vienna Archive

In the Hausarchiv: Wiener Zeitung, 13 November 1945

In the Hausarchiv: Wiener Zeitung, 13 November 1945

Amateur history nerd that I am, I’m quite pleased to have married into a family which has retained all sorts of books, newspapers and magazines dating from about 1920 onwards. The “In the Hausarchiv” series gives an occasional look at the things I’ve come across in our own “house archive”.

Today’s “In the Hausarchiv” features the Tuesday, 13 November 1945, edition of the Viennese newspaper the Wiener Zeitung. We have a bunch of issues of this newspaper in the Hausarchiv; the earliest I’ve found so far is from 4 November 1945.

Today I set out on a special mission in my quest to find a topic for the Hausarchiv series: find the earliest mention — amongst the stack ofWiener Zeitung editions that we have — of the scope of the killing of Jews under National Socialism. It didn’t take long. As I mentioned, the oldest edition we have is from 4 November 1945, and I found within the 13 November 1945 edition the following quote:

3 Millionen jüdische Frauen und Kinder wurden von deutscher Hand erschossen oder starben den Tod in den Gaskammern.

3 million jewish woman and children were shot by German hands or perished in the gas chambers. [my translation]

An article titled “Die unverschämste Propagandalüge” (“The most shameless propaganda lie”) contains the quote. The shameless lie it speaks of is: “Wenn der Führer das wüßte” (“If only the Führerknew”). The idea here is that apologists for Hitler were (and are!) fond of saying that the likes of Goebbels and Himmler tricked Hitler or hid the truth from him. “If only the Führer knew”, then he would have put a stop to the barbarity! The article scorns this view and tells of one Eugen Kumming, a former head translator within the Wehrmacht, who had just written an article for the Sudetendeutschen Zeitung in which he mentions the 3 million “jewish women and children” referenced above. He also tells the following stories:

Im April 1941 teilte ihm [Kumming] ein Oberstleutnant von Bodecker mit, daß SS-Verbände jüdische Frauen und Mädchen in Warschau zusammentrieben und sie nackt im 4. Stock eines Hotels eingesperrt hatten. Tagelang waren sie Opfer wiederholter Schändungen und wurden schließlich durch das Fenster auf die Straße geworfen. Ein Oberstleutnant Mauck berichtet, daß er gesehen habe, wie SS und SD-Angehörige über 1500 Juden bis zum Halse in einen Sumpf in der Nähe von Solotschew getrieben und sie dort als lebendige Zielscheibe benutzt hätten.

A certain lieutenant-colonel von Bodecker told him [Kumming] in April 1941 that SS troops had rounded up some Jewish women and girls and locked them up, naked, on the fourth floor of a hotel in Warsaw. These women and girls were raped for days and then thrown out of windows on to the street. Another lieutenant-colonel, a certain Mauck, reported that he’d seen how SS and SD members in Solotschew had placed 1500 Jews up to their necks in a swamp and used them as live targets for practice.

So why was I searching for the earliest mention of the Holocaust that I could find within our stack of Wiener Zeitung editions? Because David Irving has come out again from under his rock — this time actually invited, I’m sorry to report — and had the following to say about the alleged jewish manufacturing of “Holocaust”:

Until the 1970s [the Holocaust] was just a speck of dust on the horizon … The proof is that it doesn’t appear in any of the biographies of the great leaders of the Second World War. But from then on it became fashionable. The Jews turned it into a brand, using the same technique as Goebbels. They invented a slogan… and repeated it ad nauseam.

Now I realize he’s not exactly saying that nobody reported on mass extermination of Jews prior to the 1970s, but his suggestion that it wasn’t on the radar prior to then made me want to find the earliest mention of it that I could. And so I found it, printed in an Austrian newspaper just seven months after the defeat of Nazi Germany. Someone was apparently paying attention long before the 1970s.

I’ll have a larger post about David Irving on Thursday. In the meantime, I’ll just say that it’s kind of an interesting coincidence that I found this particular article which, as I explained above, is centered around the lie of “If only the Führer knew”: a coincidence because David Irving, as you’ll see in my Thursday post, is guilty of precisely that lie.

Hooliganism I can live with: football in Nazi Vienna.

Hooliganism I can live with: football in Nazi Vienna.

I have to be honest with you: I really look down upon soccer (football) hooliganism and I don’t understand the level of hysteria that often occurs at (and, especially, after) soccer matches in parts of Europe and the UK. But I have enjoyed reading about this kind of hooliganism in Vienna during the Nazi era:

On November 18, 1940, some 52,000 fans jammed into Vienna’s soccer stadium in the Prater for a game between Vienna’s Admira and the German champion Schalke 04. The stadium crowd was unruly and ready for trouble. And trouble, political trouble, there was aplenty, despite a massive display of uniformed and plainclothes police and the presence of an impressive array of Nazi brass led by [Baldur von] Schirach and his wife. Let a German player commit a foul, or worse, get away with it, and fans’ anger exploded into anti-German, even anti-Nazi, expletives. As the [Neues Wiener Tagblatt] noted, the crowd ignored Austrian infractions, or worse, cheered them. It didn’t help that Schalke played a tough, even brutal, brand of football. And when the referee disallowed Admira’s go-ahead goal after the teams were tied 1 to 1, the crowd exploded with soccer war style fury. Fans grew totally out of hand when an Admira forward headed the ball into the net, and the referee called that goal back too and the game ended in a tie.

