Challenging Austria's Victim Status: National Socialism and Austrian Personal Narratives

by Jacqueline Vansant
Challenging Austria's Victim Status: National Socialism and Austrian Personal Narratives
Jacqueline Vansant
The German Quarterly
Start Page: 
End Page: 
Select license: 
Select License


University of Michigan-Dearborn

Challenging Austria's Victim Status: National Socialism and Austrian Personal Narratives

The stories a group tells about its past reflect its collective memory and construct a sense of group identity.1 In both public and private discourse in Austria, the domi- nant narratives concerning the seven years under National Socialism portray the coun- try and the general population as victim^.^ The "storytellers" deny widespread Aus- trian approval of the Anschlup and any complicity in the crimes committed under the National Socialists. Moreover, Austrian Jews, Sinti and Romany Gypsies, homo- sexuals persecuted under National Social- ism, and political or religious opponents of NationalSocialism rarely exist in these ver- sions of the past. Their histories have been misrepresented, distorted, or effaced in order to uphold Austria's and Austrians' victim status. Only in recent years have Austrian historians, linguists, writers, filmmakers, artists, and individuals from these marginalized groups set out in sub- stantial numbers to challenge the "main- stream victim narrative^."^

Personal narratives by Austrians perse- cuted under National Socialism will be the subject of this study. The more than thirty autobiographies and memoirs by the over- looked Austrians easily outnumber post- war and contemporary Austrian fictional works dealing with the National Socialist past from the viewpoint of the persecuted.4 For the most part extremely compelling, the autobiographical texts vary immensely in style, form, and quality, reflecting the diversity of the writers and their experi- ences. The authors range from such promi- nent personalities aswriter Hilde Spiel and former chancellor Bruno Kreisky to virtu- ally unknown persons such as Ceija Stojka and Franziska Tausig. Despite the interest in autobiographical fiction in the 1970s and 1980s, Germanists have devoted little criti- cal attention to the autobiographical litera- ture of those persecuted under National So- cialism.Qhe fact that the majority of the authors are not professional writers or well-known personalities has undoubtedly played a role in the lack ofinterest German- ists have shown for this body of literature. Moreover, until recently, autobiography and memoirs have had a marginal status within literary studies.

In studying these texts, I examine their relationship to historical events and specifi- cally consider the impact the Austrian situ- ation has had on the personal narratives. My discussion willproceed as follows: After a brief consideration of "mainstream victim narratives" in public and private discourse in Austria, I trace the emergence of a body of autobiographical literature written by Austrians since 1945 which challenges these narratives. I then examine the per- sonal narratives, focusing on the authors' responses to the Austrian situation. Iclose with a discussion of the literature's poten- tial to comct Austria's self-perception as a victim.

Because Iam investigating unguided re- actions to the victim narratives in Austrian personal narratives, I have excluded auto- biographical texts based on interviews.6 Moreover, my study is limited to personal narratives writtenby Austrians persecuted under National Socialism who resettled or

The German Quarterly 67.1 (Winter 1994) 38

remained in Austria after 1945.' With this study, Ihope to offer insight into the power of dominant narratives, the strategies for subverting such narratives, and the correc- tive potential of "counter-narratives."

Austria's "Mainstream Victim Narrativesn

With the publication of the Rot-We@Rot-Buch in 1946, the Austrian govern- ment officially assumed Austria's victim status proclaimed in the Moscow Declara- tion of 1943. Combining commentary and historical documents, the authors used the Moscow Declaration as the point of depar- ture for their discourse on Austria's inno- cence. In the Moscow Declaration, the Allies had both proclaimed Austria's victim status and insisted that Austria be held responsible for its involvement in the war. The architects of the Rot-We@-Rot-Buch demanded their right to freedom which should be accorded them as "victims," and, at the same time, they proceeded to dis- tance themselves from Germany in order to avoid responsibility for the war.

Because of widespread Austrian ap- proval of the Anschluljl in 1938, the govern- ment's narrative could not be based on the general population's experience during and after the Anschlup. To make their case for Austria's victim status, the Rot-Weip-Rot-Buch authors invoked "destiny," used juridical arguments, and exploited the ex- perience of a minority. They point to the inevitability of the Anschlu/3 as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, and they portray the Anschluj3 as the rape of Austria which was observed with complacency by virtu- ally the rest of the world. Theseven years of National Socialism are considered a rup- ture in Austrian history, to be compared with the Nazi occupation of othercountries. The authors argue that, since Austria did not exist in an official sense, it could not be held responsible for the war. They celebrate the deeds of members of certain resistance organizations in their attempt to exonerate the general population by association. Aus- trians fooled no one, except perhaps them- selves, with the representation of nation and population as victim. However, they were able to take advantage of increased tensions between East and West to gain favorable conditions for their independence (Knight 25-54).

Although government officials argued that the Anschluji' marked a break from a history shaped by Austrians, the stories of the general population who experienced National Socialist rule reveal another pat- tern. The majority of Austrians do not re- member the year 1938 as a major disrup- tion in their life or a break with the past. A break in continuity comes around 1943 with the first Allied air raids on Austrian cities and the turn of events in the war.8 In her article "Aus Angst, uns ein Bild zuzerstijren," Karin Berger draws on family sto- ries, which she finds typical of those passed down to her generation, to demonstrate that 1938 was not the rupture it has been purported to be. Her relatives warmly re- member the early years under National So- cialism. Berger recalls how she was shown photographs of uncles and cousins in uni- form, and she remembers the stories told by female relatives who fondly related their experiences of the first years of National Socialism in the state work camps. Missing from these stories are the groups whose per- secution and murder began with the Anschlz&'. The older generation begins their lament when the bombings are recalled, or when confronted with crimes committed under National Socialism. Then, Berger heard about the bombings and long hours in the bomb shelters. She had to listen re- peatedly to the Austrian litany: "Wir waren arm,wir haben gelitten, wir haben nichts gewuJ3t"(3).The strict focus on the bomb- ings and the deprivations of war removes the military events from their historical context and circumvents questions ofmoral responsibility and guilt.

Kurt Waldheim provides fertile ground

for the study of Austrian victim narratives in Chapters Two and Three of his memoirs Im Glaspalast der Wdtpolitik (1985). He combines strategies found in both state and individualvictim narratives in order to por- tray Austria and Austrians asvictims, i.e., as the objects of historical events rather than historical subjects. Waldheim's assessment of Austria's position as a state concurs with the view put forth in the RotWe$-Rot-Buch. He, too, maintains the his- toric inevitability of the Anschlu/i'.He con- siders neither the necessity of personal responsibility nor that of state responsibil- ity under such circumstances, and he relies on the same juridical arguments used by government officials forty years earlier:

Wir standen auf dem Standpunkt, dd zwar ~sterreicherungefragt in der deutschen Wehrmacht dienen mdten, aber der durch den AnschlulJ als Volkemchts- subjekt ausgelijschte Staat ~sterreich niemandem den Krieg erklart und mit niemandem Krieg gefiihrt hatte. Im Gegenteil, ~sterreich war das erste Opfer der Aggressionspolitik des nationalsoziali- stischen Dritten Reiches gewesen. Dage- gen stand die sogenannte Moskauer Deklaration, in der von der Verantwor- tung ~sterreichs fur die Teilnahme am Krieg die Rede gewesen war. (51)

However, Waldheim's attitude toward the Moscow Declaration is idiosyncratic. He la- bels itdie sogenannte Moskauer Deklaratwn and thereby places itslegitimacy in question. By including this wording only in the Ger- man version of his memoirs, Waldheim is obviously appealing to an audience suppor- tive of Austria's victim status. Implicit in Waldheim's argument isthe victimization of Austria by the Allies as well asby the Na- tional Socialists.

With the publication of his memoirs, Waldheim brought many of the "stories" of personal victimization into the realm of public discourse and unwittingly exposed Austria's mainstream narratives to inter- national scr~tiny.~

Like many of his fellow Austrians, Waldheim focuses on the war years and the postwar period in interpret- ing the s@icance of National Socialism for Austria. Consequently, his use of lan- guage betrays the displacement of the per- secuted with the general Austrian popula- tion and the Austrians in the German army. The language he uses in writing about this period befits the experiences of those im- prisoned or exiled during the years of the Ostmark more than the experiences of a soldier in the German army.Waldheim la- bels himself a "Heimkehrer" and considers himself and his wife refugees in their own country, since they had to travel from Styria to Baden under adventurous circumstances.10

A further consequence of Waldheim's narrow focus on the war is the effacement of the experiences of the persecuted. They are paid lip service in a few sentences, but remain otherwise invisible inhis narrative. In recounting the events following the Anschlu/3,Waldheim writes:

Filmdokumente von damals zeigen die von einem Sturm der Begeisterung und der Aufbruchsstimmung erfaflten Mas- sen. Von den iiber den Verlust ihrer Hei- mat Verzweifelten gibt es ebensowenig Filmaufzeichnungen wie von den vielen, die sofort nach dem Einmarsch der deut- schen Truppen in die Gegngnisse und Konzentrationslager transportiert wur- den. Auch die Bilder derer sind nicht fest- gehalten, denen es--oft unter den abenteuerlichsten Umstiinden-gelang, ihr ijberleben durch Flucht ins Ausland zu sichern. Es gibt auch kaum Filmaufzeichnungen von all denen, die im Wider-stand gegen das Dritte Reich ihr Leben liekn. (39)"

Basically, Waldheim does not distinguish among the persecuted, and he never men- tions the word "Jewish" or discusses the anti- Semitic nature of National Socialism. He portrays the main assaults as being directed at the Christian Socials. He fails to comment on the crimes committed against Jews, po- litidand relqpous opponents, or sexual and ethnicminorities. In hismemoirs, Austrians rarely areNazis, at most, they areNazi sym- pathizers. One of the lessons he learned for his later life was not the burden of mod failure during the years of the Ostmark, but rather the strength of the Austrian"victimsn who rebuilt their country &r World War I1 (378).

