Breitner, Hugo

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BREITNER, HUGO

BREITNER, HUGO (1873–1946), Austrian socialist economist. Born in Vienna, he worked as a clerk in the Landesbank, one of Vienna's leading banks, and was prominent in the bank clerks' union. Breitner became a director of the bank, but relinquished this post in 1918 to take charge of the city's finances at the invitation of the socialist municipal council. He remained in this post until 1932 when he retired due to ill health. Breitner was a government adviser during the economic crisis of 1919–22, and persuaded the Austrian government to institute a taxation policy which alleviated the tax burden of the lower classes at the expense of the rich and could provide housing for the poor. The government actually built over 60,000 cheap and comfortable homes for workers which became the model for other European cities. In 1934 Breitner was imprisoned for a time by the fascist government of Dollfuss and fled Austria for the United States shortly before the Nazis entered Austria in 1938. From 1939 to 1942 he worked and lectured on research projects at Claremont College in California. He died shortly before his planned return to Vienna.

add. bibliography:

E. Blau, The Architecture of Red Vienna (1998); W. Fritz, Der Kopf des Asiaten Breitner: Politik und Ökonomie im Roten Wien: Hugo Breitner, Leben und Werk (2000); H. Gruber, Red Vienna: Experiment in Working Class Culture 1919–1934 (1991).

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