Just how serious was the riot? The Gestapo cabled uncertain reports back and forth from Berlin, suggesting that they would need 10,000 police to pick out ringleaders of so large a mob. What’s more, even with the sizable contingent of police on hand that day, nobody was around when so-called hooligans smashed the window of Schirach’s limousine and slashed its tired. Soccer would remain a Gestapo problem for the rest of the war; especially when, seven months later, the Viennese got revenge of a different sort. Before 90,000 fans in Berlin’s stadium Rapid cannonaded Schalke 04 into submission. [p. 182-3]

That’s from Thomas Weyr’s excellent book, The Setting of the Pearl: Vienna Under Hitler (Amazon US, UK, CA, DE [english]). Weyr later quotes a witness, Kurt Neubauer:

I was at the Stadium when Admira played Schalke 04 and yelled my head off at the Piefkes. Soccer gave you a chance to protest. [p. 226]

(Piefke is an Austrian derogatory term used against Germans … to this day!)

I’m interested in the topic of sport as one of the very, very few forms of public protest available to Germans and Austrians under Nazism. The Austrian expert in this arena, according to the results of my web searches, appears to be the historian Dr. Matthias Marschik. He has an article, Between Manipulation and Resistance: Viennese Football in the Nazi Era, which I’d love to read but appears to be available only after payment.

The Viennese family into which I married supports the FK Austria Wien football side, as opposed to their bitter rivals, SK Rapid Wien, so I naturally find FK Austria Wien’s history particularly interesting. This is especially so since they were the Vienna side that seems to have suffered the most after the Anschluss by virtue of the fact that they were the team most associated with Jewish people. I found a very interesting article, unfortunately only in German, titled Fußball unterm Hakenkreuz (“Football under the Swastika”). The article’s authorsinterviewed the son of FK Austria Wien’s pre-Anschluss club president, Dr Emanuel Schwarz, himself Jewish. After the Anschluss, Dr Schwarz was, of course, unceremoniously relieved of his duties and he wisely began seeking an exit visa. His replacement as the head of the club, an SA Sturmbannführer, began his new duties by taking away one of Dr Schwarz’s trophies. The Schwarz family managed to get it back after the war.

According to the article (my translation),

A large portion of the club’s management had to escape Austria after the Anschluss. Robert Lang, the club manager, escaped to Yugoslavia, but was later captured there by the Nazis and murdered. President Schwarz was able to stay for a short while because he was, for a time, protected by the fact that he married a non-Jew; he stayed in Vienna only to await permission to travel to the USA. As this was not forthcoming, he eventually fled to Bologna, thanks in large part to his contacts within Italian football. With help from the FIFA president Jules Rimet, he received permission to emigrate to France in 1939. He went underground when the Germans invaded France. … The later national team manager Walter Nausch and Karl Geyer left Vienna with their jewish wives.

Amazingly, the team survived during the Nazi years, but wasn’t very successful, never finishing higher than fourth in the Gauliga Ostmark, as the Austrian league was called during the Nazi era. More amazingly, “FK Austria Wien” appears to be the only institution in the “Ostmark” to have retained the word “Austria” in their name.

Photo credit: the lead photo in this article shows the inside of Ernst-Happel-Stadion in Vienna. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike Generic 2.0 license. Attribution:

In the Hausarchiv: Vienna, Germany?

In the Hausarchiv: Vienna, Germany?

Vienna, GermanyAmateur history nerd that I am, I’m quite pleased to have married into a family which has retained all sorts of books, newspapers and magazines dating from about 1920 onwards. The “In the Hausarchiv” series gives an occasional look at the things I’ve come across in our own “house archive”.

This week’s “In the Hausarchiv” presents a booklet full of attractive photos of the beautiful city in which I live, Vienna. Sounds nice, right? But this book is about Vienna, Germany! Is this the same Vienna I live in? Of course it is…

At midnight on March 11, 1938, the last Austrian government of the first republic — that of Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg — resigned office and on March 12, 1938, German troops entered Austria without resistance.  In German this event is referred to as the Anschluss, or union.  Austria ceased to exist, and instead became the Eastern March (Ostmark) of the Greater German Empire (Großdeutsches Reich.)  During this period, until the fall of the National Socialist regime, the word “Austria” (Österreich) was out of favor (perhaps even illegal?), and to insist on using it was certainly to invite arrest.

(The most famous visible sign of the Austrian Resistance to National Socialism, the “O5″ which appears to this day on one of the outside walls of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, signifies Österreich, or more accurately the alternative spelling of Oesterreich: the letter “O” followed by the number 5, signifying the fifth letter of the alphabet, “e”: Oesterreich).

