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annexation austria

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  • Johann Stossier

    ID Card

    Johann was born to Catholic parents in the part of Austria known as Carinthia, where he was raised on the family farm. Johann enjoyed acting and belonged to a theater group in nearby Sankt Martin, which also happened to have a Jehovah's Witness congregation. He became a Jehovah's Witness during the late 1920s, actively preaching in the district around Sankt Martin. 1933-39: Johann continued to do missionary work for the Jehovah's Witnesses even after this was banned by the Austrian government in 1936. The…

    Johann Stossier
  • Lea Ofner-Szemere

    ID Card

    Lea was born in the city of Sombor in northeastern Yugoslavia. When she was 3 years old, her parents divorced and she moved to Vienna with her mother, who taught English and French to Austrian children. Lea enjoyed living in Vienna as a child. 1933-39: Lea returned to Sombor almost every year to visit her mother's relatives. There, she became reacquainted with her younger half-sister, Julia, and her older half-brother, Francis, and would miss them when she returned to Vienna. In 1938, the Germans annexed…

    Lea Ofner-Szemere
  • Valtr Krakauer

    ID Card

    Valtr was the fourth of six children born to Jewish parents in a small Moravian town, where his father ran a dry-goods and clothing store. The Krakauers spoke both Czech and German at home. Valtr attended German-language schools and also played soccer for the Maccabi Jewish team. After graduating from secondary school, Valtr enrolled in a fashion-design school in the city of Brno. 1933-39: In Brno, Valtr founded a factory that produced ready-made clothes. He closely followed the rise of Nazism in Germany…

    Valtr Krakauer
  • Invasion of Poland, Fall 1939


    The German invasion of Poland in the fall of 1939 triggered WWII. Learn more about key dates and events, causes, and related Holocaust history.

    Invasion of Poland, Fall 1939
  • Axis Powers in World War II


    The three principal partners in the Axis alliance were Germany, Italy, and Japan. Learn more about the Axis powers in WW2.

    Axis Powers in World War II
  • 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
  • Marie Sidi Stojka

    ID Card

    Marie belonged to a tribe of Roma ("Gypsies") called the Lowara Roma who traveled in a caravan and made a living as itinerant horse traders. The caravan spent winters in Vienna, Austria's capital, and summers in the Austrian countryside. When Marie was 18, she married Karl Stojka from the same tribe. Marie's family was Roman Catholic and her ancestors had lived in Austria for more than 200 years. 1933-39: By 1936 Marie had six children. They lived with a caravan, and were used to freedom, travel and hard…

    Tags: Austria Roma
    Marie Sidi Stojka
  • 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
  • Leo Bretholz

    ID Card

    Leo was the oldest child and only son of Polish immigrants in Vienna. His father, a tailor and amateur Yiddish actor, died of an illness in 1930 when Leo was 9. His mother supported the family by working as an embroiderer; Leo helped out by looking after his two younger sisters. They lived in one of Vienna's large Jewish districts on the east side of the Danube Canal. 1933-39: Anti-Jewish sentiment escalated after Germany annexed Austria in 1938. Jewish men, including some of Leo's uncles and neighbors,…

    Leo Bretholz
  • Alice Edelstein-Friedmann

    ID Card

    Alice, born Alice Edelstein, was the youngest of two children raised in a Jewish family in the Bohemian village of Hostoun, near Prague. Shortly after Alice was born, her father moved the family to Vienna. There, Alice's father owned a wholesale shoe business. As a child, Alice attended public school and also received a religious education. 1933-39: After graduating from business school, Alice had a hard time finding a job because of the economic depression in Austria. In 1936 her father let her work in…

    Alice Edelstein-Friedmann

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