This year’s Radomir Luza Prize was awarded to Erin R. Hochman, Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX), for her book Imagining Greater Germany: Republican Nationalism and the Idea of Anschluss (Ithaca/NY: Cornell University Press, 2016).
Up to 2016 the awarding ceremony took place in the course of the “Austrian Reception”, given by the director of director of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, during the German Studies Association’s annual conference. This year it was, for the time, part of the Association’s banquet on Friday evening.
Winfried Garscha, as representative of the “American Friends of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance”, quoted from the reason of the jury:
Hochman’s Imagining Greater Germany is in perfect alignment with Radomír Luža’s classic Austro-German Relations in the Anschluss Era, in fact, her book represents a sort of prequel to Luža’s book. It is a serious work of comparative history on the important question of who supported “democracy” in Weimar Germany and the First Austrian Republic? Her focus on “cross-border” contacts of Germany’s and Austria’s “entangled” interwar histories of the “Pro-Anschluss” movements on both sides of the border is an innovative new approach on Austro-German relations. Her chapter on “symbols” of the new democratic republics (flags, anthems, state holidays) adds a lot of new information on the domestic contestations of these symbols. This is a well-written, deeply researched history that will honor this first Luza Prize to be administered by the GSA.
Hochman is the fifth recipient of the Luža Prize, started in 2012.
Günter Bischof, representative of the Center Austria, which had financed the prize until 2016, gave a short outline of the history of the prize and of his name-giver Radomír Luža. The American Friends of the Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes (Winfried Garscha, David Wildermuth) and the Center Austria: The Austrian Marshall Plan Center for European Studies at the University of New Orleans (Günter Bischof) have originated and organized the annual Radomir Luza Price in Central European Studies of the World War II Era. With a grant from the Austrian Future Fund (Zukunftsfonds der Republik Österreich) and with the help of Gerald Fetz (Secretary-Treasurer of the GSA), the Luža Prize has been moved to the German Studies Association and will be awarded annually during the GSA Banquet.
Czech-born Radomír Luža fought with his father in the Czech resistance against the Nazis and fled the country after the Communist takeover in February 1948. He emigrated via Vienna to the United States. After receiving a PhD in History from New York University, he began his prolific career at the University of New Orleans and switched to Tulane University in New Orleans, where he served as an eminent professor of Central European History until his retirement. He wrote books both on Austria and Czechoslovakia during World War II. His memoir The Hitler Kiss is a classic on the Czech resistance.
Left: Awarding ceremony on October 6, 2017, Hotel Sheraton, Atlanta, GA: Winfried Garscha, Erin Hochman, Günter Bischof (from left). Photo: Gerald Fetz.
Right: Cover of Erin Hochman’s book.