views updated May 08 2018


VIENNA , capital of *Austria. Documentary evidence points to the first settlement of Jews in the 12th century. The first Jew known by name is *Shlom (Solomon), mintmaster and financial adviser to Duke Leopold v. The community possessed a synagogue at the time and Jews owned houses in the city. In 1196 Shlom and 15 other Jews were murdered by participants in the Third *Crusade. Under Leopold vi (1198–1230) a second synagogue was erected. Its existence is noted in 1204. In 1235 the Jew *Teka (Tecanus) is mentioned as living in Vienna; he acted as state banker for Austria, and had far-flung financial interests. A charter of privileges was granted by Emperor Frederick ii in 1238 giving the Jewish community extensive autonomy. A Jewish quarter is mentioned at the end of the century, although its origins are somewhat earlier. The oldest Jewish tombstone found dates from 1298; a Jewish cemetery is noted only in 1368, but probably dates from the second half of the 13th century. A slaughterhouse is noted in 1320.

At the close of the 13th and during the 14th centuries, the community of Vienna was recognized as the leading community of German Jewry. In the second half of the 13th century there were in the community 1,000 Jews, living in 70 houses. The influence of the "Sages of Vienna" spread far beyond the limits of the town itself and continued for many generations. Of primary importance were *Isaac b. Moses "Or Zaru'a," his son *Ḥayyim "Or Zaru'a," Avigdor b. Elijah ha-Kohen, and *Meir b. Baruch ha-Levi. At the time of the *Black Death persecutions of 1348–49, the community of Vienna was spared and even served as a refuge for Jews from other places; it developed rapidly during the reign of Rudolf iv (1339–65).

Nonetheless, toward the end of the 14th century there was growing anti-Jewish feeling among the burghers; in 1406 during the course of a fire that broke out in the synagogue, in which it was destroyed, the burghers seized the opportunity to attack Jewish homes. The need of Duke Albert v for money and the effects of the uprising by the *Hussites, combined with the hatred for the Jews among the local population, led to cruel persecutions in 1421 (the *Wiener Gesera). Many of the community's members died as martyrs; others were expelled, and the children forcibly converted. The community was destroyed and its property passed to Duke Albert.

After the persecutions some Jews nevertheless remained there illegally; in 1438 Christian physicians complained about Jews practicing medicine illegally in the city. In 1512 there were 12 Jewish families in Vienna, and a small number of Jews continued to live there during the 16th century, often faced with threats of expulsion. In 1582 a Jewish cemetery is noted. They suffered during the Thirty Years' War (1618–48) as a result of the occupation of the city by Imperial soldiers. In 1624 Emperor *Ferdinand ii confined the Jews to a ghetto situated on the site of the present-day Leopoldstadt quarter. In 1632 there were 106 houses in the ghetto, and in 1670 there were 136 houses accommodating 500 families. A document of privilege issued in 1635 authorized the inhabitants of the ghetto to circulate within the "inner town" during business hours and Jews also owned shops in other streets of the city. Some Jews at this time were merchants engaged in international trade; others were petty traders. The community of Vienna reassumed its respected position in the Jewish world. In addition to other communal institutions the Jews maintained two hospitals. Among rabbis of the renewed community were Yom Tov Lipman Heller, and Shabbetai Sheftel *Horowitz, one of the many refugees from Poland who fled the *Chmielnicki massacres of 1648.

Hatred by the townsmen of the Jews increased during the mid-17th century, fanned by the bigotry of Bishop Kollonitsch. Emperor Leopold i, influenced by the bishop as well as the religious fanaticism of his wife and sustained by the potential gains for his treasury, decided to expel the Jews from Vienna once again. Though Leo *Winkler, head of the Jewish community at the time, arranged for the intervention of Queen Christina of Sweden on behalf of the Jews it was of no avail, as was an offer to the emperor of 100,000 florins to limit the expulsion. The poorer Jews were expelled in 1669; the rest were exiled in the month of Av, 1670, and their properties taken from them. The Great Synagogue was converted into a Catholic church, the "Leopoldskirche." The Jews paid the municipality 4,000 florins to supervise the Jewish cemetery. Of the 3,000–4,000 Jews expelled some made their way to the great cities of Europe where a number succeeded in regaining their fortunes. Others settled in small towns and villages. According to the testimony of the Swedish ambassador at the time, some of the Jews took advantage of the offer to convert to Christianity so as not to be exiled.

By 1693 the financial losses to the city were sufficient to generate support for a proposal to readmit the Jews. This time, however, their number was to be much smaller, without provision for an organized community. Only the wealthy were authorized to reside in Vienna, as "tolerated subjects," in exchange for a payment of 300,000 florins and an annual tax of 10,000 florins. Prayer services were permitted to be held only in private homes. The founders of the community and its leaders in those years, as well as during the 18th century, were prominent *Court Jews, such as Samuel *Oppenheimer, Samson *Wertheimer, and Baron Diego *Aguilar. As a result of their activities, Vienna became a center for Jewish diplomatic efforts on behalf of Jews throughout the empire as well as an important center for Jewish philanthropy. In 1696 Oppenheimer regained possession of the Jewish cemetery and built a hospital for the poor next to it. The wealthy of Vienna supported the poor of Ereẓ Israel; in 1742 a fund of 22,000 florins was established for this purpose, and until 1918 the interest from this fund was distributed by the Austrian consul in Palestine (see *Hierosolymitanische Stiftung). A Sephardi community in Vienna traces its origins to 1737, and grew as a result of commerce with the Balkans.

During the 18th century the restrictions on the residence rights of the "tolerated subjects" had prevented the rapid growth of the Jewish population in Vienna. There were 452 Jews living in the city in 1752 and 520 in 1777. The Jews suffered under the restrictive legislation of *Maria Theresa (1740–80). In 1781 her son, Joseph ii, issued his *Toleranzpatent, which though attacked in Jewish circles, paved the way in some respects for later emancipation. Religious studies and sermons were delivered illegally by the scholars of the community or by rabbis who had been called upon to visit the town. By 1793 there was a Hebrew printing press in Vienna that soon became the center for Hebrew printing in Central Europe (see below). During this period the first signs of assimilation in the social and family life of the Jews of Vienna made their appearance, and there was a decline in the observance of tradition. At the time of the Congress of *Vienna in 1815 the salons of Jewish hostesses served as entertainment and meeting places for the rulers of Europe. In 1821 nine Jews of Vienna were raised to the nobility.

From the close of the 18th century, and especially during the first decades of the 19th, Vienna became a center of the *Haskalah movement. The influence and scope of the community's activities increased particularly after the annexation of *Galicia by Austria. Despite restrictions, the number of Jews in the city rapidly increased. Several Hebrew authors, including the poet and traveler Samuel Aaron *Romanelli, the philologist Judah Leib *Ben Zeev, the poet Solomon Levisohn, Meir *Letteris, etc., wrote their works in Vienna. Some of them earned their livelihood as proofreaders in the city's Hebrew press. The character of Haskalah and the literature of the Jews of Vienna was gradually Germanized. The first Jewish journalists, such as Isidor Heller, Moritz Kuh, and Zigmund Kulischer, inaugurated an era of Jewish influence on the Viennese press.

At a later period the call for religious reform was heard in Vienna. Various maskilim, including Peter Peretz Ber and Naphtali Hertz *Homberg, tried to convince the government to impose Haskalah recommendations and religious reform on the Jews. This aroused strong controversy among the Vienna community. The appointment of Isaac Noah *Mannheimer as director of the religious school in 1825 was a compromise between the supporters of reform and its opponents. In 1826 a magnificent synagogue, the Stadttempel, in which the Hebrew language and the traditional prayers were retained, was built by Josef Kornhaeusel. It was the first legal synagogue to be opened since 1671, but had to be hidden from the street because the law demanded it. The activists around Mannheimer, who founded the synagogue, were Michael Lazar Biedermann, Isak Loew Hofmann von Hofmannsthal, Heinrich Sichrovsky, and Leopold von Wertheimstein. Mannheimer and the ḥazzanSalomon *Sulzer tried to improve the decorum of the services in the new synagogue, rejected radical Reform, created the Viennese rite, and prevented a split in the community. Sulzer's Shir Ẓiyyon ("Song of Zion") became a model for many Ashkenazi synagogues throughout the world.

Jewish intellectuals were in the forefront of the revolution of 1848. The physician Adolf *Fischhof pleaded for press freedom, Ludwig August *Frankl, Moritz *Hartmann, and Ignaz *Kuranda published poems and articles and founded newspapers. The burial of the Jewish and Christian dead of the revolution together, with Mannheimer and Sulzer participating, was the first ecumenical service in Austria. Among the dead was Hermann Jellinek, the brother of Mannheimer's successor, Adolf *Jellinek. With the new constitution of 1849 the Jews gained equality before the law.

Kuranda, a member of the German National Assembly in Frankfurt and of the Vienna City Council, became president of the Jewish community in 1872. The writer, poet, and journalist Ludwig August Frankl became archivist and secretary of the Jewish community. In 1856 he traveled to Jerusalem, where he founded the Laemel School, which was financed by Elise Herz. He published his experiences in the two volumes, Nach Jerusalem.Joseph Ritter von *Wertheimer, who became the first president of the Jewish community in 1864, founded in 1830 the first general kindergarten in Vienna and in 1843 a Jewish kindergarten. He also established an orphanage for girls and a children's home and became founder and president of the Israelitische Allianz zu Wien.

