The Annual Report of 2015 is part of the DÖW yearbook 2016 (“Fanatiker-Pflichterfüller-Widerständige” / Fanatism—Obedience—Defiance in Nazi Vienna & Lower Austria)
The DÖW yearbook 2017 includes the annual report 2016 of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance, compiled by Christine Schindler under the title Ein lebendiger Ort der Erinnerung (“A vibrant place of remembrance”).
Date: Saturday, October 7, 2017
Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Room: Georgia 7 (Level 1) (Sheraton Atlanta)
The American Friends of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance annual meeting takes place directly before the Austrian Cultural Forum New York reception in the same room, which is always a great opportunity to greet the larger Austrian academic community.
I would also like to remind those members who have yet to pay their 2016-2017 American Friends dues that they can do so at our annual meeting. Of course, members may also simply send their dues to me at the address listed below.
All the officers of the American Friends of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance look forward to seeing you at our annual meeting.
David W. Wildermuth
DÖW symposium about new quantitative and qualitative research regarding exile and the Holocaust
Research regarding the various aspects of the Holocaust is one of the central activities of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance (DÖW): On the one hand, in the area of exile research; on the other hand, the research project “Register of Names of Austrian Victims of the Holocaust”, undertaken from 1992 to 2001. Beginning in 2010 the DÖW began the project, “Expulsion—Exile—Emigration. Austrian Exiles As Seen in the Files of the Law Firm of Dr. Hugo Ebner,” using a portion of the pension documents acquired from the law firm of Dr. Hugo Ebner in 2006; as well as the “emigration lists” of the Vienna Israelite Community (IKG).
Despite the numerous studies of partial aspects of the expulsion, persecution, and murder of Austrian Jewish men and women, a comprehensive analysis of how the different victim groups related to each other economically and socially, or in terms of age and sex, for example, was lacking. The project “Expulsion and Extermination. New quantitative and qualitative Research Regarding Exile and Holocaust” investigated questions regarding the network of social relationships; the history of expulsion and extermination; and the subsequent fate of this largest group of Nazi victims, who were also at greatest risk of extermination. The results are a social and structural analysis and a collective biographical synthesis.
Symposium: Old City Hall (Altes Rathaus), Wipplingerstraße 6-8, 1010 Wien, Salvatorsaal (entrance in the courtyard)
Evening Session on September 26, 7-9pm: City Hall (Rathaus), Lichtenfelsgasse 2, 1010 Wien Festsaal (entrance: Feststiege I)
DÖW Yearbook 2017
Published by Herwig Czech and Paul Weindling on behalf of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance
Editing: Christine Schindler
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).
- 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.
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”).
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.
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).
Price: EUR 19,50
The American Friends of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance/Vienna, supported by Center Austria: The Marshall Plan Center for European Studies at the University of New Orleans, are pleased to announce the Fifth annual prize namend after Radomír Luža for an outstanding work in the field of Austrian and/or Czechoslovak World War II studies, particularly in the fields of diplomatic history, resistance and war studies. This prize carries a cash award and seeks to encourage research in the above mentioned fields focusing on the time period between the Anschluss and Munich Agreement (1938) and the end of the Second World War (1945) and its immediate aftermath in Central Europe.
To be eligible for the 2017 Radomir Luza Prize competition, the book or dissertation must have been published (or a dissertation defended) between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016. Authors must be citizens or resident aliens (holders of “green cards”) of the United States or Canada. Dissertations must have been awarded by a North American University. The language of the work must be English.
To be considered for the Radomir Luza Prize competition, please send a copy of your work electronically to: DWWildermuth@ship.edu.
The deadline for submissions has been extended to August 30, 2017. The winner will be announced at the GSA conference in Atlanta, GA, October 5-8, 2017. The awarding will take place during the banquet of the GSA at Sheraton Atlanta Hotel / Capitol Center South, on Friday evening.
