Emigration Routes from Austria-Hungary: Germany – Part I

Emigration Routes from Austria-Hungary: Germany – Part I

By Allison Schmidt

On November 26, 1908, police in Tetschen (“Děčín” in today’s Czechia) stopped a young man about to cross the border from Habsburg territory into Imperial Germany.

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Emigration Routes from Austria-Hungary: Germany – Part I2020-07-27T15:27:36+00:00

“I expect that this letter will be terribly long”: Hans (John) Kautsky’s First Letter from the U.S.A.

“I expect that this letter will be terribly long”: Hans (John) Kautsky’s First Letter from the U.S.A.

By Jacqueline Vansant

Sometime between March and April of 1938, a small group of 15- and 16-year-old schoolboys of Jewish heritage stood on a bridge over the Danube Canal in central Vienna and said good-bye to each other “forever.” Because the persecution of Austrian Jews, which had begun immediately after the Anschluss in March 1938, was particularly virulent, the boys and their parents knew that they had to flee the new Nazi regime as quickly as possible. When these classmates from the prestigious Bundesrealgymnasium Wien 1 met for the last time, they did not know what would become of them, but they promised one another that whatever happened they would do their best to maintain ties. The boys’ original promise resulted in an extraordinary group correspondence or Rundbrief that stretched over fifteen years and criss-crossed three continents.

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“I expect that this letter will be terribly long”: Hans (John) Kautsky’s First Letter from the U.S.A.2020-07-01T14:06:43+00:00

No sleep till (Inns)Brooklyn: OSS operation Greenup and the Liberation of the Tyrol in May 1945

No sleep till (Inns)Brooklyn: OSS operation Greenup and the Liberation of the Tyrol in May 1945

By Peter Pirker

The New York Times’ headline “Torture Endured by Brooklynite Made Innsbruck Entry Bloodless” informed the public why US troops didn’t have to fight when on May 3, 1945, they took the Austrian city of Innsbruck, the largest city in the so-called Alpine redoubt of Nazi Germany. The article featured the now famous Operation Greenup and its chief operator Frederick “Fred” Mayer.

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No sleep till (Inns)Brooklyn: OSS operation Greenup and the Liberation of the Tyrol in May 19452020-06-16T14:11:58+00:00

Part III of Megan Brandow-Faller’s  Interwar Vienna’s ‘Female Secession’: From Vienna to New York and Los Angeles

Part III of Megan Brandow-Faller’s  Interwar Vienna’s ‘Female Secession’: From Vienna to New York and Los Angeles

By Megan Brandow-Faller

Emmy Zweybrück-Prochaska and Liane Zimbler, who both played leading roles in Wiener Frauenkunst (WFK) Raumkunst exhibitions also left Austria for New York and Los Angeles. Like the exiled ceramicists, Zweybrück-Prochaska’s reputation as a pedagogue, designer, and craftswoman preceded her forced emigration. Throughout the 1930s, Zweybrück-Prochaska had taught seminars and summer courses on art instruction for children throughout the United States, serving as a guest lecturer at Columbia University, the University of Southern California, the University of California-Los Angeles, the University of Texas, Rhode Island School of Design, and elsewhere. Zweybrück-Prochaska, whose paternal grandfather was a Jewish convert to Christianity, never returned from her last American lecture tour in Spring 1939, despite applying for the renewal of her school’s rights of public incorporation for the 1939/40 school year prior to her departure.[1] While her non-Jewish husband, entrusted with the administrative leadership of the school, claimed that the outbreak of war prevented her from returning, Zweybrück-Prochaska’s racial classification as Mischling (mixed blood) made membership in the Reichskulturkammer impossible, suggesting that her extended 1939 stay with her daughter, Nora, born in 1921, was deliberate.

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Part III of Megan Brandow-Faller’s  Interwar Vienna’s ‘Female Secession’: From Vienna to New York and Los Angeles2020-06-01T17:09:24+00:00

Part II of Megan Brandow-Faller’s Interwar Vienna’s ‘Female Secession’: From Vienna to New York and Los Angeles

Part II of Megan Brandow-Faller’s Interwar Vienna’s ‘Female Secession’: From Vienna to New York and Los Angeles

By Megan Brandow-Faller

Artists like Vally Wieselthier, Emmy Zweybrück-Prochaska, or Maria Likarz-Strauss, who created decorative art and handcraft that was formally and thematically provocative, clashed with the regime’s attempts to resurrect the hierarchy of the arts and retain biologically defined gender roles. The regime tended to prefer clarity in art and design and emphasized, on the one hand, a resurgence of traditional handcraft skills and, on the other, industrially-produced design objects for the masses. The Viennese tradition of decorative arts—a field known for its defiance of traditional boundaries of high/low and masculine and feminine fields of expression—was met with outright hostility, added to the Jewish nature of its artist base and patronage networks.