During the second half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th, the Jewish population of Vienna increased as a result of immigration there by Jews from other regions of the empire, particularly Hungary, Galicia, and Bukovina. There were 3,739 Jews living in Vienna in 1846, 9,731 in 1850, and about 15,000 in 1854. After 1914 about 50,000 refugees from Galicia and Bukovina established themselves there, so that by 1923 there were 201,513 Jews living in Vienna, which had become the third largest Jewish community in Europe. In 1936 there were 176,034 Jews in Vienna (8% of the total population). The occupations of the Jews in Vienna became more variegated. Many of them entered the liberal professions: out of a total of 2,163 advocates, 1,345 were Jews, and 2,440 of the 3,268 physicians were Jews.

Before the Holocaust there were 19 temples and 63 smaller houses of prayer in Vienna. Together they had 29,200 seats. The first free-standing temple in Vienna was built in 1858 by Ludwig von Foerster in Vienna's main Jewish quarter in the Leopoldstadt district. With 2,000 seats it was the biggest temple in Vienna. In 1929 the last temple – a modern Jugendstil building – was inaugurated in the Viennese district of Hietzing. The Orthodox faction of the Jewish community had two large temples, the famous Schiffschul, built in 1864, where Jesaia Fuerst was rabbi from 1897 until 1938, and the Polnische Tempel (Polish temple) in the Leopoldsgasse with Mayer Mayersohn as rabbi from 1899 until 1937.

In 1857 Adolf Jellinek became preacher of the Leopold-staedter temple. Eight years later he became Mannheimer's successor in the Stadttempel. He avoided the term rabbi, was one of the greatest preachers of his day, and remained antagonistic to the new national movement. He published many apologetic articles in the newspaper Neuzeit, from 1861 edited by Leopold Kompert and Simon Szanto. He also edited many Midrashim and published several studies on the Kabbalah.

In 1866 Moritz *Guedemann, a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau, became rabbi of the Leopoldstaedter temple. In 1869 he became head of the bet din, and in 1894 Jellinek's successor as chief rabbi of Vienna. He was more Orthodox than his predecessors and was an open enemy of the Zionist movement. As a scholar he published a multi-volume history of Jewish education. His memoirs are stored in the Leo Baeck Institute in New York and, except for short extracts, were never published.

In 1890 the Israelitengesetz was passed, which ruled that only one Jewish community was allowed in one geographical region.

The Jewish community of Vienna had many Jewish educational, cultural, and social institutions. To name only the most important, in 1864 Adolf Jellinek founded the Beth Hamidrasch, where Isak Hirsch Weiss, Meir Friedmann, Salomon Rubin, and Sigmund Gelbhaus taught Bible, Talmud, the Shulḥan Arukh and Mishneh Torah, and Jewish history.

The rabbinical seminary, founded in 1893, was a European center for research into Jewish literature and history. It was modeled on the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau, of which its first director, Adolf Schwarz, was as a graduate. The most prominent scholars were Adolf *Buechler, David *Mueller, Victor *Aptowitzer, Z.H. *Chajes, and Samuel *Krauss.

After World War i the Zionists – most prominent among them the new Viennese chief rabbi Zwi Perez Chajes – founded several new educational institutions. Among them was the Hebrew Pedagogium, opened in 1918. It offered courses for kindergarten teachers and Hebrew teachers; its language of instruction was Hebrew. Its first director was Harry Torczyner, who moved to Berlin in 1919 to teach at the *Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums and went in 1933 to Jerusalem, where he taught at the Hebrew University under his Hebraicized name Naphtali *Tur-Sinai. His successor was Abraham Sonne. Other instructors were Salo W. *Baron, Zwi Diesendruck, and M.A. Wiesen.

In 1920 a seminary for the training of religious teachers was founded; its director was Moritz Rosenfeld. Also in 1920 a Jewish high school was opened. It was Zionist-oriented; its director was Viktor Kellner, a former teacher of the Herzliah High School in Tel Aviv. After the death of Zwi Perez Chajes the school was named after him.

In 1924 Rabbi Armand Kaminka, who also was the secretary of the Israelitische Allianz and who had taught at the Beth Hamidrasch, founded the Maimonides Institut, where the same traditional Jewish subjects were taught. Its teachers were Moses Zickier; the Vienna community rabbi Moritz Bauer; the lawyer Nissan Goldstein; Moses Horowitz, before he became rabbi of Stanislau; and Salomon Rappaport, who later became the director of the Hebrew seminary in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In 1844 a Jewish institution for the deaf and dumb was founded. It was directed by Moritz Brunner and Salomon Krenberger, but had to be closed in 1926 because of financial difficulties. In 1876 Ludwig August Frankl founded a Jewish institution for the blind. Its directors were Simon Heller (until 1923) and Siegfried Altmann, who emigrated in 1938 to New York. Both were renowned experts in the education of the blind.

In 1869 Anselm Freiherr von Rothschild financed the new building of a Jewish hospital in memory of his father (called Rothschild hospital).

In 1896 the Jewish Museum was opened. It was the first Jewish museum in the world; it was maintained by the Society for the Collection and Conservation of Jewish Art and Historic Monuments. Its curator was Jakob Bronner, who fled to Palestine in 1938. The collection of the museum was dispersed; only parts of it could be found and reconstituted after 1945. The same happened with the famous library of the Jewish community, which had about 50,000 volumes and was directed by Bernhard Muenz, the historian Bernhard *Wachstein, and after his death in 1936 by Moses Rath, the author of the Hebrew textbook Sefat Amenu.

Vienna also became a Jewish sports center; the soccer team Ha-Koah and the *Maccabi organization of Vienna were well known.

Though in the social life and the administration of the community, there was mostly strong opposition to Jewish national action, Vienna was also a center of the national awakening. Peretz *Smolenskin published *Ha-Shaḥar between 1868 and 1885 in Vienna, while Nathan *Birnbaum founded the first Jewish nationalist student association, *Kadimah, there in 1882, and preached "pre-Herzl Zionism" from 1884. It was due to Herzl that Vienna was at first the center of Zionist activities. He published the Zionist movement's organ, Die *Welt, and established the headquarters of the Zionist Executive there. The Zionist movement in Vienna gained in strength after World War i. In 1919 the Zionist Robert *Stricker was elected to the Austrian parliament, although he was not reelected in 1920. Three Zionists, Leopold Plaschkes, Jakob Ehrlich, and Bruno Pollack-Parnau, were elected to the Vienna City Council. The well-known Zionist social worker Anita *Mueller-Cohen, who set up a whole network of social institutions for thousands of Jewish refugees who had fled during World War i from Galicia and Bukovina to Vienna, was elected as the youngest member of the Vienna City Council on a non-Zionist list. The Zionists did not obtain a majority in the Jewish community until the elections of 1932, when the Zionist lawyer Desider *Friedmann became president.

After the establishment of the Austrian Corporate State (Staendestaat) in 1934 following the defeat of the Social Democrats in the Austrian Civil War, Desider Friedmann became Staatsrat (a member of the new governing body), Salomon Frankfurter Bundeskulturrat (a member of the advisory council), and Jakob Ehrlich, an appointed member of the body which replaced the democratically elected Vienna City Council.

[Yomtov Ludwig Bato /

Evelyn Adunka (2nd ed.)]

The Holocaust Period

The experience and practice in dealing with the Jews, gained in Germany since 1933, were utilized by the Nazis when they occupied Vienna in March 1938 with great harshness and brutality. In less than one year they introduced all the discriminatory laws, backed by ruthless terror and by mass arrests (usually of economic leaders and intellectuals, who were detained in special camps or sent to Dachau). These measures were accompanied by unspeakable atrocities. Vienna's chief rabbi, Dr. Israel Taglicht, who was more than 75 years old, was forced to clean the Seitenstettengasse, where the Stadttempel and the community offices were, and to stand in front of a shop with an anti-Jewish poster. He was able to immigrate to England, were he died in 1943.

The president of the community, Desider Friedmann, the vice president, Robert *Stricker, and the director, Josef Loewenherz, as well as the president of the Zionist organization, Oskar Gruenbaum, were immediately arrested. The historian of the Zionist movement, Adolf Boehm became insane, dying in prison shortly afterward. During Kristallnacht (November 9–10, 1938), 42 synagogues were destroyed, hundreds of people perished, and thousands were arrested; shops and flats were plundered by the sa and the Hitler Youth, subsequently being confiscated.

Nonetheless, the organization of immigration and the transfer of property necessitated the release of some Jewish leaders who had to form the Aeltestenrat. Aryanization was practiced by the forced sale and liquidation of thousands of enterprises; apartments had to be evacuated. Moreover, for the first time, forced emigration (legal and "illegal") was systematically organized by Eichmann's Zentralstelle fuer juedische Auswanderung. Consequently, of Vienna's 166,000 Jews (approximately 10% of the city's population) about 100,000 emigrated before the war; about 18,000 of them were later caught in other European countries; an additional 18,500 succeeded in getting out before the general ban on emigration in the fall of 1941. With the outbreak of war deportation of Austrian Jews increased, whereas previously mainly those of Polish and Czech nationality had been expelled. The first transports were sent to the notorious Nisko, in the Lublin district (October 1939). The last mass transport left in September 1942; it included many prominent people and Jewish dignitaries, who were sent to Theresienstadt, from where later they were mostly deported to Auschwitz. In November 1942 the Jewish community of Vienna was officially dissolved. The "Council of Jewish Elders," with Loewenherz at its head, continued to exist. About 800 Viennese Jews succeeded in remaining underground.

For further details and bibliography, see *Austria, Holocaust.