Available at AMAZON ($20.73)
The Rediscovery of the Austrian Resistance
(Review by Winfried R. Garscha)
For the Austrian public Wolfgang Neugebauer’s book, “The Austrian Resistance 1938-1945”, which the author rewrote in 2015, adding over sixty pages, is a long overdue summary of decades-long research at Vienna’s Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance as well as from numerous primarily regional sources. With the authority of years as the director of the Archive, Neugebauer’s study presents analyses and evaluations which widely amplify the material in the first edition of 2008 regarding the Austrian resistance in science and publication. Among the major subjects included:
- Many examples of the connection between the crucial role played by communist cells in the organized resistance and their origin in Social Democracy.
- The juxtaposition of the ambivalent posture of the Catholic bishops toward the Nazi regime visa vie the resoluteness of rank and file priests, monks, nuns, and lay Catholics.
- The defence of the free choice taken by many Communist men and women to return from the security of exile to their annexed Austria in order to rebuilt the broken links of underground organizations that had been decimated by the Gestapo. In their home territory this was seen by the Communist Party leadership as suicidal politics. He gives as best examples the Viennese architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky and the Graz architect Herbert Eichholzer.
- The previously down-played or completely ignored role of the Allied secret service activity in annexed Austria carried out mostly by Austrians in the Allied armed forces by the inclusion of the Austrian resistance within the military’s anti-Hitler efforts to defeat the Wehrmacht. In connection with that, Neugebauer’s recognition of the military significance of the Slovenian resistance in Carinthia should be emphasized, which in the past had been dismissed as assistance for the post-war demands of Yugoslavia.
- Finally, the appreciation of activities previously ignored or not considered at all: Neugebauer gives examples of resistance to Nazi euthanasia, demonstrates the significance of individual resistance, for example, the loss of self-defence and of desertion; and he deals with the Jewish resistance in which he emphasizes the selfless effect of the Zionist Youth official Aron Menczer both in Vienna, where he saved hundreds of children with passage to Palestine and in the Theresienstadt Ghetto, where he cared for 1,260 neglected and orphaned Polish children who were otherwise destined for Auschwitz and certain death.
As important as Neugebauer’s standard work is and will remain for the time being, for inner-Austrian discussion, his greatest effect will no doubt be in the 2014 English translation, which was made possible by the Republic of Austria Future Fund, and thanks to enthusiastic reviews in American journals in the last year and a half will even bring this topic to the attention of those having a general interest in Austria 1938-1945, even if they do not study the work itself. Also, Günter Bischof’s Introduction to the translation of Felix Mitterer’s Jägerstätter play, which will be dealt with later, references Neugebauer’s book.
Beside Germany and France, the United States is the country where research and publicity are highly focused on Austrian history and politics, in part as a result of the large number of Austrian refugees who found a new homeland in the United States following 1938, and also because of high interest in German Studies at American universities, focusing on Austrian literature and history of the 19th and 20th centuries, as the programs of the annual meeting of the German Studies Association (GSA) impressively attest. Another result was the coming together of the American Friends of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance with the GSA. Thus it is important to know which image of Austrian society during Nazi times dominates historical research in the US. This image of the past 3 decades has been dominated by the “Austrian component” of Nazi crimes. There were several reasons for this. Firstly, as a result of the response to the Waldheim debate, which brought to light the whitewashing of history for foreign consumption, and attempted to completely ignore the Nazi period. Where it could not be avoided, the coercive aspect of the so-called “Anschluss” 1938 whereby a major number of Austrian “compatriots” participated in the humiliation, abuse, and theft of thousands of Viennese Jewish men and women, was simply repressed and hidden. Very quickly during the Waldheim debate, many in America switched their perception of Austria from that of Victim to that of Perpetrator.