No one can deny that the general Aus- trian population suffered during World War 11.But not everyone who suffers isa victim. By viewing their own suffering as paramount, many Austrians relativize history in order to avoid responsibility or admission of p ossible gain from others' suffering. They do not acknowledge Austrian complicity in crimes against Jews, political and religious opponents, and sexual and ethnic minori- ties. In fact, former Nationalsocialists have often fared better than those returning from concentration camps, prison, andexile (Rathkolb 69-72). The Austrian "victim" stance also reinforces the myth that noth- ingcould have beendone to opposeNational Socialism. Moreover, it leads to the failure to recognize the courage of those Austrians who did resist.

Counter-Narratives since 1945

Obviously, the experiences of Austrians interned in prisons and concentration camps, involved in acts of resistance, or forced to leave Austria deviate greatly from the experiences of the majority. In a country without a tradition of remembering and commemorating the persecuted, the per- sonal narratives of the marginalized are in- valuable. They have the potential to act as "counter-narratives" which "provide an al- ternative understanding of the situation .. . and expose the viewpoint embedded in dominant ideology as particularist rather than universaln (Personal Narratives Group 7). Such autobiographical texts make groups previously absent from repre- sentations of the past visible and lay bare the decontextualization of the events sur- rounding National Socialism.

In the immediate postwar years, nu- merous personal narratives written by Austrians who had been interned in con- centration camps or in prison were pub- 1ishedinAustria. They included eyewitness accounts by political and religious oppo- nents of the regime (Arthofer, Gostner, Grand, Hurdes, Kalmar, Kittel, Langbein, Schifko-Pungartnik, Steinwender, Zeder) and Jewish Austrians (Frank1 and Grau- mann). The majority of the writers sought to enlighten fellow Austrians about the true character of National Socialism. They aLso wanted to portray the fate of the particular group with which they identified most, and pay tribute to the murdered.

Written to inform and act as a bridge between former inmates of concentration camps and prisons and the general public, the personal narratives were read by few and soon forgotten. A survey conducted in 1947 revealed that only 14% of the entire population read books published after 1945; of that group, only 11% read political literature or books about concentration camps (qtd. in McVeigh 105). Communist Hermann Langbein, whose personal ac- count Die Starkeren was published in 1949, comments on his disappointment over the poor reception of his book: "1947 entschloO ich mich nach langerem Warten endlich, von mir aus das Thema anzuschneiden: Ich schrieb aus vollem Herzen meinen Er- lebnisbericht iiber die Jahre in den Konzen- trationslagern. Das Echo auf dieses Buch war gering" ("Darfman vergessenn 9).

After the initial publication of concen- tration camp and prison narratives in the 1940s and early 1950s, published autobio- graphical accounts by Austrians persecuted under National Socialism who re- mained or returned to Austria after 1945 were few and far between until the second half of the 1970s and the early 1980s. The first autobiographical works by former ex- iles appeared in the 1960s. However, Ernst Lothar's Das Wuderdes c~berlebens (1961) and Hilde Spiel's Riiclzkehr nach Wien (1968) were virtually alone in their chal- lenge to Austria's victim status until the late 1970s and 1980s.

The second half of the 1970s and the early 1980s mark the beginning of the steady publication of autobiographical literature by Austrians who had been in- terned in prison and concentration camps, involved in resistance movements, or been in exile. Such writers sought in increasing numbers to share their personal experi- ences of Nationalsocialism with the public. In 1976, Fritz Molden, who deserted from the German army and became active in an underground movement, published his memoirs Fepolinski und Waschlapski auf dem bersten,den Stern throughhis ownpub- lishinghouse. In 1980, Socialist parliamen- tarian Stella Klein-Low, who fled after the Anschl uB because ofher "Jewishness," pub- lished her memoirs Erinnerungen with Jugend und Volk Verlag. In 1981, Anna Strafiner, who had opposed National So- cialism for religious reasons, released the small autobiographical tract Tatsachenbericht: Man 1938-Mai 194Ei on her expe- riences in prison and concentration camp in a vanity press. Since then, one or more autobiographical accounts have appeared yearly. The concentration camp narratives of Frankl(1946), Langbein (1949), and Kal- mar (1946) were reprinted in 1977, 1982, and 1988, respectively.

Several factors-professional, psychological, andcultural-contributed to the de- layed appearance of such works. By defini- tion, autobiographies and memoirs are retrospective accounts of anindividual's life in which the author is identical with the narrator. Involved in professional life and faced with reestablishing themselves and their families in Austria after the war, po- tential autobiographers and memorialists may not have found time to devote to writ- ing. Not until they were retired or semi-re- tired, and their children and grandchildren were grown, did many survivors of perse- cution write their autobiographies or mem- oirs. However, these circumstances alone cannot account for the three-decade-long silence on a topic of such import.

For many, the emotional impact of per- secution, the losses which they suffered, and the brutality they experienced and wit- nessed led to the repression of memories and subsequent inability to share their ex- periences in the years soon after the war.12 Viennese film maker Ruth Beckermann, whose father from Czernowitz was in the Red Army during World War 11, and whose Viennese mother survived in what was then Palestine, comments on the nature of the silence surrounding the history of European Jews:

Die Auseinandersetzung mit der Vemich- tung der Juden geschah damals in sehr abstrakter und verschiimter Weise. .Jeder dte irgend etwas, jeder hatte etwas Komisches an seinen Velwandten bemerkt, doch keiner kannte eine zusammenhtin- gende Familiengeschichte. Alles, was rnit der Zeit der Verfolgung zu tun hatte, war mit grol3er Angst und Scham verbunden. Es war eine Wunde, die man nicht bed- ren wollte, die man verdeckte und ver- steckte. (120)

The enormity of the events casts a cloak of silence over survivors, resulting in a pro- longed period of speechlessness. Minna Lachs, who escaped Austria in 1938, poi- gnantly describes this fundamental dilemma in her autobiography Waruniachaust du zurii8:

Auch wir, die Bedrohten und Leidtragen- den und doch ~berlebenden haben es nicht begreifen kijnnen. Ich weiB, da13 es mir versagt bleiben wid, das Unsagbare und Unschilderbare darzustellen, um andere es verstehen und mitempfinden zu lassen. Das Unvorstellbare lal3t sich nicht darstellen, das UiIfa13bare nicht begreifen.


However, like many of the writers, Lachs acknowledges the absolute necessity of re- membering and writing about these events, although language can never llly convey the reality of such experiences. Mali Fritz's disinclination to talk or write about her in- ternment at Auschwitz was rooted in fear of namingthe unthinkable and somehow "do- mesticating" it through language. In Essig gegen den Durst, she explains: "Ich wollte lange nicht dariiber reden und meinte, ich konnte verhiiten, da13 etwas moglich erschei- ne, was nicht moglich sein darf" (134).

Beyond professional and psychological considerations, the specific Austrian situ- ation hampered the publication of autobio- graphical accounts in the fmt thirty years after the defeat of National Socialism. The absence of an interested public after May 1945 was certainly a major factor in the dearth of published autobiographical literature in Austria. Simon Wiesenthal con- tends: ". . . zu dieser Zeit fehlte das Lesepu- blikum; die einen wollten nichts horen, und auch die anderen, die vielleicht nicht gleich- gultig waren, hatten andere Sorgen" (315).