This “Wien, Deutschland” book featured here is from 1939, a year following the Anschluss.  The cover shows a drawing of part of the Schönbrunn Palace, looking out from the main part of the palace towards the gardens and the Glorietta (the structure on the hill.)

The photo shown below, which also appears in this book, is of Vienna’s Rathaus. I’ve painstakingly blurred out every occurrence I could find of the swastika — and there were many — to be sure the image doesn’t show up on some other website which proudly features swastikas. The caption to the photo reads, “The Rathaus on 1. May of the year of the Liberation of the Ostmark.”

Vienna Rathaus 1938

In the Hausarchiv: Wiener Zeitung, 4 November 1945

In the Hausarchiv: Wiener Zeitung, 4 November 1945

Amateur history nerd that I am, I’m quite pleased to have married into a family which has retained all sorts of books, newspapers and magazines dating from about 1920 onwards.  The “In the Hausarchiv” series gives an occasional look at the things I’ve come across in our own “house archive”.

Today’s “In the Hausarchiv” features the Sunday, 4 November 1945, edition of the newspaper the Wiener Zeitung.  The lead article’s headline reads “Bardossy war der Verräter” (“Bardossy was the betrayer”).  It concerns the trial in Budapest of the former Hungarian Prime Minister Laszlo Bardossy, later convicted of war crimes and then executed in 1946.

Reading through the article, I was surprised at how condemnatory it seemed for something written on just the second day of the trial.  You can see that from the headline alone, but also within the text, with passages such as “[Bardossy] did everything within his power to quash any remaining vestiges of Hungary’s independence and force it to become  a vassal of the Germans.” (My translation.)  The article purports to report on Bardossy’s testimony, yet I imagine Bardossy came nowhere near describing his own actions with such self-condemnation.

But of course the tone of the article is not that surprising when we remember that these were still the early months of the occupation of Austria by the Soviets, the Americans, the British and the French.  The Soviets, in particular, would have been most interested in portraying a Hungarian fascist in this way.   Only later did I realize the byline of the article reads “TASS”, the Soviet news agency.  You can see “TASS” in the photo accompanying this entry.  I simply didn’t notice it when I first read the article.

One other very short article caught my eye.  I assume the article, which is rather anecdotal and offers no information as to the date of its events, describes an event that happened before the end of the war and therefore while the National Socialists were still in power.  A certain August Herat, lorry driver, turned down cash and instead accepted 10 sacks of potatoes, 450 kg of peas, and some pork fat for transporting potatoes for Marie Baburek, who owned a stand at the Naschmarkt.   During his trip he also received a goose and 6 liters of wine.  But bad luck: Ms Baburek decided to snitch on him for this obvious violation of wartime commerce laws.  The unlucky Mr. Herat was fined 200 Reichsmark (which is why I assume this occurred during the National Socialist regime — though perhaps the Reichsmark were still in circulation in November 1945 as new currency was awaited?) and sentenced to six months in prison.

Joseph Roth, “The Wandering Jews”

Joseph Roth, “The Wandering Jews”

Joseph Roth’s The Wandering Jews (Amazon US, UK, CA, DE-German/DE-English).

Joseph Roth is best known for his fiction, particularly Radetzkymarsch (Amazon US, UK, CA, DE-German/DE-English), but in fact he spent most of his working life as a journalist and feuilletonist.  (Roth’s biography is a fascinating one; start with Wikipedia (EN, DE) and explore from there.)  The Wandering Jews is a non-fiction work and details Roth’s findings from his trips through European jewish communities.  It presents the “Eastern Jew” and describes his plight in the west.

It is a particularly interesting book because though we know it must have had personal meaning to Roth, nowhere does he confess this.  Translator Michael Hofmann makes this point in his preface by pointing out that Roth himself is “everywhere and nowhere” in the book, “chiefly nowhere”.

We don’t know that the little cruciform town in the swampy plains … is Roth’s birthplace, the town of Brody in Galicia; that the Western momentum of the book … was also that of his life; that he had himself been through Vienna and Berlin, and at the time of writing, was in Paris (where he felt happiest); that his father-in-law was an installment seller in Vienna, his uncle a tailor, and his grandfather a rabbi.  Finally, nowhere does he even say he is a Jew! [xvii]

Let us end here simply by recommending the book as a fine example of the kind of quality non-fiction produced by a talented feuilletonist of 1920s Europe.  And allow me to indulge myself with a quotation concerning the city where I live:

In a Jewish welfare office the Eastern Jew often finds himself treated no better by his coreligionists or fellow nationals than by Christians.  It is terribly hard to be an Eastern Jew; there is no harder lot than that of the Eastern Jew newly arrived in Vienna. [57]

(Page numbers refer to the Granta Books 2001 paperback edition.)

(The photo accompanying this article is a public domain photo found at and described as “Lakhva in 1926 (then Łachwa, Poland), ulica Lubaczyńska (Lubaczynska Street)”.)