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Part II of Megan Brandow-Faller’s Interwar Vienna’s ‘Female Secession’: From Vienna to New York and Los Angeles2020-05-25T16:15:46+00:00

Interwar Vienna’s ‘Female Secession’: From Vienna to New York and Los Angeles

Interwar Vienna’s ‘Female Secession’: From Vienna to New York and Los Angeles

By Megan Brandow-Faller

In Secessionist and interwar Vienna, female artists trained at the Viennese Women’s Academy created self-consciously ‘feminine’ art incorporating traditional forms of women’s handcrafts (including ceramics, textiles and embroidery) but in new and subversive ways. Such artists sought to reclaim the negative stereotypes surrounding 'women's art' through a series of ambitious public exhibitions and didactic programs bringing together the visual arts, crafts, and architecture in model decorative interiors. Constituting what critics likened to a ‘female Secession,’ this provocative ‘women’s art’ was a subversive feminist intervention in the misogynist backlash against the rising numbers of female artists and the promotion of decorative arts championed by the Vienna Secessionists (led by Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann and others). The female Secessionists made important contributions to modern art and design that have been ignored because of their embrace of the decorative arts and handcraft media. Introducing the movement in general, this blog post unearths the female Secession’s unexpected Austro-American linkages, tracing the path of American emigration of adherents including Vally Wieselthier (1895-1945), Susi Singer (1891-1955), Liane Zimbler (1892-1987) and Emmy Zweybrück-Prochaska (1890-1956).

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Interwar Vienna’s ‘Female Secession’: From Vienna to New York and Los Angeles2020-05-18T17:12:58+00:00

Only a Myth? The Solely English-Speaking Habsburg Army Conscripts from the United States, 1868-1918

Only a Myth? The Solely English-Speaking Habsburg Army Conscripts from the United States, 1868-1918 Monarchy

By Tamara Scheer

On August 2, 1914, the Philadelphia Inquirer entitled a story "Austrian Consul Busy," and reported the behavior of some of its city dwellers: "But the desire to get back to the defense of the lands of their birth is not confined to reservists. Naturalized American citizens have besieged the … consulates.… Around the Austro-Hungarian consulate fully 500 men gathered this morning."[i] A couple of days earlier, the same newspaper had even named some of these men, among them: "George Harros, a Viennese, came from Trenton to offer his services, saying in response to a question that he would rather a thousand times go back and fight for his country than continue in the United States."[ii] In those days, following the war declaration of Austria-Hungary on Serbia, hundreds of thousands of Austrian and Hungarian men were called to arms. Due to mass migration since the nineteenth century, many of them lived and worked abroad, including the United States. Many of them were even born there. Beside journalists' reports, Austro-Hungarian consulates themselves announced calls to arm all over the world.

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Only a Myth? The Solely English-Speaking Habsburg Army Conscripts from the United States, 1868-19182020-05-18T14:01:04+00:00

John Adams and the Habsburg Monarchy

John Adams and the Habsburg Monarchy

By Jonathan Singerton

The Habsburg Monarchy had many men who understood the complexity of the early American situation. Foremost among them, Count Karl von Zinzendorf had studied the American colonial economy, had met with Benjamin Franklin in London before the war, and had read the histories of America as well as the revolutionary pamphlets of Thomas Paine and Samuel Adams.

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John Adams and the Habsburg Monarchy2020-05-04T16:52:24+00:00

Early America and the Habsburg Dynasty

Early America and the Habsburg Dynasty

By Jonathan Singerton

The Columbian voyages in the 1490s captivated the European imagination with the discovery of the New World. Encounters with indigenous inhabitants informed the European perspective on the Americas.

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Early America and the Habsburg Dynasty2020-04-27T15:19:45+00:00

Imprisoned Germans, Half-mad Scots, and Bloodsucking Americans: The Habsburg Fears of Emigration to the United States

Imprisoned Germans, Half-mad Scots, and Bloodsucking Americans: The Habsburg Fears of Emigration to the United States

By Jonathan Singerton

“One could call this era the start of a new mass migration,” declared the editors of the popular Provinzial Nachrichten (Provincial News) of Lower Austria in August 1783.

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Imprisoned Germans, Half-mad Scots, and Bloodsucking Americans: The Habsburg Fears of Emigration to the United States2020-04-20T16:58:17+00:00