Without a doubt, the generally low status of Jews, Romany and Sinti, and ho- mosexuals within Austrian society has con- tributed to the unwillingness of the perse- cuted to recount their stories and has often led to self-censorship. Both continued anti- Semitism and the persistence of discrimi- nation against Romany and Sinti have in- hibited Jews and Gypsies from sharing their experiences with a general Austrian audience.13 To date, no Austrian has pub- lished a personal account of experiences as a homosexual under National Socialism. But this is hardly surprising, since homo- sexuality was considered a criminal offense up until 1971.14

The aging of the older generation and the coming of age of those too young to re- member National Socialism proved to be the two most important factors in the recent publication of autobiographical literature. The realization by many of the older gen- eration that the memory of their experi- ences was in danger of dying with them motivated them to write autobiographical accounts or to release previously unpub- lished personal narratives. The younger generations have provided an audience for the older generation's experiences, valuing it in a new way. They approach the subject with an emotional attitude different from their parents' or grandparents'. Indeed, much of their interest in this aspect of the past can be seen as an act of rebellion cou- pled with the desire to investigate the de- gree of their elders' complicity.15

Events of the 1970s and 1980s made older and younger generations acutely aware that Austrians continue to repress the past and to deny responsibility for the injustices suffered by Jews, political and religious opponents, and sexual and ethnic minorities. During the early Kreisky years, many may have believed that Austria would finally come to terms with its past. A hopeful sign seemed to be the success of Kreisky-a Jew who had been active in the underground before he escaped to Swe- den-as chancellor and his long-term popu- larity. However, Kreisky's ad horninem attacks on Simon Wiesenthal during the Peter controversy (1975), the reception of war criminal Walter Reder by the Minister of Defense Friedhelm Frischenschlager (1985), and the Waldheim affair (1986) made it increasingly clear that unpleasant aspects of the past had been swept under the carpet, and that the picture Austria's youth was receiving was obviously false.16

Recent events once again serve as a re- minder of the continuation and resurfacing of anti-Semitism and xenophobia in Aus- tria. Both the direction the "liberal" Free- dom Party has taken under <Jorg Haider and his popularity reflect a growing vocal- ized intolerance among the Austrian popu- lation. In the 1990s, his party has garnered support with slogans such as "Wien darf nicht Chicago werden" and "Wien mu13 Hei- mat der Wiener bleiben."

Members of the older and younger gen- erations have formed fruitful coalitions, of- ficial and unofficial, to correct mainstream victim narratives.17 As teachers, histori- ans, filmmakers, editors, and co-owners in publishing houses, committed members of the younger generations seek to bring the knowledge of the older generation to a wider audience. Through their cooperative efforts, they strive to counter the older gen- eration's denial and repression of the

events of National Socialism and to facili- tate the long-overdue "work of mourning" described by Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich in their psycho-sociological study Die Unfihigkeit zu trauern.18 With the deaths of members of the older genera- tion, the personal narratives will take on increased importance for this endeavor.

Counter-Narratives: A Closer Look

The counter-narratives form a diverse body of literature written over a period of approximately 45 years. They defy easy categorization, and few generalizations ap- ply.19 However, it can be said that the authors arebound by the belief that their experiences and those of their group of pri- mary identification have been misrepre- sented, marginalized, or effaced. Since they desireto share their vision of the past based on their personal experiences, it is not surprising that they favor the memoir genre which narrates the "process of being-in- the-worldn rather than "becoming-in-the- world* (Billson 261). The memorialists do not focus on their personal development as in classical autobiography, but are con- cerned with their experiences of historical events. In their attempt to counter main- stream narratives, these writers use the memoir form, adapting it to the Austrian situation, to appeal both to readers' intel- lect and emotions.

In responding to the mainstream nar- ratives and in their effort to appeal to an Austrian audience, the authors often aban- don conventions usually associated with autobiographies and memoirs. Characteristic of much autobiographical litera- ture, but totally absent in the Austrian per- sonal narratives, is a discussion of the fal- libility of memory.20 For example, in his memoirs Widerstand ist alles, Viktor Ma- tejka writes: "Die Erinnerung hat nur ein Ziel, die Wahrheit, und dies ist fiirmich der bleibende Sinn der Wirklichkeit" (42). He, as the other writers, never questions the accuracy of his memory. By rejecting a dis- tanced position, the Austrian memorialists bring their readers closer to the narrated past, toward a position contrary to main- stream narratives. They implicitly invite readers to corroborate or disprove their stories. Even if readers locate inconsisten- cies, they will have become interested in their country's controversial past. More- over, the historical facts speak against mainstream narratives.

At a time when the reliability of memory has been so questioned, the Austrian auto- biographers' stance seems surprising. A brief comparison of these texts with former East German writer Christa Wolfs auto- biographical novel Kindheitsmuster will provide insight into the Austrian memori- alists' construction of memory. Their posi- tion contrasts sharply with the narrator's stance in Wolfs novel. Wolf presents a model for the "work of mourning" from the position of a former Mitlaufir. Her narrator constantly questions the reliability of her memory, exposing its foibles through the juxtaposition of her memories with news- paper clippings. Her position in history as a sympathizer with National Socialism and her long-standing repression of the past ne- cessitates this constant probing. Wolfs nar- rator exposes a version of the past that has gone largely unquestioned. The memorial- ists, on the other hand, are describing events heretofore distorted or effaced. Within the Austrian context, receptive readers would be much like Wolfs narrator, juxtaposing their experiences, or what they have heard about this period, with those of the memorialists.

Wolfultimately describes her project as therapeutic, which contrasts sharply with the claims of the memorialists. Despite the traumatic nature of their experiences, the Austrian memorialists do not portray the writing process as therapeutic. In fact, they often describe it as a very painful process; old wounds are opened, but not healed. Stella Klein-Low writes ofrepressed memo- ries surfacing while she was working on her memoirs: "Dabei kam auch vieles an die Obefiche, das ich gem vergessen hatte, das bis dahin im Unterbedtsein hinter SchloS und Riegel gehalten worden war" (9).Lachs, too, istortured by long-forgotten memories: "In meinem Gedachtnis stonen sich Gefiihle, Gedanken, Triiume und Wirklichkeiten, reihen sich zu Ketten an- einander, jagen und verfolgen mich" (185). Antonia Bruha explicitly writes of overcom- ing emotional barriers in order to educate youth:

Der EntschluB, meine persijnlichen Er- lebnisse und Gefale whnd meiner Ein- zelhaftschonungslos und wahrheitsgetreu darzulegen, fie1 mir nicht leicht. Aber ich hoffe, daB ich derjungen Generation damit helfen kann, das Wesen der Diktatur zu erkennen und sich gegen jede Bedrohung der Demokratie zur Wehr zu setzen. (142)

In her foreword to Mit n~inen Augen, Lucie Begov writes that her sense ofresponsibility helped her overcome the pain involved in writing her memoirs:

Und nur das Gefuhl der Verantwortung meiner Mitwelt gegenuber sowie die &eneugung, eine Pflicht zu erftillen, der ich mich ilicht entziehen darf, halfen mir, diese schwierige und f~ mich schmerzli- che Aufgabe zu bewdtigen. (10)

Whether these writers experienced writing as only paidid without therapeutic benefits isa moot point. In stating that they did, they promote reader sympathy; after all, the writer is dealing with a painll past for the benefit of the reader.

To examine responses which go beyond the above generalizations, it isnecessary to consider both when a narrative was written and when it was published. As stated ear- lier, the first post-National Socialist narra- tives were written largely to inform the public about the horror of the concentration camps and to reveal the true nature of National Socialism. The authors believed that their position of participant and eye- witness would invest their narratives with

By the time Ernst Lothar's memoirs Das Wunder des Uberlebens was published in 1961, the myth of Austria as victim had become one of the constituents of postwar Austrian identity. Accounts published by this time or later reveal both formal and thematic responses to the dominant victim narratives. To illustrate this point, I first turn to the concentration camp and prison narratives and then examine narratives by former exiles.

Two factors concerning the concentra- tion camp and prison narratives might lead readers to the conclusion that they fall out- side a discussion of reactions to the contin- ued insistence on Austria's victim status: first, the majority of them were written in the late 1940s;second, even those written later rarely deal with life in Austria before or after National Socialism. However, the very fact that the authors andfor publishers saw a need to reprint narratives, or publish new releases, indicates continued igno- rance of the period and the failure of the educational system to inform young people.

Authors ofrecent concentration camp or prison memoirs who do not depict life out- side the concentration camps are concerned with the continued marginality ofthe group they identity with most. Ceija Stojka's Wir leben im Verborgenen is the first published personal narrative by a Sinti or Romany Gypsy about the horrors of concentration camp life. In Erinnerungen: Aus dem Widerstand 1938-1945, Margarete Schiitte- Lihotsky seeks to make known the heroism of members of the Communist under- ground. In Essig gegen den Durst, Mali Fritz devotes much space to the Yugosla- vian partisans to whom she feels she owes her life. In Austria, these three groups- Gypsies, Communists, and partisans-have typically been looked down upon by the general population.

A comparison between earlier pub- lished concentration camp and prison nar- ratives and the reprints, belated publica- tions, and recent memoirs reveals that the latter have been modified as a response to established victim narratives. Although narratives usually break off with the Liberation from the camps or the return home, several writers include an introduction or afterword in which they explain why they are publishing their story so many years after the fall of National Socialism. In the afterword to ~berden Wellen, Anna Knes specifically addresses the Austrian phe- nomenon of continued willful ignorance:

Es waren und sind in zunehmendem Mane Kriifte am Werk, die Tatsachen leugnen und verdrehen, die die Opfer ei- ner gnadenlosen Zeit wieder zu Verfolgten machen wollen. Der Versuch des Schwei- gens wurde nicht nur geduldet, sondern fiihrte dazq da13 man bedt in den Lehrbuchern diese Jahre des Schreckens und der Ohnmacht kaum beriihrte oder diese nur oberflachlich und manipuliert einer Jugend uberliel3, die iiber diese geschicht- liche Vergangenheit so gut wie gar nichts weil3. (31)

Lucie Begov writes in her foreword that the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe has spurred her on to rework her manuscript from 1945/46. Asafrequentvisitor to schools, Antonia Bruha, who was active in a resis- tance movement, has often witnessed that students become interested in thisperiod of history when a personal dimension isadded to it. These experiences and her conviction that the knowledge of the past is a weapon against antidemocratic forces convinced her that she should publish the personalaccount of her experiences in hvensbriick she had written in the 1940s. In over five appendices, Mali Fritz comments on the present state of the world. She draws parallels between the concentration camp experience and the situ- ation of black South Africans, and she com- pares the structure ofthe camps to capitalist society She also writes of the callous treat- ment she faced after her release (136). She comments and criticizes the stance of ethnic Germans in postwar society (138). These peripheral texts give readers a feeling of the writers' sense of isolation and a limited idea of the extent to which their experiences have been misrepresented, marginalized, or ef- faced.

To invest their personal narratives with authority, the memorialists or publishers had an expert write an introduction or afterword. In the narratives of Stojka, Begov, and Bruha, as well as in the reprints of Frankl and Kalmar, an authority on the subject explains the value of such a narra- tive. Simon Wiesenthal closes Begods memoirs, Austrian critic Hans Weigel opens the reprint of Frankl's memoirs, and frlm maker/editor Karin Berger introduces Stojka's memoirs.

Some memorialists also include histori- cal documents and scatter footnotes in their narratives in order to lend veracity to their personal narrative^.^^ Although historical documents can be found in earlier personal narratives, footnotes appear to be an inno- vationinthe more recently published mem- oirs. In the Austrian context, this added scholarly apparatus is a reaction to the vic- tim narratives which have not included their versions of history, or else distorted their experiences.

Two recent memoirs-Alfred Maleta's Beroaltigte Vergangenheit and Viktor Ma- tejka's Wderstand ist alles--deviate from other concentration camp memoirs in that they deal with the authors' early life and their life after their release from the con- centration camp. Maleta and Matejka no longer consider the primary function of their narrative to inform about concentra- tion camp life, nor do they feel the same need to bear witness or pay tribute to the murdered. Their memoirs are interpreta- tions of the past which directly address is- sues in postwar Austria.

Alfred Maleta, a former representative of the conservative People's Party in the Austrian Parliament, begins his narrative with his childhood and youth. He focuses on the problems in the First Republic, par- ticularly the conflicts between the parties, and he devotes much space to the develop- ment of an Austrian identity separate from a German identity. He places his two-year internment in Dachau within the larger context of his life. As Maleta suggests with the title Bewaltigte Vergangenheit, he is convinced that the past has been dealt with in Austria. However, for him, the past that is"overcome" is the years ofAustro-Fascism (193438), not National Socialism (1938- 45).By exclusively consideringAustro-Fas- cism as the part of Austria's history which needs to be "overcome," Maleta indirectly confirms Austria's victim status vis-a-vis National Socialism.

Inhis memoirs Wderstand istalles, Viktor Matejka does not focus on his years in concentration camps. The principle of resis- tance in life is the organizing theme of his memoirs. All his life he has resisted anti- democratic institutions and ideas-as a school child, a university student, a patri- otic Austrian, a Christian, a concentration camp prisoner, and a Communist. This leads him to comment on the failure of the government to call back exiles; he cynically comments on the place of remembrance of National Socialism in Austria: "'Niemals vergessen' ist langst zur Leerformel gewor- den, im osterreichischen AUtag ein Ver- sprecher, an Feiertagen ein Rulpser iiber ~eichen-~sterreichs MWyrern" (179).

With few exceptions, the writers of con- centration camp and prison narratives rarely counter directly the mainstream vic- tim narratives in the main body of the text. Only in the appendedforewordoraftenvord do the writers directly address the margin- ality of their versions of history in Austrian society. However, their very existence chal- lenges dominant versions of the past. The historiographic aspect of many narratives encouragesreaders to learnmore about this past. In contrast, the writers of exile mem- oirs cover a greater time span and confront the misrepresentation, distortion, and ef- facement of their histories more directly.

In conclusion, Iturn exclusively to exile narratives written by Austrians who ex- perienced theAns~h1uP.~~

Incontrast to the majority of writers of concentration camp memoirs, who were imprisoned because of their political most authors of exile literature left Austria primarily be- cause they were Jewish.24 Despite their various relationships to Judaism, they were bound together by state-sanctioned anti-Semitism which defined them as be- longing to the same group. The knowledge of the brutality and murder of family mem- bers and European Jewry as a whole, as well as their own experiences, are incorpo- rated into the collective memory of this group which naturally informs much of their autobiographical writings. However, the writers' national, political, and social identities also shape the interpretations of their past.

The writers reject the circumscribed Austrian identity of the mainstream nar- ratives and assert theirright to an Austrian identity. In six thematic areas, these writ- ers directly address Austrian mainstream narratives and continued anti-Semitism: (1)the family's position in Austria, (2)childhood through young adulthood, (3) the events surrounding 1938, (4) exile, (5) the discussion ofreturn to Austria, and (6)postwar and contemporary Austria.

The writers trace their family histories to demonstrate that ".Jewish" and "Aus- trian" are not mutually exclusive. They point out their families' rootedness in Aus- trian society and portray Jewish contribu- tions to Austria's cultural life. In his memoirs Von der Kunst, dsterrpicher zu spin, Hans Thalberg sets out to do both. He be- gins with his own family history, tracing its Austrian roots back to the end of the 18th century. He then generalizes, pointing to the rich contributions Jews have made over the centuries, and draws the conclusion that anti-Semites are often the most vehe- ment opponents of Austrian statehood:

Soeng war die Verflechtung der Juden rnit

dem ostemichischen Geistesleben, so tief

vemelt waxen sie in ihrem Land, daR

eine eigenstiindige ostemichische Kultur

ohne ihren Beitrag undenkbar geworden

ist. So erstaunt es keineswegs, daR gerade

jene, die die Existenz eines selbstiindigen

~sterreichund den Gedanken einer oster-

reichischen Nation so vehement ablehnen,

gleichzeitig die rabiatesten Antisemiten

sind. (43-44)

Bruno Kreisky, whose "Austrianness" was challenged during one of his bids for chan- cellor, traces hisfamily's roots in the Austro- Hungarian monarchy back to the 17th cen- tury.He includes acopy of the firstdocument in which his ancestors were mentioned.

The writers of the exile narratives focus on their youth in an attempt to recover as- pects of Austrian life now eradicated from public memory. Occasionally, the authors include family photographs to add a visual dimension to theirverbaldepictions of Jew- ish life before 1938. Considering the enor- mity of NationalSocialism, itisnot surpris- ing that at times the authors paint a transfigured picture of their youth. In any case, the writers make itclear that no single unified Jewish community existed in Vi- enna.

Minna Lachs's Warurn schust du zuriick isthe only work in which the author delves into the typical question of classical autobiography-that of identity formation and "becoming in the world." However, at the same time that Lachs looks inward, she places her history and herfamily's situation in a larger historical context. Through her own individual story, she hopes to find the general in the specific (12). She draws the reader into fascinating accounts of her earliest childhood in Galicia, her sense of being an outsider in Vienna, and the devel- opment of a sense of self as a result of in- volvement in Jewish youth organizations. She considers her life exemplary for the plight of Eastern European Jewry who fled to Vienna during or afterWorld War I. She conveys what Judaism meant to her per- sonally in the development of her sense of selfand in the discovery of a spiritual Wei- mat."

The writers' depiction of 1938 is a com- mon denominator in their counter-narra- tives. Basing their narratives on their own experiences and those of Jewish Austrians, they counter the juridical arguments made by government officials concerning Aus- tria's victim status. They give credence to political scientist Anton Pelinka's purposely polemical designation of the perse- cution and murder of Austrian Jews and other minorities after 1938 as Austria's "civil war" ("Der verdrangte Biirgerkrieg"


The Jewish memorialists relate the events of 11 March 1938 and its consequences both to their personal fate and to that of the larger Jewish community They record their race against time after the Anschl@, the trapped feeling, the raids car- ried out against Jews, and various efforts and schemes to escape their country. The authors show that fellow Austrians partici- pated in anti-Semitic activities. Shock over the virulence of the raids runs throughout the narratives. In all autobiographies and memoirs, there is a painfbl review of mur- dered family members and friends who could not flee.