Postwar Period

According to the historian Jonny Moser in April 1945 there were 5,512 Jews living in Austria, who had survived as employees of the Aeltestenrat, in hiding, or in concentration and labor camps. Their number decreased due to excess of deaths over births, and emigration; the loss was soon more than compensated for by the return of several thousands of Austrian Jews, and the addition of a number of *Displaced Persons and refugees who had settled in Vienna. The population of the community reached its postwar peak in 1950 with 12,450 registered Jews, and decreased to 8,930 in 1965. It was estimated that there were at least 2,000 Jews living in Vienna who did not register with the community.

Vienna was the main transient stopping-place and the first refuge for hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees and emigrants from Eastern Europe after World War ii. This applies to the greater part of the exodus of Polish Jews in 1946 (see *Beriḥah), and, to a lesser degree, to Jews from Romania and Hungary in 1946–47, when the Rothschild Hospital of the Viennese community became the main screening station on the way to the dp camps of Germany, Austria, and Italy. It was true also for the great stream of refugees from Hungary during and after the revolt of 1956, when at least 18,000 Jewish refugees found temporary shelter in Vienna, as well as for several thousand refugees from Czechoslovakia after the Soviet invasion of 1968. Emigration to Israel from Poland, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and partly also from Romania passed through Vienna as well.

The Community was reconstituted shortly after the war, with a president appointed by the occupation authorities, but by April 1946, elections were held for the community council. As a result of these first elections, David Brill of the left-wing Unity party was elected president. In April 1948 the Unity party was defeated by a coalition of the Zionists and the non-Zionist Social Democrats (the Bund Werktaetiger Juden), and the Zionist, David Schapira, was elected president.

After two short and turbulent presidencies of the General Zionist Wolf Hertzberg and the Communist Kurt Heitler, both of them lawyers, the long era of the rule of the Social Democratic Party Bund werktaetiger Juden (Union of Working Jews) began in 1952. The lawyer Emil Maurer was elected president, but retired in 1963, and was replaced by Ernst Feldsberg, also a representative of the Bund. Akiba Eisenberg served as rabbi from 1948. The sole synagogue functioning was the old Stadttempel in the Seitenstettengasse, the only synagogue that was not destroyed on Kristallnacht on November 9–10, 1938. Though the Zionists constitute a minority, there are intensive and diversified Zionist activities. Their most important event was the transfer of the remains of Theodor Herzl, who had been buried at the Doebling cemetery in Vienna, to Jerusalem in 1949.

In the 1960s and early 1970s it was not possible for the Jewish community, for financial reasons, to rebuild its infrastructure. In 1963 an attempt to build a community center failed because of lack of funding, although the cornerstone had already been laid. A provisional room for a Jewish museum was opened in 1964 and closed after a few years; the same happened with the reading room of the library. In 1966 the Jewish community opened a youth center. In 1967 the ceremonial hall of the main Jewish cemetery was built, but the Jewish hospital was closed in 1970.

As successor to the lawyer Anton Pick, the first non-socialist president of the Vienna Jewish community – the lawyer Ivan Hacker – was elected in 1981. Two new factions of the Jewish community were founded by younger members in the 1970s and 1980s with the aim of a renewal of the Jewish community and its institutions. In 1980 the Jewish community center was opened, in 1984 the Jewish High School (the Chajesgymnasium), in 1987 a second Jewish high school by Chabad, and in 1989 the Jewish Institute of Adult Education were founded. In 1987 the furrier Paul Grosz became successor to Ivan Hacker. In 1988 the Jewish Old Age Home was enlarged and named after Maimonides. In 1963, as in 1988, the Stadttempel was renovated. In 1994 the psychological and social services center Esra was opened.

Besides the Stadttempel 14 smaller synagogues and prayer rooms existed. In 1992 the Sephardi Center with two synagogues was built. In 1993 the Vienna Jewish Museum was opened in the Palais Eskeles in the heart of the city. The old library of the Jewish community was given on permanent loan to the Jewish Museum and could thus be reopened in 1994. From the early 1990s Jewish cultural weeks, street festivals, and film and theater weeks were regularly organized.

In 1983 Chief Rabbi Akiba Eisenberg died and was succeeded by his son Paul Chaim Eisenberg, the chief rabbi as of 2006. From 1998 the real estate tycoon Ariel Muzicant was president of the community. He was the first president who was born after the Holocaust.

In the early 21st century Vienna had a small but thriving and active Jewish community that played an active part in the public and cultural life of the city. In contrast to the Austrian state, which in early 2005 was still negotiating restitution payments, the city of Vienna strongly supported the Jewish community and its many projects from the late 1970s on. In 2004 the community had 6,894 members.

[Evelyn Adunka (2nd ed.)]

Hebrew Printing

In the 16th century a number of books were published in Vienna which had some rough Hebrew lettering (from wood-blocks?): Andreas Planeus' Institutiones Grammatices Ebreae, printed by Egyd Adler, 1552; J.S. Pannonicis' De bello tureis in ferendo, printed by Hanns Singriener, 1554; and Paul Weidner's Loca praecipuo Fidei Christianae, printed by Raphael Hofhalter, 1559. Toward the end of the 18th century extensive Hebrew printing in Vienna began with the court printer Joseph Edler von Kurzbeck, who used the font of Joseph *Proops in Amsterdam. He employed Anton (later: von) Schmid (1775–1855), who chose printing instead of the priesthood. Their first production was the Mishnah (1793). In 1800 the government placed an embargo on Hebrew books printed abroad and thus gave him a near monopoly. His correctors were Joseph della Torre and the poet Samuel Romanelli (to 1799), who with Schmid printed his Alot ha-Minḥah for Charlotte Arnstein's fashionable marriage (1793). Among the works they printed were a Bible with Mendelssohn's Biur (1794–95) and David Franco-Mendes' Gemul Atalyah (1800). Schmid also issued the 24th Talmud edition (1806–11) and the Turim (1810–13) with J.L. Ben-Zeev's notes on Ḥoshen Mishpat. Besides Kurzbeck and Schmid there were other rivals and smaller firms: Joseph Hraszansky, using a Frankfurt on the Main font, opened a Hebrew department in Vienna. Among his great achievements is an edition of the Talmud (1791–97). In 1851 "J.P. Sollinger's widow" began to print Hebrew texts including a Talmud, with I.H. *Weiss as corrector (1860–73). Special mention must also be made of the Hebrew journals printed in Vienna including *Bikkurei ha-Ittim (1820/21–31), Kerem Ḥemed (1833–56), Oẓar Neḥmad (1856–63), Bikkurei Ittim (1844), Kokhevei Yiẓḥak (1845–73), and Ha-Shaḥar (1868–84/5).

[Israel O. Lehman]


Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 397–425; 2 (1968), 886–903. M. Gruenwald, Vienna (1936); idem, Samuel Oppenheim und sein Kreis (1913); S. Krauss, Die Wiener Gesera vom Jahre 1421 (1920); J.E. Scherer, Die Rechtsverhaeltnisse der Juden in den deutschoesterreichischen Laendern (1901); H. Tietze, Die Juden Wiens (1935, 19872); Aronius, Regesten, index; A.F. Pribram, Urkunden und Akten zur Geschichte der Juden in Wien (1918); L. Bato, Die Juden im alten Wien (1928); B. Wachstein, Die Inschriften des alten Judenfriedhofes in Wien, 2 vols. (1912/1917); A. Zehavi-Goldhammer, in: Arim ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, 1 (1946), 176–289; D. Kaufmann, Die letzte Vertreibung der Juden aus Wien (1889); J. Fraenkel, The Jews of Austria (1967), incl. bibl., 549–51; N.M. Gelber, in: jsos, 10 (1948), 359–96; R. Dan, in: sbb, 9 (1970), 101–5; M. Kohler, Jewish Rights at the Congresses of Vienna and Aix-la-Chapelle (1918), index; G. Wolf, Geschichte der Juden in Wien (11561876) (1876); idem, Vom ersten bis zum zweiten Tempel … (1861); I. Schwarz, Das Wiener Ghetto (1909); G. Fritsch and O. Breita, Finale und Auftakt … (1964); H. Gold, Geschichte der Juden in Wien (1966); L. Goldhammer, Die Juden Wiens (1927); M. Letteris, in: Bikkurim, 2 (1865), 20–38, 244; B. Wachstein (ed.), Die hebraeische Publizistik in Wien (1930); Ḥ.D. Friedberg, Toledot ha-Defus ha-Ivri be-Arim ha-Elleh she-be-Eiropah … (1937), 94–104. add. bibliography: E. Adunka, Die vierte Gemeinde. Die Geschichte der Wiener Juden in der Zeit von 1945 bis heute (2000); R. Beckermann (ed.), Die Mazzesinsel. Juden in der Wiener Leopoldstadt 19181938 (1984); S. Beller Vienna and the Jews 18671938. A Cultural History (1989); G. Berkley, Vienna and its Jews. The Tragedy of Success 1880s1980s (1988); B. Dalinger, Verloschene Sterne. Geschichte des juedischen Theaters in Wien (1998); idem, Quellenedition zur Geschichte des jüdischen Theaters in Wien (2003); H.P. Freidenreich, Jewish Politics in Vienna, 19181938 (1991); P. Genée, Wiener Synagogen 18251938 (1987); D. Hecht, Zwischen Feminismus und Zionismus. Anitta Mueller-Cohen. Die Biographie einer Juedin (2005); M. Heindl, R. Koblizek, 125 Jahre Rothschildspital (1998); E. Hoeflich (Moshe Ya'akov Ben-Gavriel), Tagebücher 19151927, ed. by A.A. Wallas (1999); Juedisches Wien/Jewish Vienna (2004); K. Kempter, Die Jellineks 18201955 (1998); P. Landesmann, Rabbiner aus Wien. Ihre Ausbildung, ihre religiösen und nationalen Konflikte (1997); E. Malleier, Juedische Frauen in Wien 18161938 (2003); J. Moser, Demographie der juedischen Bevoelkerung Oesterreichs 18381945 (1999); D. Rabinovici, Instanzen der Ohnmacht. Wien 19381945. Der Weg zum Judenrat (2000); D. Rechter, The Jews of Vienna and the First World War (2001); M.L. Rozenblit, The Jews of Vienna 18671914. Assimilation and Identity (1983); R.S. Wistrich, The Jews of Vienna in the Age of Franz Joseph (1990); W. Schott, Das Allgemeine österreichische israelitische Taubstummen-Institut in Wien 18441926 (1999).


