Vienna’s Faculty of Law Addresses the Impact of the Anschluss

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (11/25/2008)

Vienna’s Faculty of Law Addresses the Impact of the Anschluss

Exhibition “Erinnerungen im Exil – Exiled Memories” until December 12 in the Juridicum – Series of lectures planned for summer semester

Vienna – The Faculty of Law at the University of Vienna also experienced a “personal intrusion” at the time of the Anschluss in 1938, as head of the Institute for Philosophy of Law Richard Potz stated when speaking with the Austrian Press Agency. A “surprisingly large” number of official university staff had either to flee or lost their positions during the Nazi regime. The exhibition “Erinnerung im Exil – Exiled Memories” recalls what happened, the “intellectual loss” and the impact it had on the Faculty of Law in Vienna in those days. The exhibit is part of “Expelled Law,” which opened on Tuesday and will run until December 12 in the Juridicum at the University of Vienna.

Exhibited are installations by Karen Frosting, art historian and artist living in the USA. She is the daughter of Benjamin Frostig, an alumnus of the Faculty of Law who fled in 1938. After the death of the last of three Holocaust survivors in her family in 2004, she received, according to the University of Vienna, a pile of sixty-eight letters written by her grandparents who died in a concentration camp. Frostig’s grandparents wrote to their son, Benjamin Frostig, who received a doctorate of law and business from the Faculty of Law at the University of Vienna in 1936 and lived in exile in Cuba after 1938.

During the course of filing restitution applications to the Republic of Austria, Karen Frostig began to reconstruct her family story. Alongside the fate of her murdered grandparents, she began to research the expulsion of her father, Benjamin Frostig, (at the time a young lawyer) following his arrest in November 1938. “The contact with Austria, which was not always without friction, began to intensify.” In the meantime Frostig has taken on Austrian citizenship.

Frostig’s installation includes twelve panels. With the help of digitalization techniques, three of the panels consist of layered excerpts of letters, photos and motifs depicting mass executions, giving rise to a journey in time from 1938, the beginning of family exile, until 2008,” explained the University of Vienna.

According to the head of the institute, Potz, plans are being made for a series of lectures for summer semester 2009 which will highlight in detail the impact of National Socialism on individuals. It will be dedicated to the history of the faculty at the Institute of Law between 1938 and 1945. “What happened after 1945?” This is a question Potz would like to focus on in conclusion of the lecture series.