Fotoeins Fotografie

location bifurcation, place & home

Posts tagged ‘My Vienna’

My Vienna: Dr. Olga Ehrenhaft-Steindler, trailblazer & women’s advocate

In examining the history of the University of Vienna, I discovered Olga Ehrenhaft-Steindler was the first woman to receive a doctoral degree in physics from the university in 1903. Who was she? How did she become the first? How did society of the time view the education of young women?

I’m starting a series on women who left their mark on Vienna and Austria, and some of the traces they left behind in the Austrian capital city. With educators, inventors, writers, and scientists, my serial includes: Dr. Marietta Blau; Marianne Hainisch; Hedwig Kiesler, a.k.a. Hedy Lamarr; Dr. Lise Meitner; Dr. Gabriele Possanner; Dr. Elise Richter; and Bertha von Suttner.

Who: Dr. Olga Ehrenhaft-Steindler: b/✵ 28 Oct 1879, d/✟ 21 Dec 1933.
PhD: 1st woman with doctoral degree in physics from University of Vienna, 1903.
Educator: Early 20th-century teacher & advocate for better access to education for young women.

In late 19th-century and early 20th-century Austria and Vienna, Olga Steindler was one of countless women who faced difficulties and challenges by young women who wanted to expand their education and improve employment, all of which were viewed by society at the time as undesirable. Feminism or anything similar did not exist.

Born and raised in Vienna, Olga Steindler departed her home for Prague to complete and pass her final high-school examinations in 1899, because young women were not permitted to do so within Austria at the time. She subsequently enrolled at the University of Vienna to study physics and mathematics within the Faculty of Philosophy. Only two years earlier in 1897 had the University of Vienna finally accepted the enrolment of women, although they were initially allowed only into the Faculty of Philosophy. In 1903, Steindler became the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Vienna after successfully completing her research dissertation.

Completing qualifications for teaching at secondary (high) schools in the same year, she joined the “Athenäum” where she taught young women about experimental physics; she also taught at Vienna’s first girls’ secondary school established by Marianne Hainisch in the city’s 1st district. In 1907, she founded two new schools in Vienna: a girls’ public secondary school in the city’s 2nd district, and a business school for young women in the city’s 8th district. Steindler married her physicist colleague Dr. Felix Ehrenhaft in 1908; she became known as Dr. Olga Ehrenhaft-Steindler. She championed the cause for educating girls and young women, and creating new opportunities in science, business, and society at large. For her dedicated service to the public, Austria awarded her in 1931 the title of “Hofrat” as a new member of the imperial court advisory council, an honour uncommon among Austrian women at the time. At the age of 54, Dr. Olga Ehrenhaft-Steindler died in December 1933 from complications after having contracted pneumonia.

( Click here for images and more )

My Vienna: the Biedermeier St. Marx Cemetery

Above/featured: Spring morning at Vienna’s Biedermeier cemetery.

In Vienna’s 3rd district, the St. Marx cemetery is the only surviving Biedermeier cemetery in the city. A visit now is a jump into the frozen past. The cemetery opened with its first burial in 1784. Closure of the city’s multiple neighbourhood cemeteries began in 1873 with the final burial at St. Marx taking place in 1874. Subsequent funerary functions were transferred to the newly constructed Zentralfriedhof located farther out from the city centre. The very leafy avenues and “leafy gate” are what’s left of the city’s only remaining 18th-century cemetery that’s now open to the public as a city-administered park.

Why Biedermeier

Biedermeier in Vienna corresponds to a cultural period during the first half of the 19th-century marked by increased industrialization in rapidly urbanized areas and strict censorship with the elimination of dissenting political voices. Instead of looking outward to change, the artist and design community moved to safer spaces in nature or to their homes. While innovation might have given way to a modest yet graceful and functional style, Biedermeier architecture in its neoclassical spin provided inspiration for subsequent Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) and Secession movements. An important Viennese architect of the period was Josef Kornhäusel who designed many buildings in the city. Important music from this period was composed by, for example, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Schubert, Schumann. One of the largest collections of Viennese Biedermeier art is in the Belvedere’s collection. St. Marx cemetery is a reflection of both city and age from the 19th-century.

St. Marxer Friedhof, St. Marx cemetery, Biedermeier cemetery, 3. Bezirk, Landstrasse, Wien, Vienna, Austria, Österreich,

Cemetery’s main gate – 20 May 2022.

St. Marxer Friedhof, St. Marx cemetery, Biedermeier cemetery, 3. Bezirk, Landstrasse, Wien, Vienna, Austria, Österreich,
St. Marxer Friedhof, St. Marx cemetery, Biedermeier cemetery, 3. Bezirk, Landstrasse, Wien, Vienna, Austria, Österreich,

Information stone with visiting hours by month. Photo, 20 May 2022.

( Click here for images and more )

My Vienna: the Bohemian Prater & Europe’s oldest carousel

I’m on foot in Vienna’s Favoriten (10th district), slowly making my way uphill onto Laaer Berg. I pass apartment blocks and summer garden cottages and plots. After about 10 to 15 minutes, a clearing appears in the forest.