views updated May 29 2018


THE THIRD REICH, 1938–1945

The trajectory of Viennese history over the course of the twentieth century follows a downward arc: in the first two decades of the century the city was a dominant political and cultural hub in Europe. Thereafter it declined in significance as a European capital. The cultural developments of Vienna's imperial era, which ended in 1918, substantially defined the city's identity and have overshadowed cultural developments of the subsequent twentieth century. As a result, post-Habsburg Vienna is sometimes described as a nostalgic museum city that showcases its own grand past. While Vienna remained the capital of Austria through the twentieth century, the political and geographic contours of the Austrian state fluctuated greatly. Vienna went from being the capital city of the Habsburg Monarchy with fifty-two million inhabitants to being the capital of the small First Republic with just six million people. From 1934 to 1938 it was the capital of an authoritarian Catholic corporate state (Ständestaat).

The city was incorporated into the Third Reich between 1938 and 1945. In 1939 Greater Vienna (Gross-Wien) became one of the seven provinces of the Ostmark, the Nazi designation for Austria. The territory of Greater Vienna was expanded threefold as surrounding small towns and Lower Austrian countryside were incorporated into the city. Vienna emerged once again as the capital of the Second Austrian Republic after 1945. When, in 1955, the Allied occupation forces left Austria, now officially neutral in the Cold War, Vienna's status as a neutral metropolis proved attractive for a number of international organizations. The city became home or host to several United Nations offices (International Atomic Energy Agency in 1956, International Development Organization in 1967) and to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1965. In 1961 the city played host to a superpower summit between John F. Kennedy (1917–1963) and Nikita Khrushchev (1894–1971) and in the 1970s to Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (SALT) talks. Vienna's twentieth-century transformation from hothouse of cultural innovation to staid diplomatic hub inspired a public relations initiative by mayor Michael Häupl's (b. 1949) office in the 1990s; ads promoting Weltstadt Wien attempted to reclaim Vienna's status as "world city."


The city has seen a slight decline in population over the past one hundred years. The 1910 census recorded 2,031,498 residents. In 1951 the city had a population of 1,616,125, and by 2001 the population had dipped to 1,550,123. The national and religious makeup of the population has shifted markedly as Austria's borders and state structure have changed. In 1910 Vienna was a microcosm of the diverse Habsburg Monarchy. While a majority of the residents were German-speaking, at least 100,000 residents spoke Czech as a first language. Eighty-seven percent of Viennese were Roman Catholic and nearly 9 percent of the population was Jewish. Hungarians, Poles, and Italians added to Vienna's reputation as a Central European melting pot. Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) famously commented on Vienna's prewar diversity, writing in Mein Kampf (1925) that a gradual "Slavicization" threatened the German character of the city. He recorded hearing a "babble of different tongues" and traced the roots of his own anti-Semitism to the streets of prewar Vienna. Hitler noted that "the visual instruction of the Viennese streets had performed inestimable services." Districts home to Orthodox Jews in traditional dress "swarmed with a people that no longer even superficially possessed any likeness to Germans" (pp. 192–193, 198–199).

After 1918 Vienna's population became more homogenous as non–German-speaking residents relocated to the successor nation-states that were founded on former Habsburg territory. Despite the anti-Semitism of the city's ruling Christian Social Party, German-speaking Jews had played important roles in the politics and culture of Vienna's fin-desiècle period. During the First Republic, the city's heterogeneous Jewish community was divided along liberal, Jewish nationalist, Socialist, and Orthodox lines, and developed various strategies for coping with increasingly overt anti-Semitism in the interwar years. In 1934 most Austrian Jews (93 percent) lived in Vienna; the vast majority of these either emigrated or were deported in the 1930s and early 1940s. Today Jews make up a fraction of the Viennese population. The opening of a permanent Jewish history museum (1996) and a Holocaust memorial at the Judenplatz (2000) have facilitated discussion about the historical experiences of Viennese Jews and the history of anti-Semitism in the city. Post-1945 immigrants to the city have included Turks and citizens from Eastern Europe and the former Yugoslavia. In 2001, 49 percent of the population was Roman Catholic, nearly 8 percent was Muslim, and 25 percent was recorded as "confessionless."


In the first two decades of the century Vienna was administratively part of the province (Land) of Lower Austria. In 1922 it became its own province and incorporated new districts on the opposite side of the Danube River. The city government is led by a mayor and a municipal council, and the municipal administration is made up of departments (Magistratsabteilungen). From 1897 to 1918 the clerically oriented Christian Social Party controlled the city government. The influential Karl Lueger (1844–1910) served as mayor until his death in 1910, and his party retained power until the end of World War I. Between 1918 and 1934, the period known as "Red Vienna," the city government was in the hands of socialists. When the Socialist Party was banned in 1934, the municipal government was taken over by the corporate Fatherland Front and later by the National Socialist Party. Since 1945 all seven of Vienna's mayors have come from the Socialist Party.


Today Vienna is made up of twenty-three districts (Bezirke). The First District sits in the center of the city and is surrounded by the Ringstrasse, a grand boulevard built on the site of the old city wall, which was dismantled in the second half of the nineteenth century. On the Ringstrasse sit many government buildings and cultural landmarks, including the parliament, the state opera, the Hofburg (a former Habsburg palace, now the site of museums and the Austrian National Library), the city hall (Rathaus), the University of Vienna, the Burgtheater, and the police headquarters. The remaining districts are arranged in a roughly circular pattern around the city center, with transportation arteries leading out as spokes. The Danube River flows southeast through the city. Traditionally, the first district housed aristocracy and the seat of government, the inner districts housed the bourgeois classes, and the outer districts were home to the growing immigrant and working classes.


During World War I the civilian population suffered shortages of most essential goods. As agricultural lands in the Austrian east (Galicia) were destroyed by fighting and imports from neighboring Hungary declined, food supplies in Vienna grew scarce. Food rationing was introduced in the fall of 1914, and by 1916 hunger and malnutrition affected large segments of the population. The city was a central hub for Habsburg military transports and many schools and other municipal buildings were converted into hospitals for wounded troops. In January 1918 labor and hunger strikes in Vienna and other Austrian cities brought the home front into near-mutiny. The Spanish influenza epidemic killed more than 3,000 residents in fall 1918. Poorer Viennese continued to rely on external food aid (primarily from the International Red Cross and Society of Friends) into 1919 and 1920. Some former imperial buildings were converted by the new socialist municipal government into children's and veterans' homes.


Around 1900 Viennese artists, scientists, architects, composers, writers, and philosophers were leaders of European cultural innovation. In his classic work Fin de Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture, the historian Carl Schorske investigated the political and cultural climate that produced the likes of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), the Zionist Theodor Herzl (1860–1904), the painter Gustav Klimt (1862–1918), and the writers of Young Vienna ( Jung-Wien), Arthur Schnitzler (1862–1931) and Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874–1929). Across artistic and scientific disciplines Schorske saw a common thread: Viennese intellectuals were reacting to the perceived end of the rational, liberal culture of the nineteenth century. In its place came the post-liberal, irrational "psychological man" of the twentieth century. While Schorske's work, published in 1980, is the starting point for study of the fin-de-siècle period, scholars have since questioned both his characterization of Austrian liberalism and his analysis of the relation between politics and culture.

In 1897 Klimt and a handful of art students formed the Vienna Secession, a group that sought to create a "new art" in reaction to the more conservative establishment of Vienna's art academy. They adopted the motto "To the age its art, to the art its freedom." Shortly thereafter, Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956) and Koloman Moser (1868–1918) founded the Vienna Workshop (Wiener Werkstätte), an arts-and-crafts association that produced household objects similar those of the art nouveau or Jugendstil style elsewhere in Europe. Influential architects of the period were Otto Wagner (1841–1918), who designed a number of Vienna's train and transit stations in the art nouveau style, and Adolph Loos (1870–1933), who eschewed ornamentation in favor of spare, functional designs. In his newspaper Die Fackel, the Viennese journalist Karl Kraus (1874–1936) wrote biting satire about the contradictions, absurdities and hypocrisy of Viennese and Austrian society in the first decades of the twentieth century.

In the decade following World War I Vienna was a center for European philosophical and scientific exploration. The Vienna Circle (Wiener Kreis), organized by the philosopher Moritz Schlick (1882–1936), developed logical positivism and theorized on the language of science, the relations among scientific disciplines, and the unity of all scientific endeavor.


