VOICES

VOICES

"Der Traum von einem Feentempel" - "The dream of a fairytale temple" By Katherine Baber

When, on May 25, 2020, the Salzburg Festival announced it would proceed amid the pandemic, it seemed an act of profound optimism—perhaps not unlike Max Reinhardt's ambition to have a dedicated Festival house, conjured by Hugo von Hofmannstal as a "dream of a fairy temple, in which people from every nation on earth discover each other again." In reality, the Salzburg Festival did become one of the first "deeds of peace" after World War I, and it revived itself as a cultural peace project after World War II. Now in 2020, the Festival Direktorium has dedicated its anniversary edition to the Festival’s original principles, returning to themes of "community, the relationship of the individual to the whole, radical individualism and, as a great hope, the idea that the world can be changed through communal solidarity, through a new humanity."

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VOICES2020-09-29T14:21:35+00:00

The Cleveland Cultural Gardens and the Peoples of Former Austria-Hungary in the 1930s

The Cleveland Cultural Gardens and the Peoples of Former Austria-Hungary in the 1930s

By Kristina Poznan

Within its 276 acres, Rockefeller Park hosts a unique collection of public gardens, 33 in all, each a celebration of an immigrant group settled in Ohio. Of these, several represent migrants from the lands of the former Habsburg Empire. Its goals were visionary. “Cleveland Cultural Gardens are accomplishing in their community the same thing that the League of Nations is trying to do for the world,” League representative Guillame Swiss proclaimed in 1935. The Cultural Gardens offered local ethnic communities the opportunity to design gardens to celebrate their culture through statues to “poets and other cultural leaders.” The Cleveland City Council had authorized the creation of an expanded series of culturally driven landscape features in Rockefeller Park in 1927, many of which opened in the 1930s. Local committees handled many of the preparations with critical assistance from the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration for execution of the infrastructure. As historian Mark Tebeau explains, “The gardens “reveal the history of immigration to, and migration within, the United States.”

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The Cleveland Cultural Gardens and the Peoples of Former Austria-Hungary in the 1930s2020-09-21T16:00:11+00:00

Learn about the 2020 BIAAS Grantees

Learn about the 2020 BIAAS Grantees

Congratulations to our 2020 award recipients. View our Database of Funded Research to learn more about the scholars/organizations and their projects which highlight the historic relationship between the United States and Austria. Projects and events funded include: archival research, articles, books, conferences/symposia, digital projects, documentary films, exhibits, lectures, and workshops.

READ MORE ABOUT OUR 2020 GRANTEES
Learn about the 2020 BIAAS Grantees2020-09-17T17:51:17+00:00

VOICES

VOICES

"Wie sich doch in einem Augenblick mein ganzes Schicksal wendete!" - "How in a moment my whole fate has changed!" By Katherine Baber

Near the end of the first act of Così fan tutte, Dorabella and Fiordiligi are bewildered, mourning the sudden departure of their fiancés for war. They have no idea how much more profoundly their lives are about to be disordered. As the sisters retreat to their garden, Mozart tempers the words of Lorenzo da Ponte’s libretto by casting their duet in a tranquil mood, setting them up to have the rug pulled out from under them moments later in a typically rambunctious finale. What ensues—deception, disguises, loss of innocence, the questioning of love and loyalty—alters all. The couples who are married at the end are fundamentally different people than they were at the beginning. This Italian-style opera buffo is comic, yes, but also cautionary. Mozart might have warned us about 2020.

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VOICES2020-09-17T17:52:30+00:00

BIAAS Voices: Black Lives Matter – In Austria Too

BIAAS Voices: Black Lives Matter – In Austria Too

By Farid Hafez

The murder of Afro-American George Floyd at the hands of a police officer elicited a global chorus of outrage. To see somebody being ruthlessly killed in eight minutes and 46 seconds leaves you speechless, if not angry and at least in pain--no matter who you are and where you live. In Austria, out of 8.9 million inhabitants, only an estimated 40,000 people have African ancestry (numbers from 2010, including Egypt and Tunisia).[1]  Many would not have thought that the Black Lives Matter protest that started in the United States could spill over to the Alpenrepublik. And yet it did. Politician, medical doctor and political activist Mireille Ngosso planned a small rally with for 500 participants. Following the burgeoning interest online, she and other like-minded colleagues then registered a rally for 3,000 people. “We could not believe our eyes, when finally more than 50,000 people showed up at the rally,” she told me.[2] The next day, activist Naomi Saphira Weiser, who founded Black Lives Matter Vienna,  organized a protest in front of the US Embassy in Vienna,[3] and more than 10,000 people showed up. So, why would so many people protest police brutality against Blacks in Austria? How do people in Austria relate to the murder of George Floyd in far-away Minneapolis? What does it mean when somebody in Austria declares ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the streets?

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BIAAS Voices: Black Lives Matter – In Austria Too2020-09-16T18:41:51+00:00

‘The Vacation Vagaries of the Diplomatic Folk’: Ambassador Hengelmüller’s Summers in Bar Harbor, ME

‘The Vacation Vagaries of the Diplomatic Folk’: Ambassador Hengelmüller’s Summers in Bar Harbor, ME

By Kristina Poznan

Austria-Hungary’s diplomatic seat in the United States stood, naturally, in Washington, D.C., but the capital city’s sweltering summer climate drove American politicians and foreign diplomats alike out of the city in the summer months. Among them were Ladislas Hengelmüller von Hengervár, head of Austria-Hungary’s delegation to the United States from 1894 to 1913, and his family. President Grover Cleveland established the precedent of summer escape from Washington, which continued under William McKinley. “The vacation vagaries of the diplomatic folk, including and headed by President McKinley and his cabinet, have been the principal matter of interest to the public relation to members of the corps,” opined the International monthly magazine. “These great people set the fashion for many watering places and resorts by mountain and sea, and the struggles of the proprietors to secure one or more of them are often keen.”[i] In essence, ambassadors’ comings and goings from Washington gave shape to the diplomatic year.

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‘The Vacation Vagaries of the Diplomatic Folk’: Ambassador Hengelmüller’s Summers in Bar Harbor, ME2020-08-11T13:51:56+00:00

Allison Schmidt’s Emigration Routes from Austria-Hungary: Germany – Part II

Allison Schmidt's Emigration Routes from Austria-Hungary: Germany – Part II

By Allison Schmidt

The Leipzig registration station, opened in 1904, was part of a network of inspections stations that screened overseas-bound emigrants as they crossed Germany en route to port cities. Control stations (Kontrollstationen), which, unlike registration stations, required bathing and disinfection, arose first along the Prussian-Russian border in 1894. It helps to think of them as smaller Ellis Islands.

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Allison Schmidt’s Emigration Routes from Austria-Hungary: Germany – Part II2020-08-03T14:22:11+00:00

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