There’s a ferris wheel. There’s another ride with a vertical drop, some flat rides, even a small roller coaster.

The modest fairground is open on this warm late-afternoon in early-June, which means crowds are a little sparse with most kids in school and adults at work. Still, there’s a scatter of families: some with strollers, and others with young children dragging their parents to the nearest ride or closest treat.

There are spots to buy cold pop/soda, ice cream, and grilled sausage. There are also a couple of larger places for beer, wine, and typical Austrian “fare at the fair”.

And somewhere in the midst of a blaring soundtrack of top-40 and classic rock is home to Europe’s oldest carousel or merry-go-round.

( Click here for images and more )

My Vienna: Schneekugelmanufaktur, home of snow globes since 1900

Above/featured:“Greetings from Vienna.” Vienna-themed snow globes, 25- and 45mm sizes.

The five-year old boy sat transfixed, flipping the paperweight then back the other way, watching the “snow” slowly float and settle. My fascination with snow globes didn’t wane, long decades after that very first memory.

In the Austrian capital city of Vienna, I’m visiting a small shop and accompanying museum to learn about the production of the “original snow globe” whose story begins with Erwin Perzy in 1900.

Perzy who produced surgical instruments was tasked to improve the output from the recently invented electric light bulb and further brighten hospital surgery rooms. He realized that a water-filled glass sphere containing loose reflective bits could provide a solution, except that the materials kept sinking. Flakes of white semolina tended to stay afloat longer; this experiment reminded him of light snowfall. After registering an official patent for the “Schneekugel” (snow globe), Erwin and his brother Ludwig created a shop to produce and sell small snow globes whose early designs included churches. Today, the 3rd generation of the Perzy continues to produce snow globes of various sizes; what material the “snow” is and how it continues to “float” remain secret.

( Click here for images and more )

My Vienna, Judenplatz: centuries & memories of the Jewish community

Above/featured: Judenplatz at night. The Holocaust memorial is in the foreground at centre. In the background are “To the little trinity” at centre and Misrachi House (Museum Judenplatz) at right. Photo, 10 Jun 2022.

At Judenplatz are clear visual reminders of the city’s first Jewish community in medieval times.

The first Jewish community in Vienna settled around present-day Judenplatz in the Middle Ages with mention in written documents dated mid- to late-13th century AD/CE. Daily Jewish life thrived around the Or-Sarua Synagogue, the Jewish School, and the Mikveh ritual bath. The community along with the surrounding Jewish neighbourhood came to an end with the Pogrom of 1421. Catholic Habsburg Duke Albrecht II rolled out a decree (Wiener Geserah, Vienna Gesera) which legitimatized the expulsion, incarceration, torture, and murder of some 800 Jewish residents; accompanied by destruction and forced takeover of buildings and property.

Below I highlight remnants and traces to the medieval Jewish community at this square in central Vienna.

Judenplatz, Vienna, Wien, Oesterreich, Austria,

Facing northwest: B, Bohemian Chancellery; H, Holocaust Memorial; L, Lessing monument; M, Misrachi House; T, To the little Trinity. Photo, 20 May 2018.

Judenplatz, Vienna, Wien, Oesterreich, Austria,

Facing southeast: B, Bohemian Chancellery; J, Jordan House; H, Holocaust memorial; L, Lessing monument. Photo, 20 May 2018.

( Click here for images and more )

My Vienna in Heiligenstadt: Beethoven, despair in deafness, & his 6th Symphony

Above/featured: Memorial statue in Vienna’s Heiligenstadt Park; more details below.

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven spent a total of 35 years in Vienna, from 1792 with his arrival from Bonn until his death in 1827. Every summer, he would leave Vienna to stay in a country- or farm-house in Heiligenstadt which at the time was rural; a stagecoach trip from the inner city required several hours. Today, urban development and expansion have reached and overtaken the once verdant fields right up to the flanks of the city’s northern heights.

By 1802, Beethoven’s hearing loss was almost complete. With his doctor’s recommendation, Beethoven had hoped time away from the noisy city would help recover some of his healing, but after the summer had passed, his initial fears had come true: his hearing would not return. In desperation, Beethoven wrote to his brother a letter, known as the “Heiligenstadt Testament“. He never sent the letter to his brother; the letter would only be discovered 25 years later with Beethoven’s personal effects, shortly after his death in 1827.

I’m tracing out some of Beethoven’s footsteps in Heiligenstadt wrapped inside the present-day city’s 19th district of Döbling. All locations can be visited comfortably on foot in a single day. The following description is part of a larger overview of my search for Beethoven in the Austrian capital city.

( Click here for images and more )

My Vienna: Art Nouveau highlights in the capital

Above/featured: A captive audience surrounds the Gustav Klimt painting “The Kiss” in Vienna’s Upper Belvedere. Photo, 19 May 2018 (X70).

If you’re paying attention, traces of the turn-of-the-century Viennese Art Nouveau (Wiener Jugendstil) art and design movement are visible throughout the Austrian capital city.