Despite their unanimity in describing the events of 1938, the writers nonetheless offer various interpretations of the An.schlup, according to the writers' group of primary identification. Lachs, who builds her narrative around her Jewish identity, places the events of 1938 within the context of Austrian anti-Semitism. She establishes a continuity between her experiences and observations prior to 1938 and those after- wards, interpreting the Ansch.Luj3 not as a rupture in Austrian history, but as the logi- cal (albeit horrible) escalation of endemic anti-Semitism. Looking back on the Vienna to which her family fled during World War I, Lachs notes an attitude change toward Jews, particularly toward Polish-speaking Jews. In 1914, she finds herselfbeing called "artiges Immigrantenkind." Later, this de- generates to "Jud" and, finally, to "Saujud." She relates many other instances of pre- 1938 anti-Semitism: for example, Jewish Austrians were publicly humiliated, and Jewish students beaten up, while police looked on.

The Social Democrats Klein-Low and bisky regard the weakening of their party after the civil war of 1934 as the major factor in the success of the Nazis. They also blame disastrous economic conditions for the attractiveness of the anti-Semitic fas- cist movement. Despite their rational argu- ments, the dimensions anti-Semitism takes on go beyond their capacity to explain it in purely political and economic terms.

In Shanghai Passage, Franziska Tau- sig, who derives her identity from her posi- tion within her family, depicts neither events leading up to the Anschlup, nor the Anschlup itself. In the fmt chapter, the brief description of her birth in 1895, her childhood in Vienna, her introduction into society, and her marriage serve as a con- trast to the disaster that invades her later life-first, World War I, and then the tri- umph of National Socialism in Austria. Years in which her family life was not threatened by historical events do not ap- pear to be worth telling. In fact, she bridges the years 191838 with three terse sen- tences: "Wir hatten wieder ganz von vorne, mein Mann in einem neuen Beruf, begin- nen miissen. Im Jahre 1922 bekam ich einen Sohn, einen echten Wiener. Zwanzig Jahre lebten wir in Wien ein arbeits- und erfolgreiches Leben" (19). Only when the Nuremberg Laws directly affect her private life does she resume her story. The day her son is thrown out of school because of "belonging to the wrong religion" marks the beginning of her second chapter. By depict- ing the events of 1938 as a brutal rupture, Tausig supports the myth of Austria as vic- tim and the seven years of the Ostmark as an occupation. However, she does implicate Austrians in the raids carried out against Jews when she has the perpetrators speak- ing Viennese dialect.

In their descriptions of exile, these writers respond to gross misrepresentations of exile experience. As historian Peter Eppel contends: "Die Goebbelsche [sic] Propa- ganda, wonach es sich die Emigranten in den Kaffeehausern von Paris,London oder New York gut gehen lieRen, wirkt bis in die Gegenwart nach" (554). Former exiles counter the lack of understanding of their experiences with depictions of the emotional and material deprivation they faced.

The exiles, brought together with Jews from different nations, felt a bond with fel- low Jews, but their attachment to Austria shaped their exile experience and deter- mined allegiances. Writer/critic Ernst Lothar was attached to Austria both physi- cally and spiritually. He placed himself fdy in the tradition of Grillparzer and Hofmannsthal and devoted much ofhis lit- erary effort in the United States to convinc- ing an American audience that postwar Austria should have a different fate from postwar Germany. Social Democrats Stella Klein-Low and Bruno Kreisky were both active in Austrian exile organizations. Hans Thalberg, a struggling student in Switzerland, became active in an Austrian student organization and acted as a contact between the Allies and members of an Austrian underground organization. In fact, he met Fritz Molden in this capacity. Franziska Tausig portrays the attempt of exiles in Shanghai to re-create the cultural atmosphere of Vienna. Anna Rattner con- siders her language to be part of her home andidentity and thus never learns Hebrew; she finds that, as a German-speaking Jew, she is an outsider in Palestine.

If 1938 and exile prompted the writers to reflect onboth their Jewishness and their nationality, their decision to return to Aus- tria stimulates the most direct discussions

about what Austria meant to the banished. Why did they return to a country where they had been so ill-treated, and of which they had so many painful memories? After all,exiles were never officially asked to re- turn, and repatriation was often very ds- cult (Eppel564-66). For many exiles, re- turning proved impossible because of emotional, financial, or moral considera- tions. For example, writer/philosopher Jean Am6ry did not return to Austria after hisliberation from the concentration camp, but returned to his country of exile, Bel- gium. In 1978, he committed suicide in Aus- tria-in a hotel in Salzburg. In his essay "Wieviel Heimat braucht der Mensch?", Am6ry explains that he could have only re- turned to Austria had the Austrians over- thrown National Socialism, or if there had been a call for exiles to return. Neither hap- pened, and there was no possibility for Am6ry to recover his lost "Heimat." The writerlphilosopher goes on to compare the fate of European Jewry in 1938 with that of ethnic Germans in 1945 and points to a profound difference. He finds that for Jews the triumphs of National Socialism meant the loss of the belief in ever having pos- sessed a "Heimat": "Wir aber hatten nicht das Land verloren, sondern maten erken- nen, dafi es niemals in unserem Besitz war. Fiir uns war, was mit diesem Land und seinen Menschen zusammenhing, ein LebensmiBverstandnis" (84).25 Unlike AmBry, returning exiles believed they could find a "Heimat" in some form of community. Writers Ernst Lothar and Elisabeth Freundlich write of how they sought a re- union with the Austrian cultural heritage. The politically active Social Democrats as- sociated Austria and Austrianness with "another Austria" (Lachs), an Austria capa- ble of change.26 The Social Democrats' ma- terialist view led them to consider society's utopian possibilities. Others sought com- munity within their families and returned solely for familial reasons. For example, Tausig returned because her son Otto Tau- sig chose to return, and Rattner returned

because of her husband's business.

The contradictions between these writ- ers'visions of Austria and postwar realities manifest themselves on both a formal and a thematic level in their depictions of the Second Republic. With the exception of Kreisky and Klein-Low, who organized their life stories around their political in- volvement, most find it difficult to establish unity between their experiences before 1945 and those after the defeat of National Socialism. Lachs and Tausig end their nar- ratives rather abruptly and do not choose to depict postwar Austria. In Warum schaust du zuriich, the reader does learn that Lachs became an active educator and was involved in exhibits on children's art in Theresienstadt. However, Lachs does not write of the reintegration process or of her reception in Austria after the war. Rather, her narrative ends abruptly with her arriv- al in New York. Tausig ends her narrative with her reunion with her son in Vienna and the "withdrawal" of historical events from her life. The original title of her book, Shanghai ohne Retozrrbillett: Die Lebens- geschichte einer un,bedeutenden. Person. in bedeutenden Zeit, indicates that the only justification she sees in relating her story is its historical significance. Lothar and Rattner depict themselves as being caught between two worlds upon returning to Austria. Lothar's transfigured vision of Austria with its rich cultural heritage is soon dissipated by reality. As an American soldier, he is in charge of overseeing the "denazification" process in the cultural arena. He is caught between his experi- ences as an exile and his feelings as a pa- triotic Austrian who wants nothing more than to promote Austrian culture. He is met with suspicion by his American supervisors and by hostility from former Nazi sympa- thizers. Rattner finds herself torn between Israel and Vienna: "Ich liebe Israel, ich liebe auch Wien, unsere Generation wurde entwunelt. Es ist kaum zu verstehen, ich selbst werde aus meinem gespaltenen Ich nicht Mug" (75). In Hans Thalberg's Von der

Kunst, ~sterreicher zu sein, the split be- tween the author's experiences before and after the defeat ofNational Socialism is the most radical. His memoirs read as if they were two different books. The "first" closes with the end of his exile, and the "second" focuses on his professional relationship with Bruno Kreisky and his work in the foreign service. Thalberg has externalized a split forced upon him as a returning Aus- trian Jew/Jewish Austrian. The "artof be- ing Austrian" demands that he compart- mentalize his life. His past life would be difficult for him to reconcile with his position as diplomat. The writers have broken the silence surrounding persecution ofAus- trian Jews under National Socialism; how- ever, confrontation with postwar and con- temporary Austria appears to remain too

painful for the majority to face.

Autobiographical works by those perse- cuted under National Socialism are as much a product of the Austrian situation as they are a response to it. In countering the marginalization and effacement of their histories, these writers modlfy autobio- graphical modes in order to challenge "mainstream victim narratives." Through the personal narratives, the autobiogra- phers strive to correct a version of history contrary to their own experiences. How- ever, some of the writers have so internal- ized the widespread victim myth that they adapt their lives to it. Others create new myths in constructing their histories. Po- litical and rekous affiliations, among oth- ers, have shaped these writers' interpreta- tions of the past and have led them to fit their lives into the "narrative" of the group with which they identify. Hermann Lang- bein addresses this in the foreword to the reprinted edition of Die Starkeren, written afterhis expulsion from the Austrian Com- munist Party. Because of the rich variety of the personal narratives and many unan- swered questions about Austria's past, these works merit further attention.

