Everyman’s Jews: 100 Years Salzburg Festival

July 14, 2021 – November 21, 2021
 JMW, Dorotheergasse 12, 1010 Vienna



After the pogrom in the Middle Ages and surge in anti-Semitism, a new Jewish community in Salzburg was established with the arrival of Jews at the end of the 19th century. During the interwar period, this state was torn between Catholicism and German nationalism, which demonstrates how the phenomenon of anti-Semitism without Jews was particularly unique.

Under these conditions, the Salzburg Festival was founded in 1920 as a Catholic-Neo-Baroque spectacle. Many Viennese Jews promoted the revival of the idea of ??Austria on the stage. In addition to the expected tradition, there were also surprisingly many avant-garde artists on the program, including the dance productions of the stage architect Oscar Strnad. Even a work by Arnold Schönberg was performed in 1928. During Austrofascism, a politicization was carried out, as Austria wanted to present itself as a better German state. Arturo Toscanini, who came from Bayreuth, conducted Wagner operas, which were staged by the Jewish director Lothar Wallerstein. The “1000 mark barrier” enacted by the German Reich government was directed as an economic sanction, especially against Salzburg. The festival now increasingly attracted an international audience. In 1938, the festival was ideologically reinterpreted according to the “racial theory” of the Nazis, which meant that Jews were no longer wanted and consequently expelled. In the postwar period, only a few Jewish protagonists were working as directors and performers. Many protagonists who excelled during the Nazi period, however, were able to continue their careers. These topics are the subject of the exhibition, “Everyman’s Jews: 100 Years Salzburg Festival”. Max Reinhardt, Bruno Walter, and Berta Zuckerkandl are among the most famous protagonists of Jewish origin.

At the center of the exhibition are some never-before-seen objects from the estate of Max Reinhardt and various artworks that trace the rise of the festival to the present day, as well as the lives of the various individuals, their careers, and escape routes.

Curators: Sabine Fellner / Marcus Patka

The Righteous. Courage is a matter of choice

May 19. to October 01., 2021

Heeresgeschichtliches Museum
Militärhistorisches Institut, Arsenal, Objekt 1
Ghegastraße, 1030 Vienna


Special exhibition of the Austrian Friends of Yad Vashem

The International Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem honors people who helped Jewish fellow citizens to survive or emigrate during the Nazi regime without compensation. Worldwide, such persons are awarded the honorary title “Righteous Among the Nations”. The association “The Austrian Friends of Yad Vashem” initiated a project in cooperation with the Johannes Kepler University Linz, which specifically presents the Austrian Righteous. Under the scientific direction of former University Professor Dr. Michael John and University Professor Dr. Albert Lichtblau, an exhibition was created in which the period of Nazi terror in Austria and the persecution of the Jewish population up to the Holocaust are presented and communicated.

At the center of this presentation are courageous people who often made lonely and often life-threatening decisions. How did they manage to save their Jewish fellow citizens from extermination by the Nazi henchmen?

Written in Memory

Till October 31., 2021
 9 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Reviergebäude der KZ-Gedenkstätte Mauthausen
Erinnerungsstraße 1.





Under the title “Written in Memory”, the Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial is showing 22 portraits of Holocaust survivors by the US American photo artist Jeffrey A. Wolin.

Henry Werdinger was deported from the Plaszow camp in Poland to the Mauthausen concentration camp in August 1944. He was later transferred to the Linz III subcamp and was forced to perform forced labor at what was then the Hermann Göring Works until liberation in May 1945.

“When I first photographed Henry Werdinger, the portraits didn’t do him justice,” says Jeffrey Wolin. He says he then came up with the idea of photographing Henry Werdinger standing in the water, looking out to sea. “He rolled up his pant sleeves, waded out and struck the perfect pose.”

The portrait of Henry Werdinger is part of a cycle titled “Written in Memory,” as part of which Jeffrey Wolin took photographic portraits of dozens of Holocaust survivors. In preparation, he conducted extensive interviews with each and every one of them. He then handwrote verbatim excerpts from them into the photographic portraits. The photographs combine individual faces and individual memories.

Wolin’s work bears witness to the strength of the individual as well as the resourcefulness and resilience of Holocaust survivors, from whom we can all learn an important lesson in humanity.

Jeffrey A. Wolin is professor emeritus of photography at Indiana University. His photographs have been featured in more than 100 exhibitions.

This photography exhibition is touching: The portraits show individual fates as they are millions of times behind the Holocaust, at the same time this show also radiates a lot of positive energy,” says Barbara Glück, director of the Mauthausen Memorial.

The Cold Gaze. Last pictures of Jewish families from the Tarnów ghetto.

May 5. to November 14., 2021

Haus der Geschichte Österreich
Neue Burg, Heldenplatz, 1010 Wien




With a new exhibition in the run-up to Liberation Day on May 8, the Haus der Geschichte Österreich (hdgö) is focusing on Austrian perpetrators’ histories, victims’ fates and the confrontation with Nazi responsibility.

In 1997, in the Anthropological Department of the Natural History Museum in Vienna, curator Margit Berner discovers a box labeled “Tarnow Jews 1942.” Inside are photographs of Jewish families. The photographs are part of a project to research “typical Eastern Jews” that Viennese scholars Dora Maria Kahlich and Elfriede Fliethmann undertook in March 1942 in the German-occupied southern Polish city of Tarnów. With a cold eye, they examine and photograph “racially” more than one hundred Jewish families, a total of 565 men, women and children. Of these, only 26 survive the Holocaust and can later tell about it.

In years of research, it was possible to assign names to the photos through scattered records and extensive archival research and to reconstruct the death and life paths of those portrayed. “The Cold Gaze” tells of the lives of Jews in Tarnów before 1939 and of their murder – as one example among hundreds of the persecution and extermination of Jewish communities in Poland. Central to the story, however, is the ambitious approach of the two young Austrian anthropologists, who were able to make a career for themselves due to the wartime absence of their male colleagues.

The exhibition, which was highly praised by the public and critics, was on display at the “Topography of Terror” in Berlin until April. The hdgö is showing it on the Alma Rosé Plateau of the Neue Burg: the museum has dedicated this area primarily to the Holocaust and its aftermath. On display for the first time is the original of the box in which anthropologist Dora Maria Kahlich kept the numbered photographs (see photo). The field post box with the inscription “Tarnow Jews” apparently had another use before: This is indicated by the note “Für mein Haserl” in the scientist’s handwriting – presumably referring to her husband Herbert Kahlich, who died at the front in 1944.

Further details on the exhibition: https://www.hdgoe.at/der-kalte-blick

The exhibition, created as a cooperation between the Natural History Museum Vienna, the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Topography of Terror Foundation, is being shown for the first time in Austria.

Yevgeny Khaldei. Photographer of liberation

May 12. to November 01., 2021

Jewish Museum Vienna
Judenplatz 1, 1010 Vienna

The exhibition presents works by Yevgeny Khaldei, who accompanied the Red Army as an official war reporter during the liberation of Vienna. He was experienced enough to know what photos would be regarded in Moscow as ideologically acceptable and was thus able to take the official Soviet picture the liberation of Vienna: a group of soldiers carrying machine guns with the Austrian flag fluttering in the background. The exhibition shows potent images of a decisive moment in the history of Austria.

As it advanced westward, the Red Army reached Austrian territory on March 29, 1945. The battle for Vienna ended after fierce fighting on April 13, 1945. Both sides incurred heavy losses. Even in the last hours of the war, the SS murdered Jews in Vienna. The Soviet troops were accompanied by the Jewish photographer Yevgeny Khaldei. He took exceptional photos of the street fighting, bomb ruins and, soon afterwards, the hunger and homelessness, but also the hope for a new beginning that characterized civilian life in spring 1945. Khaldei’s photos feature the sights of Vienna— St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the parliament building, Heldenplatz, Belvedere Palace, or the grave of Johann Strauss at the Central Cemetery—but always with Soviet soldiers in front of them. Khaldei’s colleague Olga Lander (1909–1996) arrived a few weeks later in Vienna and photographed the official events.

