The BIAAS blog series features posts by junior and senior scholars in the field of Austrian-American studies. The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of BIAAS.

American Red Cross aids Italian civilians caught in the WWI Austrian German advance on the Swiss-Austrian frontier, ca. 1918.

BIAAS Austro-Americana Blogs

Hölzlhuber’s America: An Austrian Artist’s Depiction of Antebellum Travel in Wisconsin and Beyond, 1856-1860

By Janine Yorimoto Boldt and Kristina E. Poznan

When Franz Hölzlhuber arrived in the United States from Austria in 1856, the United States was in deep debate over the future of slavery in its western territories and actively engaged in Native removal. During Hölzlhuber’s four years in America, war was raging in “Bleeding” Kansas, John Brown led a raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, and the Pony Express connected Missouri and Sacramento, California. Hölzlhuber’s path crisscrossed with many of these developments, which he recorded in sketches at the time, subsequently painted, and commented on over two decades later when exhibiting his American art back in Austria.


"This is Jimmy Berg from New York:" Dreams, Expectations and Reality

By Julia-Katharina Neier

Jimmy Berg was born in 1909 in Kolomea as Symson Weinberg. He was a musician, composer, lyricist and journalist. In 1938 he had to flee from Austria because of his Jewish origins and his work in the communism-related cabaret theatre group ABC. Thanks to an affidavit of the industrialist Otto Eisenschimmel Berg was able to enter the US via Southampton on the S.S. Manhattan on November 24,1938.


Rosa Wien: Gay Rights, Schlager and Self-Exile: 1918-1938

By Casey J. Hayes

So…What comes to mind when you hear the word “Cabaret”? Perhaps…Liza Minelli? Yet, however historically accurate this depiction of the 1920s Weimar Berlin cabaret scene may be (I doubt they had Liza or Bob Fosse) it was a more reserved cabaret culture that developed within the Austrian capitol; more quick conversation, jokes, political statements, and sentimental chansons; less drag queens and spectacle. It would have, I believe, looked much more accessible to the conservative Viennese and less like the pages from a Christopher Isherwood novel. Yet, there are many historical yet little-known events that played out at the intersection of the struggle for civil rights for western society’s gay communities, the National Socialist’s persecution of homosexuals, and the fate of some of Europe’s greatest performing artists self-exiled in Vienna. The wildly hedonistic world of German-speaking Cabaret would be the backdrop for a collision which resulted in the ultimate elimination of the art of the “Kleinkunstbuhne” throughout Central Europe.