Corrective Potential Unrealized

The value of these works lies in their potential to engage the readers' emotions as well as their intellect. In his discussion of the miniseries HoLocaust, Andreas Huyssen argues that emotional identifica- tion with the victims can promote the long overdue psychic process of "coming to terms with the past" (94-114). It can stimulate interest in a past which seems far removed from members of postwar generations, es- pecially because of their parents' andlor grandparents' reluctance to talk about it, or of their misrepresentation of this period. The readers' emotional involvement can fa- cilitate integration of the life stories into the collective memory ofAustria's younger gen- erations (Peukert 22-23). The personal narratives also engage readers intellectu- ally and invite them to learn more about the past. Firsthand accounts by forgotten Austrians can act to correct a falsified view of history, because the two versions cannot exist side by side and remain equally cred- ible. However, if the books are not read, their potential will go unrealized. Many of the books discussed in this study are out of print, and the sales record leaves the issue of their effect open to some ~peculation.2~ Since the passing of the 50th anniversary of the AnschluJ3 in 1988, interest in such life stories has waned. However, the value of these narratives has by no means dimin- ished.

At a time when political slogans such as "Wien soll Heimat der Wiener bleiben" ef- face Austria's multicultural heritage, these autobiographical texts take on renewed importance. The personal narratives encour- age a new perspective both on an "old" his- tory and on current events.


'My use of the term "collective memory" coincides with Berger and Luckmaim's defini- tion of "intersubjective sedimentation" (6749),

which they dehe as experiences shared by a community and incorporated into a common stock of knowledge, objectified through lan- guage by that community. Seealso Halbwachs


2Scholes and Kellogg4. Scholes and Kellogg dehe a narrative as being characterized by "the presence of a story and a story-teller." They use it to refer strictly to literary works. How- ever, I apply it to a variety of media in which a story and storyteller are implicit. For an excel- lent analysis of anti-Semitic discourse in Aus- tria and victim narratives in the public sphere, see Wodak et al. 24-26.

3Talos, Hanisch, and Neugebauer state in the introduction to the volume NS-Herrschaft in ~sterreich 1938-1945: "Auch wenn es kaum glaubhaft klingt:der hier vorliegende Sammel- band ist der erste Versuch osterreichischer Historiker und Sozialwissenschaftler, eine Gesamtdarstellung der NS-Herrschaft in ~sterreichzu wagen. Fiinfzig Jahre nach dem sogenannten 'AnschluO'! Das Defizit an Forschung wird in seinen Dimensionen erst sichtbar, wenn man vergleicht, welche For- schungsleistungen in der Bundesrepublik mittlerweile erbracht worden sind" (ix).They point to Austria's victim status as the reason for this lack. An earlier important study is Eri- ka Weinzierl's Zu wenig Gerechte: ~sterreicher und Judenverfolgung 1938--1945, which hasre cently been reprinted. Recent efforts by histori- ans, linguists, filmmakers, etc. are too numer- ous to be listed here. I shall only mention a few. See Karl Miiller, 'NSHinterlassenschaft: Die osterreichische Literaturinihrer Auseinander- setzung mit osterreichischen Gewaltgeschich- ten," for an overview of literature dealing with National Socialism and World War 11. However, despite the author's thoroughness, he errone- ously includes Gert Hofmann among the Aus- trian authors. Viktoria Hertling in her article "Bereitschaft zur Betroffenheit: Neueste oster- reichischeFhsa iiber die Jahre 1938 bis 1945" offers an updated discussion of recent fiction dealing with this period of history. Concommi- tantwith the publication of the volume by Talos et al. are the two volumes entitled Vertriebene Vernunft I & II. They consist of talks given at a symposium in October 1987 on the flight of in- tellectuals by representatives from diverse dis- ciplines.

4See Hertling.

5Beyond reviews in newspapers, the auto- biographical texts discussed here have been the subject of study by historians Ezika Thurner and Helga Embacher; see Thurner (7-22) and Embacher (7-20). For a sampling of studies of German-language autobiographical writings, see Sandra Frieden and Ingo Mose.

61nterview volumes include: Der Him.m.el ist blau: Kann sein (ed. Berger et al.); Ich geb Dir einen Mantel, da/3 Du ihn n,och. in Freiheit tra- gen kannst (ed.Berger et al. ); Margarete Gls- Larson,Ich m@ reden; Jelka[.]Aus dem. Leben einer Karntner Partisan,in,; Josef Meisel, Jetzt haben u)ir Ihm, Meisel; and Rosa Jochmann: Zeitzeugin. Since 1982, workers at the Dokum~ntationsarchil~&s o.sterreichi.schen. Wider- stands have conducted interviews with "wit- nesses." As of October 1990, 725 women and men had been interviewed. The borderlines are not always as easily delineated as in the case of Bruno Kreisky's memoirs. See editor Oliver Rathkolb's description of the "writing" process in Kreisky's Zwtschen den &iten: Erinnerun- gen aus fiinf Jahrzehnten (483-84).

7F~rthis reason, I excluded the insightful and moving memoirs by George Clare, Ruth Kliiger, and Egon Schwarz. The works of the following also fall outside the scope of this study, since they left Austria because of the events of 1934: Ernst Fischer, Ruth von May- enburg, Hilde Spiel (Die hellen urul die fin- steren Zeiten), and Willi Verkauf-Verlon I do, however, include Spiel's Riickkehr nach Wzen because she explicitly deals with the Austrian denial and distortion of the exile experience.

%ee Evan Bukey's article "Popular Opinion in Vienna after the Ansrh luj3." gAnumber ofbooks have appeared on Wald- heim since the controversy su~~ounding

his memoirs and his election as president. For a sampling, see Bassett; Herzstein; Saltman; Haslinger.

1°Compare Malina (161). Historian Peter Malina contends that the general population appropriated language to describe their situa- tion after the war which would have been more suitable to describe the situation of those per- secuted under National Socialism than their own. In his article 'Nach dem Krieg: ~sterrei- cherInnen als Opfer und Tater," he writes: Venn in ~sterreich nach 1945 von Kriegs- 'Heimkehrenl' gesprochen wurde, dann waren nicht jene gemeint, die aus der Vertreibung nach ~sterreich zuriickgekehrt waren; wenn von Vertriebenen die Rede war, dann nicht von jenen, die nach dem 'Anschlun' 1938 gem- gen gewesen waren, ihre Heimat ~sterreich zu verlassen; wenn Opfer beklagt wurden, dam waren in der Regel nicht jene Zehntausende gemeint, die in den Konzentrationslagern und Gefhgnissen ermordet wurden."

llcompare the slightly different and sparser account in the English version: "Newsreel footage of the occasion appeared to provide evidence of a tumultuous welcome by the Viennese. But no journalist or photogra- pher ventured hm the scene of celebration to less conspicuous comers of the capital to film the thousands sitting soberly at home. No camera caught the panic-stricken desperation of those hiding in the city's cellars fearing the persecutions that began almost at once" (16).

12Compare Andreas Lixl-Purcell4. See also Helen Epstein's Children of the Holocaust, in which she describes difliculties children of con- centration camp survivors have in dealing with their parents' fate and the cloak of silence sur- rounding this past. She discusses mostly people in North America, suggesting that the topic is very diflicult to deal with no matter in what setting.

13See the introductions to both Der Himmel ist b1au:Kann sein (1985) and Ichgeb Dir einen Mantel, dab Du ihn noch in Freiheit tragen kannst (1987), edited by Karin Berger et al. At the time of its publication, Ceija Stojka's Wir leben im Verborgenen was the first written ac- count by a Romany or Sinti about their expe- riences in a concentration camp. Compare the bibliographies of Holocaust narratives in Ter- rence Des Pres, Marlene Heinemann, and James Young, as well as the exile narratives in Lixl-Purcell. They list numerous examples of memoirs written by Jews outside ~us&a long before similar personal narratives by Jewish Austrians with a German-language press.

14See the article by Neda Bei, "Seks und Krimi" in Auf.for a discussion on laws in Aus-


tria concerning homosexuality.

15See Regina Kecht 315. She examines works by Henisch, Schwaiger, and Reichart in which the younger generation's search for their own identity is bound with the narrators' dis- tancing themselves from their parents' Nazi past. But compare Beckermann (117-29).

l'%'or a discussion of the Kreisky-Peter- Wiesenthal and the Waldheim controversies, see Wodak et al. For information on Reder, see Ortner.

17Compare Dagmar C. G. Larends article "Hoffentlich werde ich taugen': Zu Situation und Kontext von Brigitte Schwaigermva Deutsch Die Galizianerin" (1-2). She describes the sometimes problematic nature of the two generations working together and analyzes Schwaiger's position vis-8-vis her "subject." Also, she argues that Schwaiger perpetuates Jewish stereotypes.

l8See especially 13-85. Although the Mit- scherlichs describe West Gexmany, much of their analysis applies to the Austrian situation. Particularly relevant to this study is page 83: 'Diese Korrektur unseres falschen und einge- engten Bedtseins, das Auffinden unserer Fiihigkeit des Mitleidens f& Menschen, die wir hinter unseren entstellenden Projektionen zu- vor nie wahrgenommen haben, wiirde uns die Fiihigkeit zu trauen~ zuriickgeben."

