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Zentralstelle der Fuersorge Fuer Kriegsfluechtlinge

ZENTRALSTELLE DER FUERSORGE FUER KRIEGSFLUECHTLINGE

ZENTRALSTELLE DER FUERSORGE FUER KRIEGSFLUECHTLINGE (Central Agency for the Care of War Refugees), set up in Vienna in World War i by the Austrian government to assist Jewish refugees fleeing before the Russian invasion of Galicia and Bukovina. Some of them had fled out of fear of Russian atrocities, and others had been evacuated by the army, often having been forced to relinquish their possessions. About half of the refugees had been left without means. In 1915 there were 137,000 refugees in Vienna, of whom 77,000 were Jews; the rest were Poles, Ukrainians, and some Italians. Large numbers were located also in Bohemia, Moravia, and Hungary, some in camps. The Zentralstelle was financed by the Austrian government, administered by the city of Vienna and directed by the Jewish member of the Vienna council, Rudolf Schwarz-Hiller, and supported by a staff of voluntary Jewish helpers. It provided the refugees with weekly allowances (according to the size of their families), shelter, clothing, nurseries, schools, medical and legal services, and a library and reading rooms. Its work was supplemented by various Jewish organizations. Initially conceived as a temporary measure, the Zentralstelle functioned until the end of World War i, when the situation deteriorated due to the food and housing shortage and to antagonism on the part of some of the local population.

bibliography:

J. Kreppel, Juden und Judentum von heute (1925), 61–70; R. Till, Geschichte der Stadtverwaltung Wien (1957), 112.

[Hugo Knoepfmacher]

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