Family Ties to Vienna
For our first trip out of Barcelona, Nik and I went to Vienna, Austria for four days, three nights to trace some of my family history and see a few sights around the city. If you’re a follower of this blog, you know my maternal Grandmother and her family hail from Vienna. Nik and I had been to Vienna once before in 2006, but this time I had a lot more family information at the ready as well as plans to visit the new Shoah Wall of Names Memorial, a memorial for the Austrian Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.
We arrived in Vienna late afternoon on a Saturday and after checking in to our hotel, we made our way to dinner and drinks (love you so much Wiener schnitzel) and took it easy for the night.
Tracking Old Family Addresses
Sunday, our first full day, began with a visit to the art museum at the Belvedere Palace. (More on our visit to the museum in the next post.) Following the museum and a quick bite to eat with an acquaintance who lives in Vienna, we started to make our way around the city to addresses I had gathered1 I had several email exchanges with someone at The National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism and was able to gather some information and documents about my grandmother. But then the National Fund began getting inundated with requests pertaining to the citizenship applications and communication stopped. About 10 days before this trip, I reached out again with a few questions and in a couple back and forth emails, I was able to confirm some family history and get the details of certain addresses I had previously come across in papers that I had. back in the fall of 2020 when I began the citizenship process, that all related in one way or another to my family.
We started at Kaiserstraße 64 and neighboring Kaiserstraße 60 in the seventh district. My grandma and her family lived at the 64 address, and her parents (my great-grandparents) owned a knitwear and clothing shop at the 60 address.
Nik and I visited the Kaiserstraße 64 in 2006 and it had less graffiti:
The neighboring building at Kaiserstraße 60 looks like this today and the business space looks to be deserted or perhaps starting a gut rehab.
Next, we walked to Hippgasse 28 and Hippgasse 30 in the 16th district, where I recently learned my great-grandfather Eisig Klarmann was partial owner to these properties. Here is what they look like today:
Through my email exchanges with The National Fund, I received copies of property notices (so-called “Vermögensanmeldungen”) that my great-grandparents completed in July 1938. All persons who were considered Jewish according to the Nuremberg Laws (Nürnberger Gesetze) of 1935 and whose gross assets exceeded 5,000.00 Reichsmark had to complete such notice:
Shoah Wall of Names Memorial
After visiting these addresses, we called it a day on tracing my family history.
Our second full day, Monday, started with a visit to the Shoah Wall of Names Memorial which opened in November 2021.
I knew great-grandpa Eisig’s name would be memorialized there, but through my recent emails with The National Fund, I learned two other relatives had their names engraved at the memorial as well: Eisig’s mother-in-law Chuwe Lopater, and sister-in-law Helene Kanitz.
It was a very moving memorial. And to think, these names only represent the Austrian Jews who were murdered. A small portion of the overall total who were murdered during World War II.
University of Vienna
After paying our respects, we made our way over to the University of Vienna Medical School area to explore where my grandparents studied medicine.
The current campus has numerous buildings, so it’s hard to know which building my grandparent’s would have studied in. I absolutely love the old architecture of the main building that greets you, pictured above.
We also came across a statue that commemorated the expelled teachers and students of the University. According to my grandmother’s diploma below she graduated in February 1938, a month before Germany annexed Austria in the Anschluss on March 12th.
Prater Amusement Park
To wrap up my family history tracing and Vienna sightseeing, we made our way to the Prater Amusement Park.
Nik and I were there in 2006 as well, but since we were there in February, not much was open so we only rode the Ferris wheel at that time. This visit, the amusement park was open and bustling. We chose to walk around and take a few pictures. I remember my grandma telling me before my 2006 trip that she and her siblings would go to this amusement park.
Overall, it was a great trip. As I previously wrote about, I wish I asked my grandmother and some of the older relatives more about their experiences. I know it couldn’t have been easy to live through and I understand it not being talked about. For anyone reading now, get as many stories as you can before it’s too late.