Austria - Austrian Citizenship

Tracing my Family History in Vienna

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.

Belvedere Palace and Museum
Nik and I at the Belvedere Palace and Museum

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.

Kaiserstraße 64, Vienna
Kaiserstraße 64, Grandma’s Building in 2022
Kaiserstraße 64, Vienna
Front door of Grandma’s building in 2022

Nik and I visited the Kaiserstraße 64 in 2006 and it had less graffiti:

Kaiserstraße 64, Vienna
At my Grandmother’s Vienna building in 2006

The neighboring building at Kaiserstraße 60 looks like this today and the business space looks to be deserted or perhaps starting a gut rehab.

Kaiserstraße 60, Vienna
Kaiserstraße 60, Former site of the Klarmann Business
Site of the former Klarmann Business

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:

Hippgasse 28 and Hippgasse 30, Vienna
Hippgasse 28 and Hippgasse 30

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:

Klarmann Property 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.

Shoah Wall of Names Memorial
Shoah Wall of Names Memorial
Shoah Wall of Names Memorial
Wide View of a Stone Wall at the Shoah Wall of Names Memorial

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.

Shoah Wall of Names Memorial
Eisig Klarmann’s Engraved Name at the Shoah Wall of Names Memorial
Shoah Wall of Names Memorial
Helene Kanitz’s Engraved Name at the Shoah Wall of Names Memorial
Shoah Wall of Names Memorial
Chuwe Lopater’s Name Engraved at the Shoah Wall of Names Memorial

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.

Shoah Wall of Names Memorial
Shoah Wall of Names Memorial Plaque

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.

University of Vienna
Medical University of Vienna

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.

Memorial of Remembrance
Memorial of Remembrance at the Medical University of Vienna

My Grandmother’s Diploma from the Medical University of Vienna

Holocaust Memorial

From here we grabbed a bite to eat and then visited The Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial also known as the Nameless Library that stands in Judenplatz in the first district of Vienna.

The Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial
The Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial

Prater Amusement Park

To wrap up my family history tracing and Vienna sightseeing, we made our way to the Prater Amusement Park.

Prater Amusement Park
Prater Amusement Park 2022
Getting on the Prater Ferris Wheel in 2006

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.

Prater Amusement Park
Prater Ferris Wheel in 2022

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.

5 Comments on “Tracing my Family History in Vienna

  1. Hi Julie. Tami Sherman shared your blog, your mom, Tami and I were friends starting back at PS 131. Your grandma Trude was friends with my mom, also from Vienna, although they did not know each other day. Your grandpatents held season subscription to Metropolitan Opera and would sometimes give tix to my parents. Your mom’s Bat Mitzvah was first I ever attended and I have such fond memories of the Midland Parkway house. Oh, and I attended Shoah wall dedication, had Gedenksteine placed at Mom’s childhood home and am in process of obtaining citizenship.

  2. Julie, how lucky and blessed you are to find and see your family legacy. I am so enjoying the journey with you! Look forward to more.

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