A painting.
A sculpture.
A building.
A clock.
A church.
A building mural.
A staircase, with railings and light fixtures.
The front facade of an apartment block.
The entrance pavilion to the municipal railway.
A decorative structure marking the exit/end of a river’s diverted route underneath the city.

I provide ten visual examples below, all of which are accessible with public transport.

( Click here for images and more )

My Vienna: Shoah Wall of Names Memorial

Above/featured: Shoah Namensmauern Gedenkstätte (Holocaust Wall of Names memorial site).

I drag my fingers gently down each stone block, across the fine indentations and the print of countless names.

I give quiet voice to each name I see.

In Vienna’s 9th district is a small green space, Ostarrichi Park, in front of the Österreichische Nationalbank (Austrian National Bank). The park is home to the Shoah Namensmauern Gedenkstätte (Holocaust Wall of Names Memorial), dedicated to over 64-thousand Austrian Jews murdered during the Nazi regime. Public inauguration of the memorial occurred on 9 November 2021 on the 83rd anniversary of the Pogromnacht.

The establishment and realization of the memorial has been a lifelong project for Vienna-born Holocaust survivor Kurt Yakov Tutter, who with his family fled to Belgium in 1930. Kurt and his younger sister, Rita, survived with the help of a Belgian family; their parents were deported and murdered in Auschwitz.

He made a new home in Toronto, Canada, where in 2000 he began working to create a memorial to murdered Austrian Jews. Funding from the national Austria state emphasized the enormous significance of the historical memorial; responsibility for continuing maintenance of the memorial is now shared by the Austria National Fund and the City of Vienna.

The names of over 64-thousand children, women, and men are engraved onto 160 slabs of granite; the slabs are arranged in an oval ring. Within the open and uncovered space, visitors to the memorial can walk briskly past each vertical block, but the air is thick with names.

Selma ABZUG, geboren/born 1886
Ernst ADLER, geb./b. 1904
David ALBRECHT, geb./b. 1871
Grete ALTMANN, geb./b. 1928

Therese WEISZ, geb./b. 1867
Eva WELLISCH, geb./b. 1933
Alfred WERTHEIM, geb./b. 1920
Edmund WESTFRIED, geb./b. 1890

Audio: Mr. Tutter speaks about Austria’s very late road to dealing with the past (Vergangenheitsbewältigung) and why he created the Wall of Names project.

( Click here for images and more )

My Vienna: Aspang Station Deportation Memorial

“Well into the 1970s, the area around present-day Leon Zelman Park was the site of the Aspang Railway Station, which was built in 1880–1881 as a terminal for the regional Vienna-Aspang-Pitten rail line. Despite its relatively central location in the city’s 3rd district, the station served only regional rail traffic and was not very busy. These were likely reasons why after the “Anschluss” the Nazis chose this station for deportation transports.

Two transport trains departed in October 1939 with 1584 Jewish men deported to Nisko in the Lublin District of the General Governorate of occupied Poland as a failed attempt to create the Lublin reservation for expelled European Jews. Much larger deportations resumed from February 1941 to October 1942. 45451 Austrian-Jewish men and women were deported on a total of 45 transport trains to ghettos and extermination sites in (what are now) Czechia, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, and Latvia.

In Vienna, the cynically-named Nazi ‘Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung’ (Central Agency for Jewish Emigration) organized deportation efforts including forced captivity and assembly or collection points. Four internment stations were established in the city’s 2nd district where prisoners were abused and stripped of their possessions. For every transport, about one thousand people were driven to Aspang Station in uncovered trucks, in plain and open sight of the city’s population.

Of the 47035 Jewish men and women deported from Aspang Railway Station, only 1073 (2%) survived, according to the research by Austrian historian Jonny Moser, himself a survivor of the Holocaust/Shoah. In total, more than 65-thousand Austrian Jews fell victim; most of them began their road to their deaths at Aspang Station.”

•   Paraphrased from Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Wien (Art in public spaces Vienna).

After the war and Allied-occupation period, little was done to improve the station and its tracks. The station was closed in 1971 and the station building was demolished by 1977. The turn of the millennium provided momentum to both city and the national rail company for redevelopment of the area, including apartment blocks, green space, and a memorial. Today, the former railway station is Leon Zelman Park, named after Dr. Leon Zelman who established in 1980 the Jewish Welcome Service Vienna and led the organization until his passing in 2007. The inauguration of the deportation memorial occurred on 7 September 2017 with full opening to the public on the following day.

( Click here for images and more )

My Vienna: 22 urban frames for 2022

Above/featured: “The first Sunday.” Karlsplatz, 1st district – 15 May 2022.

Earlier in the year, I spent four weeks in Vienna, soaking in late-spring and early-summer weather in Austria’s capital city. I highlighted 3 images and scenes which in addition to time spent left personal impressions. Below, I highlight in a “last chance effort” an additional 22 visual examples of the urbanity in Wien, folding in splashes of colour, lines of focus, and accessibility to good timing.

( Click here for images and more )

%d bloggers like this: