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annexation austria

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  • Wilhelm Edelstein

    ID Card

    Wilhelm was the oldest of two children in a Jewish family living in the Habsburg capital of Vienna. Shortly after Wilhelm was born, World War I broke out. Because of food shortages, Wilhelm and his mother left for her hometown of Hostoun, near Prague. After the war they returned to Vienna where his father had remained to run his shoe business. As a young man, Wilhelm worked for his father. 1933-39: In March 1938 Germany annexed Austria. Soon after, the Germans arrested Wilhelm because he was a Jew dating…

    Wilhelm Edelstein
  • Josef Edelstein

    ID Card

    Josef was one of seven children born to a Jewish family in the Czechoslovakian village of Hvozdnice. After graduating from school, Josef worked as a salesman in Vienna. In 1912 he married Ida Kohn, and the couple had a son before he left to fight for Austria in World War I. After the war, they had a daughter. 1933-39: Because of the economic depression of the 1930s, it was difficult for Josef to make a living in his wholesale shoe business. In 1938 the Germans annexed Austria [the Anschluss], and soon…

    Josef Edelstein
  • League of German Girls members wave Nazi flags in Vienna


    Members of the League of German Girls wave Nazi flags in support of the German annexation of Austria. Vienna, Austria, March 1938.

    League of German Girls members wave Nazi flags in Vienna
  • Pro-Hitler propaganda in Vienna


    A streetcar decorated with swastikas passes billboards displaying Hitler's face. The billboards urge Austrians to vote "Ja" (Yes) in the upcoming plebiscite on the German annexation of Austria. Vienna, Austria, April 1938.

    Pro-Hitler propaganda in Vienna
  • Vienna - Photographs

    Media Essay

    Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, bringing approximately 200,000 additional Jews under Nazi rule. The Nazi regime quickly extended anti-Jewish legislation to Austria. At the time, the majority of Austrian Jews...

  • Liberation of Mauthausen


    The Mauthausen concentration camp was established shortly after the German annexation of Austria (1938). Prisoners in the camp were forced to perform crushing labor in a nearby stone quarry and, later, to construct subterranean tunnels for rocket assembly factories. US forces liberated the camp in May 1945. In this footage, starving survivors of the Mauthausen concentration camp eat soup and scramble for potatoes.

    Liberation of Mauthausen
  • Helen Baker Diary Entry

    Timeline Event

    March 14, 1938. On this date, Helen Baker documented what she witnessed when Germany annexed Austria. Helen and her husband Ross Baker were Americans living in Vienna.

    Helen Baker Diary Entry
  • Vienna - ID Cards

    Media Essay

    Read about the experiences of Jews who were living in Vienna during the German annexation of Austria.

  • Gregor Wohlfahrt

    ID Card

    Gregor was born in a village in the part of Austria known as Carinthia. During World War I, he served in the Austro-Hungarian army and was wounded. Raised a Catholic, Gregor and his wife became Jehovah's Witnesses during the late 1920s. Gregor supported his wife and six children by working as a farmer and quarryman. 1933-39: The Austrian government banned Jehovah's Witness missionary work in 1936. Gregor was accused of peddling without a license and briefly jailed. When Germany annexed Austria in 1938,…

    Gregor Wohlfahrt
  • Liane Reif

    ID Card

    Liane's Polish-born Jewish parents were married in Vienna, where they lived in a 14-room apartment in a middle-class neighborhood near the Danube River. Liane's father, a dentist, had his office in their home. 1933-39: After Germany annexed Austria in 1938, Liane's father was found dead, a probable suicide. In May 1939, four months before war broke out, her mother booked passage on the St. Louis, a ship bound for Cuba. But Cuban authorities turned the ship back. Along with some other refugees from the…

    Liane Reif

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