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Most of the Jews ennobled were industrialists like the distiller Goldreich, the glass manufacturer Inwald, the coal baron Gutmann, the sugar refiner Bloch von Brodnegg, the railway baron Fröhlich von Feldau, the canner Eisler von Terramare, the foundry-owner Bondy and the brewer Kuffner; merchants like the Gomperz, the Liebens, the Doctors and the Adlers; lawyers like the Boschans or Bachrachs; and the bankers Auspitz, Frank, and Biedermann. One Kubinzky, scion of a cotton magnate dynasty from Prague, aspired to become Marquis von Hohenkubin.

Of course Austria was not just their land of milk and honey: it had its own brand of anti-Semitism which was every bit as virulent as that which had taken root north of the River Inn, if not more so. If neither emperor nor empire was anti-Jewish, many of its citizens were just the opposite. It was on the streets of Vienna, after all, that Adolf Hitler served his apprenticeship in anti-Semitism, picking up the ideas of Jew-baiters like Georg von Schönerer. In March 1938 the German Nazis had to stay the hands of the Viennese, who made Hitler's arrival a pretext to beat up their Jewish fellow citizens with enormous gusto. Five years into the Third Reich, public humiliations of this sort were rare occurences in Germany proper.

It is generally said that most of the richer Jews escaped from Vienna and were not among the 65,000 or so citizens who perished in the Holocaust, most of whom would have been from the communities of poorer Ostjuden in the 2nd District. It is notable, however, that many members of the elite listed in Wer einmal War were "deported" to Theresienstadt, Auschwitz or one of the other camps or ghettos, often people who were too old or too tired to run. Shocking too is the number of deaths by suicide recorded in 1938, a testament to despair.

Great-great aunt Ella had been planning a big celebration for the summer. It was to have been the 70th anniversary of the founding of the family department store — I presume it opened in Budapest, because I can't see any trace of my great-great-grandfather in Lehmann's business directory before 1875. Special wrapping paper was designed by a leading designer in Budapest showing the previous building on the site, as taken from a painting by Rudolf von Alt, contrasted with its successor by the same Friedrich Ohmann who designed the Palais Kranz. 

Of course the party never took place. Hitler and his henchmen put a stop to that and Ella was forced to sell the shop for a song to an Aryan proprietor. A few months later she was ocean-bound for New York. The 70-year story had come to an abrupt end. 

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Ravi Raizada
September 22nd, 2014
2:09 PM
I am trying to research an Austrian Jewish family, called lichtenstein, who ended up in Britain after fleeing from the Nazis. They lived in Nottingham till a few years ago under their adopted name of Fielding. I would be grateful for any information about their pre-UK history if you can help.

Matthias Wienlieb
July 29th, 2013
2:07 AM
One wonders how the Austrians survived after the war. The Jews ran everything, and then they were gone. Now Vienna is merely beautiful, highly functional and clean with little crime, has no slums or decay - only a few somewhat unsavory neighborhoods, and has had a fantastic economy almost continuously since 1955. The most gorgeous, smooth-running, harmonious major city in the world. How?

Harold Chipman
June 16th, 2013
8:06 AM
This is a most interesting feature on Vienna and its Jews. Giles MacDonogh has also written excellently on this topic in his book '1938 -Hitler's gamble'. He is uniquely placed to do so as he has close family ties to Vienna. Here he has highlighted Georg Gaugusch's important genealogical book on the Jewish upper middle class who contributed so much to the life, culture, industry and fame of Vienna. This life was destroyed as of 1938 and the memory of it swept under the carpet after 1945. Vienna and Austria were never to regain the place they occupied in European cultural history. Georg Gaugusch's work fills in an important void in our knowledge about pre WW2 Austria. I write this as I am myself a descendant of this highly successful Jewish middle class - my grandfather was the celebrated industrialist and art collector Kommerzialrat Willibald Duschnitz who is included in Georg Gaugusch's book.

March 5th, 2012
6:03 PM
Eerily reminscent of the United States. Do you think it is a coincidence that the near total murder of every European Jew had its' nexis in the two places that saw the greatest amount of Jewish assimilation and conversion to idolotrous religions...Germany and Austria? Hmmm.

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