: Einleitung)
CVs of the 18 authors

The DÖW yearbook 2017 comprises work done during 2016 by the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance. Compiled by Christine Schindler under the title Ein lebendiger Ort der Erinnerung (“A vibrant place of remembrance”).

Members of the American Friends of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance can get the yearbook at a reduced price. Contact:

Fanatism—Obedience—Defiance in Nazi Vienna & Lower Austria

DÖW Yearbook 2016

The yearbook consists of the DÖW annual report for 2015 and 11 articles with the main focus on Nazi persecution and resistance in the “Reichsgaue” Greater Vienna (“Groß-Wien”) and Lower Austria which the Nazis called “Niederdonau” (to avoid the tabooed term Austria/Österreich).

Examples for Nazi fanatism are described in three essays:

“Sixteen Poles at once”
The contribution of the teacher Rudolf Riha tries to clarify rumors about war crimes committed by an Austrian police man, member of the 11th SS-­Totenkopfstandarte displaced in the Radom district of the General Government, who, after 1945, became mayor of a village in Lower Austria. During the last years the municipal council of the village refused all attempts to rename a street which was named after this mayor.

From “Aktion T4” to the so called “decentralized euthanasia”
The psychiatric hospitals Gugging, Mauer-Öhling and Ybbs in Lower Austria were among the main sites of euthanasia murders after the Aktion T4 had been stopped by Hitler in summer 1941. The principal perpetrator on all these crime scenes was Emil Gelny, one of the “most evil figures of Austrian medical history”, as Herwig Czech calls him. Czech evaluates both medical records of the hospitals during the Nazi era and post-1945 court documents. He depicts Gelny as an example for a Nazi fanatic who exceeded even the requirements of the euthanasia murder program.

The “Stein Complex”
The young historian Konstantin Ferihumer and DÖW archivist Winfried Garscha describe the biggest massacre on Austrian soil in 1945, the mass shooting of more than 300 already released prisoners of the penitentiary Stein on the Danube on April 6th. The authors argue that the massacre was part and parcel of a whole complex of crimes of the final phase of the Nazi regime in the area Krems on the Danube. Krems and Stein had become headquarters of some of the crucial Nazi state apparatuses like the Gestapo or the general prosecutor after the liberation of Vienna by the Soviet army.

Claudia Kuretsidis-Haider presents her expert opinion about the possiblde revocation of the honorary citizenship for the former and deputy mayor of the Lower Austrian town of Amstetten. She describes the involvement of this “Landrat” (district administrator during the Nazi era) in the persecution of Jews, “gypsies” and slave laborers, and his career after the war:
“Metes and Bounds of Obedience, Administrative Jurisdiction and Local Networks of a District Administrator During and After World War II”

Stephan Roth tells the moving story of a local resistance group in the “Dunkelstein Woods” in Central Lower Austria: “…because I will be shot dead today afternoon at five.”
Hans Schafranek shows the startling extent of the infiltration of different resistance organizations in Lower Austria by the Gestapo office in Sankt Pölten, especially in the final phase of the war.


In  November 2016 the DÖW was awarded by the governer of Lower Austria for this book.

All contributions are in German. The book is out of print, however you can DOWNLOAD it from DÖW web-site.

Contemporary Historian—Archivist—Educator

Edited by Claudia Kuretsidis-Haider and Christine Schindler
on behalf of
The Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance / Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes (DÖW)
and the Austrian Research Agency for Post-War Justice / Zentrale österreichische Forschungsstelle Nachkriegsjustiz (FStN)

The historian Winfried R. Garscha, archivist at the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance and co-Director of the Research Agency for Post-War Justice, celebrated his 65th birthday in May 2017. On this occasion DÖW and FStN published a “festschrift” in which the contributions of more than 30 authors reflect the broad spectrum of Garscha’s research.
According to his own publications the texts thus span an arc from the history of the labor movement; through World War I and First Republic; to Nazi rule, resistance, persecution, and the Holocaus. Likewise examined are the judicial prosecution of Nazi crimes in Austria and other forms of coming to terms with the sequels of the Nazi dictatorship. The book includes contributions in German and English.
Among the English texts are Evan Burr Bukey’s interview of the Nazi mayor of Linz, Josef Wolkerstorfer (28 July 1978), as well as essays by
Günter Bischof  (“Busy with Refugee Work”: Joseph Buttinger, Muriel Gardiner, and the Saving of Austrian Refugees, 1940–1941),
Michael Bryant (The Death Camp as a Criminal Organization. Theories of Systemic Criminality in Nazi Death Camp Trials, 1945–2015), and
Felix Tweraser (Arthur Schnitzler, Political Identity Formation, and First-Republic Austria).

Among the German texts are of special interest for American readers the essays by
Brigitte Bailer about the German contribution to the indemnification of Austrian Nazi victims (Deutsche Zahlungen für österreichische Opfer des Nationalsozialismus – das Abkommen von Bad Kreuznach),
Hans Hautmann about Austrian military justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina before and during World War I (Kriegsjustiz in Bosnien-Herzegowina unter Habsburgs Herrschaft),
Eleonore Lappin-Eppel about a Viennese resistance group of “half Jewish” juveniles (Die „Mischlingsliga Wien“ – Widerstandsgruppe und Jugendorganisation),
Wolfgang Neugebauer (Zur Struktur, Größe und Effizienz des kommunistischen Widerstands in Österreich 1938–1945),
Siegfried Sanwald about the Austrian judiciary and Adolf Eichmann (Adolf Eichmann und die österreichische Justiz. Neue Aspekte auf der Grundlage des Akts des Bundesministeriums für Justiz), and
Kurt Tweraser about the failed attempt of US Allied Commission for Austria in 1946, to privatize German assets in Austria (Der gescheiterte amerikanische Versuch, das „Deutsche Eigentum“ in Österreich zu privatisieren),
as well as a “footnote” by Dick de Mildt about new arguments of the German prosecutors with regard to the punishment of Nazi crimes (Fußnote zur „Justizwende“ in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland).

Garscha’s colleague, co-director Claudia Kuretsidis-Haider, added a “workshop report” about common research into Austrian post World War II judiciary by both scholars (20 Jahre Zentrale österreichische Forschungsstelle Nachkriegsjustiz. Ein Werkstattbericht). Under the title “It’s crucial to pose the right questions”, Rudolf Leo followed Garscha’s traces in Austrian media („Wichtig ist, richtige Fragen zu stellen.“ Winfried R. Garscha im  Spiegel ausgewählter österreichischer Medien).

Vienna 2017
500 pages
Price: EUR 19,50


New publication: 80 Jahre Internationale Brigaden

New research on Austrian volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, published by DÖW this year!

80-jahre-internationale-brigaden-buchcoverDokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes

Vereinigung österreichischer Freiwilliger in der Spanischen Republik 1936-1939 und der Freunde des demokratischen Spanien (Hrsg.)

Redaktion: Irene Filip
Wien 2016
157 Seiten
Preis: EUR 12,50