19 See Frieden for an excellent overview of the literature on the theoxy of autobiography (9-54). Standard works Iconsultedinclude Pas- cal; Olney (ed.), Autobiograph.y: Essays Tho- retical and Critical; Olney, Metaphors of Selh Lejeune; and Billson. Newer works which con- sider issues of marginality due to gender and race include: LifelLines, ed. Bella Brodzki and Celeste Schenck; Woments Autobiogral~hy, ed. Estelle C. Jelinek; and Personal Narratives Group, Interpreting Women's Ltues. Studies on Holocaust memoirs I consulted include: Des Pres; Foley; Heinemam; Young; Thurner; and Fine. No book-length study has been published on autobiographical literature by exiles. I also consulted Lixl-Purcell, Critchfield, Embacher, and Morris.

20Richard Critchfield in "Einige herlegun- gen zur Problematik der Exilautobiographikn comments: "Eltilautobiographien sind teilweise durch Reflexionen iiber die Fragwiirdigkeit der hochst subjektiven Gattung gekennzeichnet, die auf dem so unzuliinglichen und unzuverlas- sigen Erinnerungsvermogen eines Menschen beruht" (4142).

21Billson writes: "Acting as a participant in his narrative, the memoir-writer reinforces the authority of the eyewitness stance, for the read- er often is able to gauge the validity of an ao count by judging the memorialist's physical relationship to events" (275).

22Compare Billson 278 and Young 17.

*I excluded the memoirs by Molden and Scharf, two resistance fighters who were not apprehended. Both challenge "mainstream vic- tim narratives." However, their texts do not lend themselves to generalizations. Because of their experiences, they approach the subject from a very different position. Scharfs work de- viates from the usual scheme in many ways, because his memoirs are much more a chal- lenge of the Social Democraticversion of history from the standpoint of an expelled Social Dem- ocrat turned Communist.

24Adrienne Gessner is the only exception. However, she left Austria, because her utJewish" husband Ernst Lothar fled.

25See also Konrad Paul Liessmann's in-

sightful discussion of Am6ry's essay.

26Helene Legradi entitled her book Das an- &re Wien; withit, she hopes to convince readers that there were some Viennese who did not to- tally kowtow to the National Socialists.

271was able to obtain figures from the Er-lag fur Gesellschaftskritik and Europauerlag. Peter Lachnit of Verlag fur Gesellschaftskritik found that interest for books on the topicofAus- tria's National Socialist past reached a high point in 1988 and has slacked off since then. As of April 1991, Mali Fritz's two books had sold over 1,600 copies (almost the entire printing) and Franziska Tausig's book had sold 1,000 copies with 100 left. The statistics for Europa- verlag are as follows: Antonia Biuha's Ich war keine Heldin sold approximately 2,800 copies as of March 1991 and Minna Lach's book 1,200 copies.

Works Cited

Primary Literature

AmBry, Jean. Wieviel Heimat braucht der Mensch? Jenseits von Schuld und Siihne. Munich: Szczesny, 1966.71-100.

Arthofer, Leopold. Als Priester im Konzentra-

tiomlager. Graz, Vienna: Moser, 1947. Begov, Lucie. Mit meinen Augen. Gerlingen:

Bleicher, 1983. Berger, Karen, Elisabeth Holzinger, Lotte Pod-

gornik,and Lisbeth N. Trallori, eds. Der Him-

me1 ist blau: Kann sein.. Frauen im

Widerstand 1938-1945. Vienna: promendia, 1985.

,eds. Ich geb' Dir einen Mantel, dap Du ihn noch in Freihzit tmgen kannst. Vienna: promendia, 1987.

Bruha, Antonia. Ich war keine Heldin. Vienna and Munich: Eumpaverlag, 1984.

Clare, George. Lust Waltz in Vienna: I1Ee destruction of a family 1842-1942. London: Macmillan, 1981.

Fischer, Ernst. Erinnerungen und Reflexionen. Reinbek Rowohlt, 1969.

Frankl, Viktor. Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentratiortslager. Vienna: Jugend and Volk, 1946; repr. ZFotzdem ja zumhben sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager. Munich: dtv, 1977. Fritz, Mali. Essiggegen den Durst: 565 %ge in Auschtuitz-Birkenau. Vienna: Verlag fiir Ge sellschattskritik, 1986.

,and Hermine Jursa. Es lebe dus Leben. Vienna: Verlag fiul Gesellsc~kritik,1984. Gessner, Adrienne. Ich miichte gem was Gutes

sagen. Vienna, Munich: Amalthea, 1985.

Glas-Larsson, Margareta. Ich will reden. Vienna,Munich, Zurich, New York: Molden, 1981. Gostner, Erwin. 1000 'ItLge im KZ.Innsbruck

privately printed, n.d. [1945?]. Grand, Anselm J. "nrm A ohm Neuigkeit!" Vienna, Leipzig: Doblinger, 1946. Graurnann, Samuel. Deportiert. Vienna: Stern, 1947. Hurdes, Felix. Vater unser. Vienna: Herder, 1950.

Jelka. Aus dem hben einer Karntner Partisa- nin. Ttwcribed from a taped interview with Helena Kuchar by Thomas Busch and Brigit- te Windhab. Eiseilkappel: Longo Mai, 1984.

Kalmar, Rudolf. Zeit ohne Gnade. Vienna: Schonbrunn, 1946; repr. Vienna: Jugend und Volk, 1988.

Kittel,Franz.Nacht iiber ~sterreich. Vienna:Titan,n.d. [1945?]. Klein-Lijw, Stella. Erinnerungen. Vienna: Ju- gend und Volk, 1980. Kliiger, Ruth. weiterleben.Gottingen: Wallstein, 1992. Knes,Anna. &er den Wellen. Klagenfurt: Rijch- ner, n.d.

Kreisky, Bruno. Zwischen den &iten: Erinne- rungen aus finf Jahrzehnten. Berlin: Siedler, 1986.

Lachs, Minna. Warum schaust du zuriick. Vien

na:Empaverlag, 1986.

Langbein, Hermann. Die Starkren. Vienna: Stern, 1949; repr. Cologne: Bund-Verlag, 1982.

Legradi,Helene.Dasandere Wen. ,Salzburgand Vienna: Geyer Edition, n.d. [1988?]. Lothar, Ernst. Das Wunder des ~berlebens. Vienna: Zsolnay, 1961. Maleta, Alfi-ed. Bewaltigte Vergangenheit. Graz: Styria, 1981. Matejka, Vir. Wderstand ist aUes. Vienna: Liicker, 1984.

Mayenburg, Ruth von. Blaues Blut und rote Fahnen. Vienna, Munich, Zurich: Molden, 1969.

Meisel, Josef "Jetzt haben wir Ihnen, Meisel!" Vienna: Verlag fkGesellschafhkritik, 1985.

Molden, F'ritz. Fepolinski und Waschlapski auf &m berstenden Stem. Vienna, Munich, Zu- rich: Molden, 1976.

Rattner, Anne, and Lola Blonder. 1938-Zuflucht Pal5stina. Salzburg: Geyer Edition,

n.d. [1989?].

Rosa Jochmann: Zkitzeugin. Ed. Maria Sporrer and Herbert Steiner. Vienna: Eumpaverlag, 1987. Scharf, Erwin. Ich hd's gewagt mit Sinnen . . . Globus, 1988. Schifko-Pungartnik, Manfred. Leichentrager ans Ibr! Graz: Moser, 1946. Schiitte-Lihotzky, Margarete. Erinnerungen: Aus dem Wderstand 1938-1945. Berlin: Volk und Welt, 1985. Schwarz, Egon. Keine &it fur Eicherzdofl. Konigstein: Athenaum, 1979; enlarged ed. Fmnkht Biichergilde Gutenberg, 1992. Spiel, Hilde. Die hdlen und die finsteren ZEiten. Munich: List, 1989. .Riickkehr nach Wien. Munich: Nym- phenburger, 1968; repr. Frankfurt, Berlin: ullstein, 1989. Steinwender, Leonhard. Christus im Konzentra- tionslage~Salzburg: Miiller, 1946. Stojka, Ceija. Wir leben im Verborgenen,. Vienna: Picus, 1988. Straner, Anna.'Ihtsachenbericht: Marz 1938- Mai 1945. St. Valentin: privately printed, 1981.