The 1920s, known as the era of Red Vienna, saw massive expansion of social services and municipal housing. Implementing new real-estate taxes and rent-control laws, the socialist government of Vienna embarked on an ambitious building plan and added approximately 65,000 new housing units. Many of the housing developments, which cultivated both new privacy for the working classes (through private kitchens and living rooms) and also increased communal domesticity (shared play areas, libraries, and laundry facilities), were to become models for urban planners in other European cities. After 1947 the socialist municipal government resumed the public housing support for which it had become internationally known in the interwar period. Between 1951 and 1970 an additional 96,000 housing units were built.

But the 1920s were also a decade of political violence. The "red" city of Vienna had long been held in contempt by the clerical "black" forces of the Austrian provinces, represented by the conservative Christian Social Party. The historian Gerhard Botz counts 215 deaths and 640 seriously wounded from "political violence" in Austria between 1918 and 1933 (1983, p. 304). In 1919 and 1920 small groups of communists regularly agitated for a Soviet-style government, but they never managed to take Vienna as they had neighboring Budapest and Munich. One notorious incident of interwar street violence took place in July 1927 when members of the fascist Home Guard (Heimwehr) on trial for killing a man and child in the Burgenland town of Schattendorf were acquitted. Angry working-class demonstrators took to the streets in Vienna, the Palace of Justice was burned down, and troops fired on the crowds. Nearly one hundred demonstrators and a handful of troops were killed, and around one thousand Viennese were wounded in the ensuing violence. This crisis was part of a larger political polarization between Right and Left that marked Viennese politics in the decade after World War I. The Karl-Marx-Hof, built between 1926 and 1930, and one of the municipal government's most celebrated housing developments, was the central site of Austria's brief civil war in February 1934. More than 300 people were killed when the army and right-wing paramilitary forces battled socialists in Vienna and other Austrian cities. The socialists were defeated, the Social Democratic Party was banned, and leaders of the leftist fighters were executed. Today a plaque at the Karl-Marx-Hof commemorates this battle, placing Vienna at the center of the growing European-wide split between Right and Left in the 1930s. It reads "On 12 February 1934 Austria's workers were the first in Europe to stand courageously against fascism. They fought for freedom, democracy and the Republic." Following the civil war, Austria was for four years the capital of the corporate clerical state ruled first by Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss (1892–1934), who was assassinated in Vienna, and then by Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg (1897–1977).

THE THIRD REICH, 1938–1945

One of the moments in interwar Viennese history that would later complicate apologist claims that Austria had been the first "victim" of Nazi Germany's territorial expansion was the warm welcome that Adolf Hitler received on 2 April 1938 when he spoke on Vienna's Heldenplatz. Ninety-nine percent of the Viennese electorate voted "yes" in the 10 April plebiscite on annexation by Germany. In November 1938 Viennese synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses were attacked and burned in the events of Kristallnacht. The National Socialist Party had an extensive network of branches and cells in Vienna. At the local level 14,254 "blocs" administered the affairs of neighborhoods and apartment buildings. In February 1941 mass deportations of Viennese Jews to ghettos and concentration camps was begun; in total, around 65,000 Austrian Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.

Geographically, Nazified Greater Vienna was the second largest city in the Third Reich behind Berlin. However, despite its position as a transport hub and potential "bridge city" for German interests in southeastern Europe, the Berlin government tried to reduce the regional influence of Vienna. It was classified as a provincial city (Provinzstadt) rather than a leadership city (Führerstadt), and Hitler vowed to break Vienna's cultural hegemony in the Alpine and Danube regions by promoting Linz as a competitor.

During World War II the food and fuel supplies to Vienna were less restricted than they had been in World War I. Although it was better provisioned, the Viennese population now faced Allied air attacks. The United States began regular bombing raids on Vienna in September 1944. A police report on the mood of the people from March 1945 described "panicked fear of air attacks (the people's nerves are shot). Repeated bitter statements about the lack of any [air] defense" (Widerstand und Verfolgung, vol. 3, pp. 474–475). By war's end in April 1945, 8,769 Viennese civilians had been killed and tens of thousands left homeless in the 110 attacks that constituted the "air terror." The physical infrastructure of the city (bridges, canals, housing stock) was heavily damaged during the Battle of Vienna in April 1945, when the Red Army captured the city from the retreating German Army. The territory of Lower Austria, surrounding the capital, fell into the Soviet occupation zone. The outlying territories annexed by Greater Vienna in 1938 were eventually returned to Lower Austria. The city of Vienna itself was divided into sectors run by the Soviets, Americans, British, and French. The center of the city (I. District) was under quadripartite control, and the occupation administration changed hands monthly. One legacy of the Soviet occupation of Vienna is the towering monument to Soviet liberation, unveiled in 1949, that still stands on the Schwarzenbergplatz in the city center.


Following the Battle of Vienna the police force was very briefly under Communist control, but Socialists won in the municipal elections of November 1945, with the conservative People's Party (Volkspartei), the successor to the Christian Social Party, placing second. Despite the Allied occupation of Vienna, the new Socialist mayor Theodor Körner (1873–1957), who served from 1945 until 1951, had significant control of the day-to-day administration of the city. Rationing of food and other essentials in Vienna lasted until 1948. Between 1945 and 1955 Austria received around 1.4 billion dollars in aid from the United States, the bulk of it coming from the European Recovery Program of the Marshall Plan. The Austrian State Treaty establishing Austria as a neutral independent country was signed in Vienna's Belvedere Palace on 15 May 1955. Under mayor Franz Jonas (1899–1974), who served from 1951 to 1965, neutral Vienna began to establish itself as a diplomatic hub, home or host to the various international bodies noted above.

If the fin-de-siècle period continues to define Viennese culture, the years of World War II and the Holocaust continue to resonate in Viennese politics. A number of incidents relating to the war years have dominated politics within Vienna and have shaped international attitudes about Austria. Kurt Waldheim (b. 1918) served as United Nations Secretary General from 1972 to 1981. While he was running for president of Austria five years later as the candidate of the People's Party, records of Waldheim's wartime actions in the German-occupied Balkans surfaced. Contrary to his own account of his wartime whereabouts, Waldheim had served in a unit that committed atrocities against Yugoslav partisans and deported Jews to death camps. The fact that he was elected president even after these truths were revealed damaged Austria's reputation as a neutral bridge state during the Cold War. Some mark the "Waldheim Affair," and the public controversy it stirred, as the beginning point of Austrians' Vergangenheitsbewältingung, or "coming to terms with the past." With the rise of Jörg Haider's (b. 1950) anti-immigrant right-wing Freedom Party in the 1990s, as well as lingering court cases involving contested ownership of real estate and artworks confiscated from Jews during the Holocaust, Viennese public life is still very much preoccupied with the past.

But the past can also be profitable. At the end of the twentieth century, Vienna's third largest industry was tourism, driven by Habsburg nostalgia and the rich cultural legacy of the previous fin de siècle.

See alsoAnti-Semitism; Austria; Hitler, Adolf; Kristallnacht; Waldheim, Kurt; World War I; World War II.


Beller, Steven. Vienna and the Jews, 1867–1938: A Cultural History. Cambridge, U.K., 1989.

Bischof, Günter . Austria in the First Cold War, 1945–55: The Leverage of the Weak. Basingstoke, U.K., and New York, 1999.

Botz, Gerhard. Wien vom "Anschluss" zum Krieg: Nationalsozialistische Machtübernahme u. polit.-soziale Umgestaltung am Beispiel d. Stadt Wien 1938/39. Vienna and Munich, 1978.

——. Gewalt in der Politik: Attentate, Zusammenstösse, Putschversuche, Unruhen in Österreich 1918 bis 1938. Munich, 1983.

Boyer, John W. Culture and Political Crisis in Vienna: Christian Socialism in Power, 1897–1918. Chicago, 1995.

Bukey, Evan Burr . Hitler's Austria: Popular Sentiment in the Nazi Era, 1938–1945. Chapel Hill, N.C., 2000.

Bunzl, Matti. Symptoms of Modernity: Jews and Queers in Late-Twentieth-Century Vienna. Berkeley, Calif., and Los Angeles, 2004.

Grabovski, Ernst, and James Hardin, eds. Literature in Vienna at the Turn of the Centuries: Continuities and Discontinuities around 1900 and 2000. Rochester, N.Y., 2003.

Gruber, Helmut. Red Vienna: Experiment in Working-Class Culture, 1919–1934. New York, 1991.

Hacohen, Malachi H. "Karl Popper, the Vienna Circle, and Red Vienna." Journal of the History of Ideas 59, no. 4 (1998): 711–734.

Hagspiel, Hermann. Die Ostmark Österreich im Großdeutschen Reich 1938 bis 1945. Vienna, 1995.

Hamann, Brigitte. Hitler's Vienna: A Dictator's Apprenticeship. New York, 1999.

Healy, Maureen. Vienna and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire: Total War and Everyday Life in World War I. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 2004.

Hitler, Adolf. "Mein Kampf." In University of Chicago Readings in Western Civilization, vol. 9: Twentieth-Century Europe, edited by John W. Boyer and Jan Goldstein, 191–218. Chicago and London, 1987.

Janik, Allan, and Stephen Toulmin. Wittgenstein's Vienna. New York, 1973.

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Lauber, Wolfgang. Wien: Ein Stadtführer durch den Widerstand, 1934–1945. Vienna, 1987.

Pelinka, Anton. Austria: Out of the Shadow of the Past. Boulder, Colo., 1998.

Rotenberg, Robert. Time and Order in Metropolitan Vienna: A Seizure of Schedules. Washington, D.C., 1992.

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Steiniger, Rolf, Günter Bischof, and Michael Gehler, eds. Austria in the Twentieth Century. New Brunswick, N.J., 2002.