After World War II, Khaldei discovered that his entire family had been killed by the Nazis. His mother had been murdered in a pogrom when Khaldei was just one year old. The pictures by the Jewish photographers Yevgeny Khaldei and Olga Lander provide vivid testimony to these days of such vital significance in Austria’s history.

Curators: Marcus G. Patka and Erich Klein
Exhibition design: Fuhrer, Wien

Image © Collection Erich Klein

Hans Kelsen and the Elegance of the Austrian Constitution

October 1., 2020 to October 10., 2021

Jewish Museum Vienna,
Dorotheergasse 12, 1010 Vienna


In 2020 the Austrian constitution celebrates its 100th anniversary. Praised by the Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen for its ‘elegance and beauty,’ its contents are not well enough known, and the devotion to the constitution that in countries such as the USA is rare in Austria.

The important role played by the legal expert Hans Kelsen in drafting the constitution also needs to be emphasized. Born in Prague in 1881, he grew up in Vienna in a German-speaking Jewish family. His father, a chandelier manufacturer, designed the lighting for Viennese synagogues. After the collapse of the monarchy, Kelsen was commissioned by State Chancellor Karl Renner to help draft a federal constitution for the young republic. He developed what became known as the Austrian model for constitutional jurisdiction, which was emulated by countries throughout the world.

Kelsen, who was a professor at the University of Vienna from 1918 to 1930, became internationally renowned in particular for his contributions to legal and political theory. In the increasingly anti-Semitic climate of the times, his innovative ideas made him lots of enemies. He left Vienna in 1930 and after various stops in Europe ultimately emigrated in 1940 to the USA, where he lived until his death in 1973. He is regarded today as one of the most important legal scholars of the twentieth century.

On the 100th anniversary of the Austrian constitution, the exhibition pays tribute to its architect and presents his life and work. It also invites you to take a closer look at the constitution and the surprising insights and realizations it reveals.

Curator: Adina Seeger, exhibition design: Capitale Wien

Just in at M. E. Mayer – Fragments of a forgotten success story

February 08. to October 03., 2021
Jewish Museum Vienna,
Dorotheergasse 12, 1010 Vienna

“Just in yesterday at M. E. Mayer, and everyone’s already talking about it today,” wrote Anton Kuh in 1925 in a feature about a popular French perfume of the time. M. E. Mayer’s two elegant perfumeries were well known to Kuh’s readers. They were located at Lobkowitzplatz 1 and Graben 17 in the center of Vienna. The factory where the company itself made many of the soaps, creams, perfumes, powders, aftershave lotions, razors, and razor blades it sold, occupied an entire block at Pernerstorfergasse 57 in the 10th district of Vienna.

From September 1932, there was a guest book at the perfumery on Lobkowitzplatz which contained prominent entries from the likes of Carl Zuckmayer, Hugo Thimig, Ida Roland, Fritz Grünbaum, Louise Rainer, Alexander Lernet-Holenia, Franz Werfel, Nora Gregor, Jane Tilden, Alfred Jerger, Hilde Wagener, Hedy Mandl (later Lamarr). They all visited this temple of fragrances and creams. Franz Lehár even had bath salts sent to him in Bad Ischl. An album with thirty-one photos shows what the factory looked like and how it operated.

After the annexation of Austria in 1938, the perfume and beauty empire was “Aryanized.” The former owners, Theodor and Paul Mayer, sons of the founders Emilie and Max Mayer, fled from the antisemitic persecution with their families. Theodor ended up in Argentina and Paul in the USA, where he founded the soap and perfume manufacturing MEM Company. In 1950, the heirs of the two brothers, now deceased, bought back the company and continued to run it. MEM Seifen- und Parfümerie-Vertriebsgesellschaft m. b. H. was liquidated in 1978, its glory days long past. The Jewish Museum Vienna pays tribute to this popular but sadly long-forgotten Viennese company.

Curator: Andrea Winklbauer
Exhibition design: Stefan Fuhrer

Image © Wienbibliothek im Rathaus, Plakatsammlung P-228889 (detail)