Tausig, Franziska. Shanghai Passage. Vienna: VerlagfkGesellschaftskritik, 1987. Thalberg, Hans. Kn der Kunst, Osterreicher zu sein. Vienna: Bohlau, 1984. Verkauf-Verlon, Way. Situationen: Eine auto-

biographische Wortcollage. Vienna: Verlag fk Gesellschaftskritik, 1983. Waldheim, Kurt. In the Eye of the Storm. Bethesda: Adler and Adler, 1986. Im C;laspalast der Wdtpolitik. Diisseldorf and Vienna: Econ, 1985. Wolf, Christa. Kindheitsmuster. Berlin: Aufbau, 1976. Zeder, Heinrich. Judas sucht einen Bruder. Vienna: Wiener Dom Verlag, 1947.

Secondary Literature

Bassett, Richard. Waldhei~nand Austria. New York: Viking, 1989.

Beckermann, Ruth. Unzugehijrigkeit: ostemi- cher und Ju&n nach 1945. Vienna: Lijcker, 1989. Bei, Neda. "Seks und Krimi: Zur Rechtslage les- bischer Frauen." Auf (August 1982): 17-29. Berger, Karin."Aus Angst, uns ein Bild zu zer- stijren," "Man hat ja nichts gewupt!" Vienna: Verein zur Forderung feministischer Projek- te, 1989.3-4.

Berger, Peter, and Thomas L~ckm~um. The So- cial Construction of Reality. New York [etc.]: Doubleday, 1966. Billson, Marcus. "The Memoir: New Perspec tives on a Forgotten Genre." Genre 10 (1977): 259-82.

Brodzki, Bella, and Celeste Schenck, eds. LifelLines. Ithacahndon: Cornell UP,1988. Bukey, Evan. "Popular Opinion in Vienna after

thehchlup." Conquering the Past:Austrian Nazism Yesterday and Toclay. Ed. F. Parkinson. Detroit: Wayne ShteUP, 1989.

CritcMeld, Richard. "Autobiographic als Ge-schichtsdeutung."Deutschqrachige Exillite- ratur. Ed. Wulf Koepke and Michael Winkler. Bonn: Bouvier, 1984.22841. ."Einige aerlegungen zur Pmblematik der Exilautobiographik." Exilforschung: Ein in.&rnationales Jahrburh 2 (1984): 41-55.

Des Pres, Terrence. The Survivor: An Anatomy oflife in the Death Camps. New York: Oxford UP,1976.

Embacher, Helga. "Vertreibung aus Wien," 1938-Zuflucht Palastina. 7-20. Eppel, Peter. "Ostet~eicher im Exil1938-1945." Talos et al. 553-70. Epstein, Helen. Child-en of the New

York: Putnam's Sons,1979.

Fine, Ellen S. Women Writers and the Holo- caust:Strategies for Survival." Reflections of the Holocaust in Art and Literature. Ed. Randolph L. Braham. New York: Distributed by Columbia UP, 1990.79-95.

Foley, Barbara. "Fact, Fiction, Fascism: Testi- mony and Mimesis in Holocaust Narratives." Comparative Literature 34 (1982): 330-60.

Frieden, Sandra. Autobiography: Self into Form. Frankfurt, Bern, New York: Lang, 1983. Halbwachs, Maurice. The Collectiue Memory. Trans. Francis J. Ditter, Jr. and Vida Yazdi Ditter. New York Harper and Row, 1980. Haslinger, Josef. Politik der Gefuhle. Darmstadt: Luchterhand, 1987. Heinemann, Marlene. Gender and Destiny: Women Writers and the Holocaust. New York, Westport, London: Greenwood, 1986. Hertling, Viitoria. "Bereitsckaft zur Betmffenheit: Neueste osterreichische Prosa iiber die Jahre 1938 bis 1945." German Studies Re- view 14 (1991): 275-91. Herzstein, Robert Edwin. Wddheim: the mis- sing years. New York: Arbor House, 1988. Huyssen,Andreas.After the Great Divide. Bloomington, London: Indiana UP, 1986. Jelinek, Estelle C., ed. Wom,en's Autobiography. Bloomingtnn, London: Indiana UP, 1980. Kecht, Regina. "Faschistische Familienidyllen-Schatten der Vergangenheit in He nisch, Schwaiger und Reichart." Austrian Witers and theAnschlu/3. Ed. Donald G. Da- viau. Riverside: Ariadne, 1991.31337. Knight, Robert, ed., "Ich bin &fur, die Sache in die Ltinge zu ziehen." Frankfurt: Atheniium, 1988. Langbein, Hermann. "Darf man vergessen." Pe- linka and Weinzierl. 8-16. Lejeune, Philippe. On Autobiography. Minneapolis: Minnesota UP, 1989. Liessmann, Konrad Paul. Ton der Heimatlosig- keit des Menschen." Forum 37,4421443 (1990): 24-28. Lixl-Purcell, Andreas. "Introduction. Women of Exile: Isolation as Identity," Women of Exile: German-*Jewish Autobiographies since 1933. New York, Westport, London: Greenwood. 1988.1-8. Lorenz, Dagmar C. G. "'Hoffentlich werde ich taugen': Zu Situation und Kontext von Brigit- te Schwaiger/Eva Deutsch Die Cmlizianerin."

Women in German Earbook 6 (1991): 1-25.

Malina, Peter. Tach dem Krieg: ~stemiche- rInnen als Opfer und Tgter." 0stem-eicher und der Zweite Weltkrieg. Ed. Dokurnentationsar chiv des osterreichischen Widerstandes and Dr. Wolfgang Neugebauer. Vienna: 0sterrei- chischer Bundesverlag, 1989.145-69.

McVeigh, Joseph. Kontinuitat und Vergangen- heitsbewaltigzmg in der osterreichischn Lite- ratur. Vienna: Braumiiller, 1988.

Mitscherlich, Alexander and Margarete. Die Unfihigkeitzu trauern. Munich: Piper, 1967.

Morris, Katherine. Women Remembering: Au- tobiography as a Source of GermanJewish Cultural History in Brazil." Unpublished manuscript. "Moscow Conference." Henry Steel Commager Documents of American History. 9th edition, 2 vols. New York: Meredith, 1971.11: 479.

Mose, Ingo. %erlegungen zur Systematisie- rung autobiographischer Kindheits- und Ju- gendschilderungen der ostemichischen Gegenwartsliteratur." ~sterreich in Geschichte und Literatur 28 (1984): 169-82. Miiller, Karl. WSHinterlassenschaR: Die oster reichische Literaturin ihrer Auseinanderset- zung mit osterreichischen Gewaltgeschich- ten." Pelinka and Weinzierl. 85-113. Olney, James. Metaphors of Self. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1972. , ed. Autobiography: Essays Theoretical and Criticd. Princeton: Princeton UP,1980. Ortner, Christian S.Am Beispiel Helm,ut Reakr. Vienna: Dokumentationsarchiv des ostemi- chischen Widerstands, n.d. Pascal, Roy. Design and Duth inAutobwgraphy. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1960. Pelinka, Anton. "Der verdmgte Biirgerkrieg." Dasgrope %bu. Eds. Pelinka and Weinzierl. 14343. and Erika Weinzierl, eds. Das grope %bu. Vienna: Verlag der ~sterreichischen Staatsdruckerei, 1987. Personal Narratives Group. "Introduction." Interpreting Wom.en's Lives. Bloomingtnn, In- dianapolis: Indiana UP, 1989.3-15. Peukert, Detlev J. K. Inside NaziGermany.New Havenbndon: Yale UP, 1987. Rathkolb, Oliver. Widerstand gegen den Natio- nalsozialismus."Erinnerungsarbeit 1938-88: Ein Schulheft zum Umdenken. Schulheft (1988):69-72.

Rot-Weip-Rot-Buch: Darstellungen, Dokumente

und Nachweise zur Vorgesch.ichte und Ge- schichte der Okkupation 0sterreich.s (nach amtlichen Quellen). Ed. under the direction of Dr. Karl Gruber. Vienna: ~sterreichische Staatsdruckerei, 1946.

Saltman, Jack. Kurt Waldheim:~ me to answer. London: Robson, 1988.

Scholes, Robert, and Robert Kellogg. TheNature of Narrative. London, Oxford, New York: Oxford UP, 1966.

Stadler, Friedrich, ed., Vertriebene Vernunft I& I.. Vienna, Munich: Jugend und Volk, 1988.

Talos, Emmerich, Ernst Hanisch, and Wolfgang Neugebauer, ed. NS-Herrschaft in 0sterreich 1938-1945. Vienna: Verlag f~ Cssellschafts

kritik, 1988.

Thurner, Erika. Trauenberichte aus der NS Zeit." Kriss, Fuchs-Ligeti, Hemtadt-Stein- metz. 7-22.

Weinzierl, Erika. Zu wenig Gerechte: ~sterrei- und Judzntierfolgung 1938-1945. Graz, Vienna, Cologne: Styria, 1969.

Wiesenthal, Simon. "Nachwort." Lucie Begov. Mit m.einenAugen. Gerlingen: Bleicher, 1983. 316-18.

Wodak, Ruth, et al. WE sind alle unschuldige Tater." Fmdihk Suhrkamp, 1990.

Young, James. Writing and Rewriting the Holo- caust. Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1988.

  • Recommend Us