Widerstand und Verfolgung in Wien: 1934–1945: Eine Dokumentation. 3 vols. Vienna, 1975.

Maureen Healy


views updated May 23 2018


1789–1815: war and peace
1815–1848: biedermeier and vormÄrz
1848–1861: revolution, reaction, reform?
1861–1890: ringstrasse liberalism
1890–1914: vienna 1900

Traditionally the seat of the Habsburg dynasty and the capital of its central European territories, Vienna experienced both great development and relative decline in the nineteenth century. With a population in 1789 of roughly 200,000, Vienna was the third-largest city in Europe after London and Paris. It experienced, like most major cities, an extraordinary population boom in the period. By 1914 Vienna's population was over two million, but the city was now only fourth-largest in Europe, having been overtaken by Berlin. This was symbolic of the waning significance of Vienna as a political center, due to the checkered career of the Habsburg dynasty. It is indeed virtually impossible to disentangle Viennese history from Austrian history in general, and the name Vienna came to symbolize for the national communities of the Habsburg Monarchy not simply a city but rather the whole nexus of central power of the Habsburg state.

Vienna was not only a political and administrative but also a major economic and cultural center. It underwent dramatic modernization, especially after midcentury, even though the relative slowness of this development compared to Berlin's explosive growth gave rise to an image of Vienna as the conservative, even backward, other capital of central Europe. By 1900 it enjoyed a cultural reputation as a more old-fashioned, less avant-garde center than either Paris or Berlin, and it is only in retrospect that fin-de-siècle Vienna, the capital of a decadent multinational empire at the crossroads of so many of the positive and negative movements in the coming modern world, has come to be seen as a major center of innovation in its own right.

1789–1815: war and peace

In 1789 Vienna was still a walled city, surrounded on three sides by steep banks (on the fourth by a short stretch of the Danube River), beyond which the city's suburbs spread. Architecturally the city was dominated by the baroque. The enlightened absolutism of Joseph II's rule had liberalized Viennese cultural and intellectual life, and the city had

become the center of the German musical world. Combining both tendencies, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's hymn to (Masonic) reason, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) was premiered at Vienna's Theater auf der Wieden in September 1791. The outlook for enlightened reform was already darkening by 1789, however, and the consequences of the French Revolution, along with the deaths in quick succession of Joseph II and Leopold II, set Austria on a course by which Vienna, as seat of the Habsburgs, came to represent the ideological nemesis of the revolution.

Revolutionary opposition in Vienna itself was slight and was snuffed out ruthlessly, but Austria lost a series of wars to Revolutionary and Napoleonic France, and Vienna was occupied twice by French armies, in 1805 and 1809. On the second occasion a part of Vienna's fortifications, at the Hofburg, was razed. The cost of these lost wars had a devastating effect on Habsburg finances, leading to state bankruptcy in 1811, with long-term damage to the Austrian, and Viennese, economies.

Cultural life, however, carried on. During these bleak years Ludwig van Beethoven premiered most of his symphonies in Vienna, and the premiere of his opera Fidelio in November 1805 occurred during the French occupation, with many of the audience being French officers. Habsburg efforts after 1805 to encourage German nationalism even attracted a group of conservative German Romantic poets to the city as Germany's "capital," although the defeat of 1809 ended this project.

Count Metternich's astute diplomacy after 1809 and the defeat of the French in Russia in 1812–1813 brought about a radical reversal of Austria's, and Vienna's, fortunes by 1814. In September 1814 Vienna became the site of the congress that was to reconstruct pre-Napoleonic Europe. The Congress of Vienna was an opportunity for Austria and the Viennese to entertain the other European powers and to persuade them to see Europe Metternich's conservative way, which to a large extent they did. The congress also confirmed Vienna's reputation as a city of many amusements but not one at the vanguard of progress. The Prince de Ligne commented that: "Le congrès ne marche pas; il danse" (the congress does not walk [i.e., make progress]; it dances). The congress ended in June 1815 with a fairly durable settlement, but the comment was quite prescient about Vienna in the coming years.

1815–1848: biedermeier and vormÄrz

By the 1820s Vienna's population, including the suburbs, had risen to roughly 300,000, with surplus labor from the countryside flooding into the city's proto-industrial outskirts. Economic growth, however, lagged, and population growth was not matched by modernization of the city's infrastructure. Gas lighting was introduced in 1817 but not systematically. The Danube flooded disastrously in 1830, and the lack of an adequate water supply resulted in a cholera epidemic in 1831 and 1832. A new water supply system, built after 1835, was ineffective. A new gate was punched through the walls at the Kärntnertor, but otherwise the old city remained walled in.

The city's political life was similarly stifled. Metternich and his master, Francis I, reacting to the upheavals of the French Revolution, were determined to stop all political change, and the public sense of relief after the revolutionary crisis soon turned to a sense of stagnation. Under Metternich's "system," Austria and Vienna became watchwords throughout Europe for oppression, and although this reputation was exaggerated, the secret police and censorship system was quite well developed. Viennese intellectual life suffered as a result, and even Austria's greatest writer of the era, Franz Grillparzer, a loyal bureaucrat, was seriously affected by the censor's interventions.

Yet musical life continued to flourish. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was first performed in Vienna in 1824, and Franz Schubert produced all of his great work in the period, dying in 1828. The waltz, developed by Joseph Lanner and Johann Strauss the Elder, first became part of Viennese life. In drama, Vienna's Burgtheater under Joseph Schreyvogel became the premier German stage. Given the political and intellectual climate, the dominant style of the period was one of domestic, private, inward-looking simplicity, which came to be known as Biedermeier.

The revolutions in western Europe in 1830 and the death of Francis I in 1835 ushered in a new era of frustration with the "system" and a shift toward optimism about the possibilities of progress that came to be known in retrospect as Vormärz (Before March 1848). In popular theater the change could be seen in the succession from the fantasy plays of Ferdinand Raimund to the ribald satire of Johann Nestroy. The most obvious expression of the new approach was Eduard Bauernfeld's play Grossjährig (Of age), performed, remarkably, at the Burgtheater in 1847. This cultural shift paralleled and reflected economic and technological change in the city. In 1838 the Nordbahn, Austria's first steam railway, financed by the Rothschilds, reached Vienna, and by the 1840s Vienna was linked up to the Continental rail system; in the 1840s a proper gas distribution system was being installed. In 1847 the Austrian Academy of Sciences was founded. Vienna was, haphazardly, becoming a modern city.

1848–1861: revolution, reaction, reform?

With the population of Vienna approaching 400,000 by 1848, such incoherent improvements were not keeping pace with the basic needs of the populace. The harvest failures of 1846 and 1847 led to economic depression and near-starvation in Vienna's ever-growing lower classes. Meanwhile the Habsburg machinery of government had effectively ground to a halt and was pressed on all sides, especially in Hungary, by calls for greater autonomy and freedoms. News of revolution in France in late February 1848 led to a demonstration in Vienna on 13 March. This turned to revolt when troops fired on the crowd and to revolution when a panicked Habsburg family sacked Metternich, acceding in the days following to many of the demands of the "revolutionaries."

The revolution of 13 March 1848 marked the high point of Vienna's involvement in Austrian politics in the nineteenth century. Over the next months Vienna remained at the center of the revolution in the Austrian Empire. An elected constituent assembly, the Reichstag, met there in July. However, national divisions in the monarchy and social and ideological divisions within Vienna severely compromised the revolution. Most decisive was the failure of the revolutionaries to wrest

control of the military from the Habsburgs. After another radical revolt in Vienna in October, a Habsburg army under Prince Alfred Windischgrätz bombarded and then conquered the city. Several revolutionary leaders were executed, and the city was put under martial law until 1853.

The revolution had a detrimental effect on the city's economy, but culturally and intellectually it produced a huge outpouring of pent-up creativity, reflected in the flood of publications in the period. It is telling, however, that one of the most memorable plays of the period was Nestroy's Freiheit in Krähwinkel (Freedom in Krähwinkel), a positive but skeptical account of the revolution's dynamics, and that the most famous musical piece was Johann Strauss the Elder's Radetzkymarsch, a loyalist celebration of Habsburg victory against the Italians (and the revolution).

Under the "decreed constitution" (1849–1852), Vienna was given a Provisional Communal Ordinance on 6 March 1850. This integrated the suburbs fully into the city administration, creating a nine-district municipality that lasted until 1890. It allowed for an elected 120-man council (on a very narrow, tax-based, tri-curial franchise), which in turn elected a mayor. Theoretically, the law gave Vienna considerable autonomy, but the imposition of (neo-)absolutism in 1852 ended this. The centralist neoabsolutist regime wanted, however, to develop Vienna as a suitable capital for a modern absolutist Habsburg state. Hence it initiated in 1857 one of the most beneficial changes in Vienna's modern history: the demolition of the city walls and their replacement by a broad boulevard, the Ringstrasse (Ring Street). The collapse of the neoabsolutist regime in 1859 and 1860 led to the restitution of the 1850 ordinance in 1860, and the March 1861 municipal elections created a large liberal majority that set about modernizing Vienna in earnest.

1861–1890: ringstrasse liberalism

By 1859 Vienna had a population of over 500,000; in 1869 it reached 607,000; in 1890, 828,000. This population increase reflected Vienna's growth as an economic center, but as a political center Vienna declined in importance. The catastrophic defeat by Prussia in 1866 meant that Austria, and hence Vienna, was shut out of Germany. The Ausgleich (compromise) with Hungary in the same year also greatly reduced the range of Vienna's administrative rule, which now only extended over Cisleithania, the Austrian half of Austria-Hungary. Vienna enjoyed a much larger degree of municipal autonomy after the Reichsgemeindegesetz (Imperial Communal Law) of 1862. From 1861 it hosted the new representative assembly, the Reichsrat; after 1867, however, this was only for Cisleithania. Vienna did remain the seat of the "common" ministries (foreign, defense, and financial) of Dualist Austria-Hungary and the main residence of the emperor and court.

In the economic sphere Vienna developed spectacularly in the early liberal era of 1860 to 1873. Known as the Gründerjahre (founders' years), this period saw massive gains for Austrian entrepreneurs (hence the name), who invested much of their profits in the imperial center, especially in the new developments around the Ringstrasse. Of particular note were the many "palaces" built by Jewish financiers such as Gustav Epstein and Friedrich Schey, who, with their families, became an important part of Vienna's "second society" (the "first" being the court and high nobility).

The new liberal administration modernized major parts of Vienna's infrastructure: new banks were built for the Danube (1862–1875), a new aqueduct providing water from the Alps was finished in 1873, a large number of schools and hospitals were built, and the Central Cemetery was opened in 1874. The Ringstrasse became the site for major civic and imperial—and heavily representational—buildings, among them the twin Natural and Art History Museums, the university, the new Burgtheater; the Greek classical parliament, and the Belgian-Gothic Rathaus (city hall) among them. By the 1880s Vienna had been transformed into an exemplary modern nineteenth-century capital.

Yet by then, the German liberal hegemony in Austria no longer existed. The economic boom came to a halt in the crash of 1873, brought on by a wave of speculation surrounding Vienna's hosting of the International Exhibition that year combined with another cholera outbreak. The Liberals lost their majority in the Reichsrat in 1879 to the conservative and federalist "Iron Ring." Vienna remained a bastion of liberalism, but only because of its restrictive franchise. The emergence in the 1880s of anti-Semitic German nationalism in student and middle-class circles and the anti-Semitic Christian Social movement in the lower middle classes, together with the reconstitution of the Social Democrats in 1888 at nearby Hainburg, signaled by 1890 the approaching end of the liberal era in Viennese politics.

Culturally and intellectually this period is usually seen as relatively barren as Vienna became, in Hermann Broch's phrase, a "value vacuum." The 1860s had seen the emergence of Viennese operetta, inspired by Jacques Offenbach's works. Johann Strauss the Younger's Die Fledermaus was first performed in 1874. (His "Blue Danube" waltz appeared in 1867.) Vienna also became the home of Johannes Brahms in 1878 and remained a major center of the German musical world. In art the period was dominated by the sensual historicism of Hans Makart, whose orchestration of the Ringstrasse parade celebrating the Silver Wedding of Francis Joseph and Elisabeth in 1879 is seen by many as the epitome of the parvenu kitsch of the Ringstrasse style. At the same time, the university prospered, especially its renowned medical school, and a sophisticated press, most notably the Neue Freie Presse (founded 1864), developed to serve the emergent, sizable educated class. The results were soon evident.

1890–1914: vienna 1900

On 18 December 1890 the incorporation of Vienna's outlying suburbs was made law, effective January 1892. Vienna became a city of nineteen districts with a population of 1,365,000. Partly due to this expansion, the municipal elections of 1895 saw a shocking defeat for the Liberals by a Christian Social and German Nationalist coalition, whose platform was anti-Semitism. This was initially resisted by the Habsburg authorities, and the anti-Semites' leader, Karl Lueger, was only confirmed as mayor by the emperor Francis Joseph after much delay, in 1897. From that point on, however, the Christian Socials were able to manipulate the franchise to ensure their complete hegemony over Viennese politics. Lueger's rule was in

practice much more moderate than his rhetoric suggested, and his municipalization of the city's utilities and expansion of amenities are seen by most as contributing to a golden era in Vienna's history. Nevertheless, his anti-Semitism, though seen as opportunistic, had practical effects on city policies and cast a pall over life for Vienna's Jews, as well as encouraging the prejudices of those who were not mere opportunists, such as Adolf Hitler.

Vienna was around 1900 the central stage for Cisleithanian mass politics. From 1890 there was an annual mass march by the Social Democrats on 1 May along the Ring; in 1897 and 1898 the Badeni affair, which touched on German-Czechrelations, led to clashes in parliament and the streets; and from 1905 to 1907 there were mass demonstrations in favor of universal suffrage (passed in 1907). The national divisions of the last years of the monarchy tended, however, to see parliament stagnate and power pass from Vienna to the provincial, national centers.

Yet this was also the period in which the cultural and educational investments of previous generations came to fruition in a series of great cultural and intellectual achievements, known collectively as fin-de-siècle Vienna or "Vienna 1900." These included Freud's development of psychoanalysis; the art of Gustav Klimt and the Secession as well as of the Austrian expressionists, including Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka; the music of Gustav Mahler and the young Arnold Schoenberg; the beginnings of the philosophical Vienna Circle; Austromarxism; and major contributions in such fields as physics, physiology, economics, medicine, law, and sociology. Vienna had a flourishing literary world that comprised far more than mere "coffee-house wits" and included major writers such as Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Arthur Schnitzler, and Karl Kraus. It also developed a thriving popular mass culture, especially in operetta.

Part of this was to be expected in a city that by 1910 had a population of more than 2,031,000 and had continued to expand as the major educational and economic hub of the Dual Monarchy. In retrospect, however, the achievement of Vienna 1900, especially its very early insights into the modern world's problems, requires explanation. Some see this as a result of the alienation of liberals from power and the retreat of the next generation into the refuge of art; others have, more narrowly perhaps, pointed to the very large presence, even predominance, of Jews as creators and supporters of this culture.

Jews were not the largest minority group in Vienna: estimates put those of Czech origin as about a quarter of Vienna's quite polyglot populace before 1914, whereas Jews were by then under 10 percent of the whole. Yet the Jews were the group that became the designated "outsiders"; they also were the group that invested by far the most proportionally in secondary and higher education. This, combined with their position within Vienna's social and economic structures (heavily overrepresented in commerce and the liberal professions), as well as the alienation caused by the success of political anti-Semitism in the city, helps account for the remarkable Jewish presence in the circles of the modern culture that has made Vienna 1900 so famous. In this view, it is precisely because Jews were threatened by the developments in late Habsburg Vienna that they recognized the problems with modernity and progress that only appeared later to others and so were forced to come up with solutions that anticipated later developments elsewhere.

See alsoAustria-Hungary; Cities and Towns.


Primary Sources

Musil, Robert. The Man without Qualities. 2 vols. Translated by Sophie Wilkins. New York, 1995. Translated from Der Mann ohn Eigenschaften, edited by Adolf Frisé. 2 vols. Reinbek, Germany, 1978.

Schnitzler, Arthur. The Road to the Open. Translated by Horace Samuel, with a foreword by William M. Johnston. Evanston, Ill., 1991. Translated from Der Weg ins Freie. Frankfurt-am-Main, 1961.

Secondary Sources

Barea, Ilsa. Vienna. New York, 1966.

Beller, Steven. Vienna and the Jews, 1867–1938: A Cultural History. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 1989.

Beller, Steven, ed. Rethinking Vienna 1900. New York and Oxford, U.K., 2001.

Boyer, John W. Political Radicalism in Late Imperial Vienna. Chicago, 1981.

——. Culture and Political Crisis in Vienna. Chicago, 1995.

Broch, Hermann. Hugo von Hofmannsthal and His Time. Translated by Michael P. Steinberg. Chicago, 1984.

Csendes, Peter. Geschichte Wiens. Vienna, 1990.

Janik, Allan, and Stephen Toulmin. Wittgenstein's Vienna. Chicago, 1996.

Schorske, Carl E. Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture. London, 1980.

Spiel, Hilde. Vienna's Golden Autumn, 1866–1938. New York, 1987.

Steven Beller


views updated May 21 2018


VIENNA. From the later thirteenth century, when Vienna and its surrounding territories were claimed by the Habsburg Dynasty, until the mid-fifteenth century, the Habsburgs slowly built up the old residence of their predecessors, the Babenbergs, and the one-time Roman legionnaires' camp into a sizable city complete with a church dedicated to Saint Stephen as well as a university and a castle residence built next to one of the old Roman roads leading to this important Danube River crossing. By 1500 the city may have had a population of approximately twenty to thirty thousand.

For some time during the fifteenth century, the Styrian branch of the Habsburg Dynasty held the upper hand among the Habsburg relations in central Europe, and their city, Wiener Neustadt, was the preferred residence of many of the Austrian dukes, including the important Habsburg Duke Frederick who was crowned Holy Roman emperor in Rome by Pope Nicholas V in 1452 and ruled until 1493. The emperor was able to achieve the long-standing Habsburg goal of elevating their church in Vienna, St. Stephen's, to episcopal status through papal permission in 1469. (The rival residence city of Wiener Neustadt was similarly honored in the same year.) Now Vienna would be not only a trading city, university town, and sometime archducal residence. It was the center of a modest ecclesiastical jurisdiction as well, one which often unhappily shared religious responsibilities with its much more powerful neighbor, the Diocese of Passau, which also had administrative offices in Vienna.

For Vienna, the later fifteenth century meant a change in regimes: renewed claims over this area by the kings of Hungary led to an occupation of the city by the Hungarian King Mathias I ("Corvinus") Hunyadi beginning in 1485. King Mathias died in the city in 1490. The turbulent and multifaceted relationship with Hungary is an important aspect of Viennese history in this period.

