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 Austrian-American Blog

Code Name Mary: The Extraordinary Life of Muriel Gardiner

By Carol Seigel

Muriel Gardiner had an extraordinary, multi-faceted life--a young American woman who courageously fought fascism in 1930s Austria; a member of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic circle in 1930s Vienna, who became a psychoanalyst herself, practising and writing in the US in the post war decades, and closely connected to Freud’s most famous patient, the Wolf Man, about whom she wrote a seminal book; and the founder of the Freud Museum London with her friend Anna Freud, Sigmund’s daughter. Muriel is also believed to be the model for Lillian Hellman’s character 'Julia' in the 1977 Oscar winning film.

Unterweger’s Signature Knot: The “Austrian Jack the Ripper’s” Murder Spree in the Vienna Woods and the Hollywood Hills

By Kristina E. Poznan

Austrian serial killer Johann “Jack” Unterweger was back in entertainment news after a brief discussion of him in an episode of Netflix’s Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. Unterweger committed three murders in Los Angeles in 1991 while on a freelance assignment for an Austrian newspaper to write an article comparing red light districts in Austria and the United States. He was apprehended in Florida in February of the following year, having gone back to Austria in between and then fled from Salzburg police back to the United States. Unterweger may have the distinction of being the only known Austrian-American serial killer.

Say Hello to "Auf Wiedersehen, Kinder!" and Ernst Papanek with Lilly Maier

with Lilly Maier

Lilly Maier is the author of the recent biography of Ernst Papanek, "Auf Wiedersehen, Kinder!: Ernst Papanek. Revolutionär, Reformpädagoge und Retter jüdischer Kinder." In this podcast, she discusses the remarkable life of the Viennese-born socialist and educator who saved the lives of almost 300 children from the Nazis.

Where is America? Remaking Central Europe, the League of Nations, and the New International Order

By Peter Becker and Natasha Wheatley

In our book, Remaking Central Europe. The League of Nations and the Former Habsburg Lands, we look at the ways in which the new political order in Central Europe after the end of the Great War was fashioned by national and international entities in close concurrence. The rationale for this edited volume was moving beyond the obvious, that is, the relevance of the Peace Treaties of Saint-German, Versailles, and Trianon for the reordering of Central Europe. The transition from a well-integrated economic space and from a probably less well-integrated political space to a coexistence of states, which defined themselves, preposterously, as nation states, was fraught with utopian expectations and, more importantly, with massive challenges.

The Enduring Promise of Multinationalism: Hans Kohn’s Habsburg Legacies

By Adi Gordon

These are interesting times to reflect on nationalism. After more than half a century in which nationalism was considerably tamed by the memory of World War Two, by intergovernmental organizations, and through various aspects of globalization, the current decade has witnessed a clear rise of nationalism in the United States and abroad. Part of the new nationalist tide is the prevalent sense of its inevitability. It seems de rigueur nowadays to ridicule as naïve the anticipation of (even hope for) gradual transition into a post national future, in which nationalities are secondary to other allegiances. Nations, it is claimed, have always existed, and nationalism (and even ethno-nationalism) is simply part of human nature. But is it so?

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.

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