Secondly, these prejudices were confirmed in the manner by which Austrian governments promptly rejected claims of Nazi victims prior to the conclusion of the agreement between the federal government of Austria and the government of the United States regarding the questions of compensation and restitution for the victims of National Socialism (the Washington Agreement of 24 October 2000). Even in the implementation of the agreement, leading officials still attempted to skirt the spirit of the agreement, which was once again conveyed to a broad audience in the sumptuous 2015 film “Woman in Gold” by the British director Simon Curtis about the fight over the return of Klimt’s “Goldener Adele” to the heirs of Adele Bloch-Bauer.
Not lastly, the Austria image in the US was formed by the absence of an “alternative history” to the prevailing victim-perpetrator story. The fact that a part of Austrian society for different reasons rejected the Nazi ideology; that 10 thousand resisted, either in organizations or as individual men or women; and that thousands of them fell victim to the Nazi-Injustice machine or were murdered in concentration camps was not included in this history of “Austria’s Nazi past”. The primary reason for this was certainly that following the Waldheim debate in the United States no further scientifically funded purview of Austria in the Nazi period appeared. Moreover, an Ameican historian of Czech origin and deep connections to Austria set forth standards in the 1970’s and 1980’s: in 1975 Radomir Luza published his book about the politics of the Nazi regime in annexed Austria (“Austro-German Relations in the Anschluss Era”; German translation, 1977, entitled “Österreich und die Großdeutsche Idee in der NS-Zeit), and in 1984 “The Resistance in Austria, 1938-1945”. Luza’s publication, including its German translation of 1985, remained the standard work regarding the Austrian resistance, for the simple reason that there was no alternative overview publication. Luzas’s concept of resistance was based on his own experiences as a member of the (armed) antifascist network in occupied Czechoslovakia. Luza had no place for the idea of resistance outside of a political underground organization. Therefore one icon of the Austrian resistance, Franz Jägerstätter, appears only as a footnote in his book. Luza’s book evaluated the documents collected in the DÖW and presented them in very readable form, according to political and region point of view, and at its conclusion offered a statistical overview that among resistance researchers has become a standard. According to this analysis, 44.5% of the resistance was Communist; 5% Socialist; and almost 40% in one way or another Catholic-Conservative / Monarchist. Luza’s numbers were essentially based on Nazi documents concerning the organized resistance in the Vienna region. As later studies – particularly those from DÖW documents concerning the individual federal states – demonstrated, the political weighting of organized resistance by region differs. Thus, the Communist proportion in Styria was markedly higher; whereas, in Tirol it was lower. (Neugebauer estimates the Communist proportion Austria-wide to have been approximately three quarters if one includes those having had loose connection to the illegal Communist Party of Austria.)
“The Resistance in Austria” was problematic not because of the book per se, but rather that it had no “successor”. Not only resistance research continued to progress (even though academic research focused on it to only a small degree, particularly in the 1990s and 2000s). At the latest, Evan Burr Bukey’s study from the year 2000, “Hitler’s Austria:Popular Sentiment in the Nazi Era, 1938-1945 (2001 German translation entitled “Hitlers Österreich. Eine Bewegung und ein Volk) presented for the first time with broad ranging data, the mood among the Austrian population, which thereby influenced in large measure the emergence and likelihood of success. Meanwhile several studies analyzed an additional factor, without which a presentation of the resistance would not be possible: the Nazi repression apparatus. That added to the growing interest in the attitude of individuals toward resistance.
Insofar as Wolfgang Neugebauer included all these points of view in his presentation, he succeeds in historically broad contextualization. The English translation affords access for American readers and thus makes it possible to include the resistance in the history of Austria’s Nazi past.
Published under the title “Die Wiederentdeckung des österreichischen Widerstands” in: DÖW-Mitteilungen No. 227 (August 2016), pp 7-9
Memento Wien is an online tool, optimised for devices such as tablets and smartphones, that offers information about the victims of the Nazi regime in the centre of Vienna. Using a map of the city, the mobile website makes visible the last-known addresses of those murdered as well as archival documents and photographs of people and buildings in the city. Users have the opportunity to interact with the history of their surroundings and learn more about the fate of the people who were persecuted.