The city on the Danube was again brought under Habsburg control through the efforts of Emperor Frederick's son, Archduke and later Emperor Maximilian I (ruled 14931519), who spent much of his time arranging Western marriages and residing in the Habsburg city of Innsbruck in Tyrol, among many other locations. For some time, the exact position of Vienna in the Habsburgs' plans was unclear. The Iberian and Burgundian inheritances engineered by Maximilian necessarily meant that the dynasty's representatives were more tied to cities such as Ghent or kingdoms such as Castile than to the rather forgotten city on the Danube River.

When Maximilian's grandson and younger brother of Emperor Charles V, the Spanish-born Archduke Ferdinand (who ruled 15581564 as Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I) chose Vienna as his residence, the city fathers had already established a local regime with its own sense of autonomy. In the 1520s this urban regime was harshly suppressed by the archduke and his officials, and the city administration was reorganized under stricter dynastic control. Ferdinand had arrived in the city with a sizable retinue of Iberian nobles, military personnel, and other assorted hangers-on, and the Spanish-speaking community in the city and at the court endured at various levels for two centuries, reflecting the resident rulers' close ties to their dynastic kin in the West.

One of the pivotal years for the history of early modern Vienna was 1529, when Ottoman troops besieged the city, following on their successful campaigns of the previous years, which had succeeded in defeating the Hungarians and in advancing the Ottomans' control well into that nearby kingdom. The siege was successfully resisted, but the results of the destruction in the suburbs and the economic dislocation the siege had brought lasted for much of the century. The economic foundations of many of the city's religious houses, which controlled properties outside of the old city walls, for example, were wrecked, and this, together with the increasing popularity of the teachings of Martin Luther and his followers, made the culture of the city increasingly Protestant, much to the dismay of Archduke Ferdinand, who resided in the Hofburg, the fortified Habsburg residence in the city.

Following the extinction of the Hungarian ruling dynasty in 1526, Habsburg claims to the Hungarian crown meant that Vienna maintained a certain dynastic importance because it was located so near to Bratislava, the newly relocated capital of Hungary, just down the Danube River. Military operations in the Hungarian kingdom were planned and administered from Vienna, even while the Habsburg rulers themselves increasingly gave in to the allures of Vienna's long-time rival, Prague, as their preferred place of residence. (Ferdinand and his two successors as Holy Roman emperor, Maximilian II and Rudolf II, were all buried in St. Vitus's cathedral in that Bohemian capital.) Ferdinand's grandson, the emperor Rudolf II (ruled 15761612), officially moved his residence up to the castle in Prague in the 1580s, leaving his brother Archduke Ernst and his sister Archduchess Elisabeth, the widowed queen of France, to reside in Vienna and attempt to regulate the increasingly unruly and Lutheran city population.

Conflicts over the Habsburg succession in Bohemia and Hungary eventually degenerated into the Thirty Years' War (16181648), but they had little direct effect on Vienna. For the most part, the fighting took place well away from the city, although in its earliest stages in late 1618 and early 1619, enemy troops reached the city's vicinity, as did Swedish troops in 1645. The continued rather uncertain status of Vienna in its rulers' imaginations was reflected in the decision of Emperor Ferdinand II (ruled 16201637) to return to his ancestral homeland, Styria, to be buried in 1637.

The true blossoming of Vienna as the baroque capital of central Europe and the undisputed capital of the Habsburg Dynasty came only later, in the eighteenth century. The city was once again besieged by Ottoman troops in 1683 and once again successfully withstood their attacks, with the help of King John III Sobieski of Poland. Unlike the aftermath of 1529, however, subsequent Habsburg military campaigns pushed the Ottoman frontier well into Hungary and farther to the southeast. Vienna changed in character from a border fortress to a centrally located administrative and trading center, well located on the Danube for trading downstream with the newly conquered Hungarian territories. The Habsburgs' loss of their Iberian inheritance through the War of the Spanish Succession (17011714), as well as their earlier setbacks in the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years' War, combined to redirect the dynasts' attention toward the south and east. Vienna was well situated to benefit from this reorientation.

The alliance of the Habsburgs and their supporters with a reinvigorated Roman Catholicism during the Counter-Reformation also provided an ideology and a cultural program that were physically reflected in the triumphant, new post-1683 city. New convents and monasteries abounded, and a much more extensive (although less militarily effective) wall (the 1704 Linienwall ) was constructed. Noble palaces and Habsburg summer residences were constructed outside the confines of the walls as well, reflecting a new optimism and sense of security that would only be challenged when Napoleon's troops neared the city in the early nineteenth century. Vienna was now the capital of one of Europe's most important powers. It remained so until the demise of that power in the early twentieth century.

See also Austria ; Ferdinand I (Holy Roman Empire) ; Ferdinand II (Holy Roman Empire) ; Frederick III (Holy Roman Empire) ; Habsburg Dynasty: Austria ; Holy Roman Empire ; Hungary ; Maximilian I (Holy Roman Empire) ; Prague ; Rudolf II (Holy Roman Empire) ; Vienna, Sieges of .


Barker, Thomas Mack. Double Eagle and Crescent: Vienna's Second Turkish Siege and its Historical Setting. Albany, N.Y., 1967.

Csendes, Peter. Historical Dictionary of Vienna. Lanham, Md., 1999.

Lorenz, Hellmut. "The Imperial Hofburg: The Theory and Practice of Architectural Representation in Baroque Vienna." In State and Society in Early Modern Austria, edited by Charles W. Ingrao. West Lafayette, Ind., 1994.

Spielman, John P. The City and the Crown: Vienna and the Imperial Court, 16001740. West Lafayette, Ind., 1993.

Weigl, Andreas, ed. Wien im Dreißigjährigen Krieg: Bevölkerung, Gesellschaft, Kultur, Konfession. Vienna, 2001.

Joseph F. Patrouch


views updated May 23 2018


The Austrian city of Vienna was more influential during the Renaissance as a center of learning than as a showcase of the visual arts. Its artistic and architectural significance lagged behind its political importance as the chief city, and sometimes official residence, of the Habsburgs who ruled the Holy Roman Empire*.

In the 1400s and early 1500s, Habsburg rulers undertook few major building projects in Vienna. Some had little interest in the city; others spent most of their time in other parts of the realm. Emperor Rudolf II, an important patron* of Renaissance humanism* and painting, established his court in Prague rather than Vienna.

Emperor Ferdinand I did some remodeling of the Hofburg palace in Vienna, and he built a graceful building on the palace grounds that was to be a residence for his oldest son, the future emperor Maximilian II. For his part, Maximilian II began several ambitious building projects, but completed little. Aside from some modest decorative features that reflected Renaissance style, Vienna remained a medieval* walled city.

Vienna also lacked wealthy citizens who could support Renaissance art and architecture. The city had been a trading center in the Middle Ages, but it no longer attracted much commerce. European trade patterns had shifted west, largely because of the threat of expansion by the Ottoman Turks* into southeastern Europe. As a result, instead of graceful Renaissance buildings, the city saw the expansion of defensive fortifications.

Although Vienna did not become a center of Renaissance art, it played a significant role in the new Renaissance learning. Its university, founded in 1365, was the second oldest in central Europe and attracted major scholars. Important work took place there in the natural sciences and in the development of instruments of measurement. Studies by university scholars on eclipses and calendars proved to be of great value to navigators of the time, such as Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus.

Vienna and its Habsburg rulers welcomed humanist writers and scholars. In 1497 Emperor Maximilian I established a special position at the university for Conrad Celtis, the German poet. Celtis formed a literary society and brought various talented friends and students to Vienna. All of these individuals were greatly influenced by Nicholas of Cusa, one of the leading philosophers and religious writers of the period.

Vienna became a major center of musical and theatrical life as well. Maximilian I hired some of the most prominent musicians and composers of the age for his court chapel, and his successors carried on this tradition. Maximilian was also an enthusiastic patron of the theater. Lavish productions of plays by ancient Greek and Roman writers were performed regularly, many with music, dance, and elaborate costumes. During the 1500s Catholic and Protestant groups used drama to bring the message of moral reform to Vienna's citizens, presenting biblical stories with local twists.

(See alsoArchitecture; Austria; German Language and Literature. )

* Holy Roman Empire

political body in central Europe composed of several states; existed until 1806

* patron

supporter or financial sponsor of an artist or writer

* humanism

Renaissance cultural movement promoting the study of the humanities (the languages, literature, and history of ancient Greece and Rome) as a guide to living

* medieval

referring to the Middle Ages, a period that began around a.d. 400 and ended around 1400 in Italy and 1500 in the rest of Europe

* Ottoman Turks

Islamic people who founded the Ottoman Empire in the 1300s; the empire eventually included large areas of eastern Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa


views updated May 18 2018

Vienna (Wien) Capital of Austria, on the River Danube. Vienna became an important town under the Romans, but after their withdrawal in the 5th century it fell to a succession of invaders from e Europe. The first Habsburg ruler was installed in 1276, and the city was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire from 1558 to 1806. Occupied by the French during the Napoleonic Wars, it was later chosen as the site of the Congress of Vienna. As the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was the cultural and social centre of 19th-century Europe under Emperor Franz Joseph. It suffered economic and political collapse following the defeat of the Central Powers in World War I. After World War 2, it was occupied (1945–55) by joint Soviet-Western forces. Vienna's historical buildings include the 12th-century St Stephen's Cathedral, the Schönbrunn (royal summer palace), and the Hofburg (a former residence of the Habsburgs). Industries: chemicals, textiles, furniture, clothing. Vienna is the world's third-largest German-speaking city (after Berlin and Hamburg). Pop. (2001) 1,562,676.

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