Vienna Lectures and Book Remember “Annihilation of the Intellect”

Austrian Press Agency (03/04/2008)

Lectures, books and exhibitions on the annexation of Austria seventy years ago

Vienna – On the occasion of the annexation of Austria to Hitler Germany seventy years ago, a series of events are being held in remembrance of the explusion of reason. A seven-part series of lectures beginning on March 13 and entitled, “Departure 1938,” will highlight the flight of many intellectuals and scientists from Austria.  A new book by Vienna contemporary historians will analyze how the University of Vienna dealt with Jewish students following the annexation.

As a prelude to the “Vienna Lectures,” sponsored by the International Research Center for Cultural Studies (IFK), and to the series entitled, “Departure 1938 – The Annihilation of Intellectual Vienna,” initiated by the Vienna Library, ret. Professor of German Literature Egon Schwarz, who was expelled in 1938, will hold the opening lecture in Vienna’s City Hall. In addition, Carl and Charlotte Bühler, who fled Vienna for Norway and became pioneers in Child Psychology, Experimental Psychology and the Theory of Language, will speak about the years following annexation.

During the course of the series lasting until November, sociologist Gerhard Sonnert and Vienna-born historian and physicist Gerald Holton from Harvard University will present the German edition of their book (2007), “What Happened to the Children Who Fled Nazi Persecution,” by LIT publishers on June 24. The book highlights the paths taken by the children and youths who fled the National Socialists from Germany and Austria during the 1930s and 1940s for the U.S.

Furthermore, within the framework of this series, German Studies specialist and Holocaust survivor Ruth Klüger (“Studies and Use of the German Language Following the Shoah”) and Graz sociologist Christian Fleck, together with Marie Jahoda, will speak about current-day thoughts on employment and unemployment. On October 30, there will be a conference entitled, “The Dangers of Diversity,” covering the “life and work of Friedrich Torberg (1909-1979).”

An analysis of how the University of Vienna dealth with Jewish students following the annexation is contained in the newly published book, “Annexation and Exclusion 1938 - Students from the University of Vienna Who Were Expelled or Remained” by contemporary historians Herbert Posch, Doris Ingrisch and Gert Dressel. It will be presented on March 12 within the framework of “Dies Academicus” in the small ballroom of the University. In addition, Walter Sokel, ret. professor at the University of Virginia and contemporary witness, looks back on the events between 1936 and 1938 when he was a student expelled from the university.

In cooperation with the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance, a team at the University of Graz working together with Helmut Konrad from the Institute of History is currently researching the practice of NS rule in Styria. The project concentrates primarily on persecution and resistance. According to the University of Graz, a conference as well as an exhibition is planned for September 2008 to be held in Graz’s City Musem in cooperation with the Association for Historical and Educational Work, “Clio.”