Although we have not yet secured grants to translate most of our Austrian interviews into English (we are still looking), our German-language website is devoted to the 77 Austrian Jews we interviewed, all of which were conducted by Tanja Eckstein in Vienna.
Through these life stories and 1,400 privately-held digitized and annotated images, we can now offer a portrait of Jewish life in what was once one of the most well established and integrated Jewish communities in Europe. Until 1938, that is.
More than 175,000 Jews were living in Austria just before the Anschluss and over 110,000 managed to flee before the doors slammed shut in 1940. 65,000 Jews did not get away and were sent off to ghettos and death camps, where they were murdered.
Around 30% of our Vienna interviewees were born elsewhere, and they have brought with them a colorful collection of pictures of growing up in Czernowitz, Lemberg, Budapest and in Romanian cities. A few of our interviewees hail from rural Austria, providing us with a unique view of small town Jewish life.
Nearly every one of our Viennese interviewees survived the war by fleeing to the USSR, the UK, the US or Palestine. All returned–for a variety of reasons–in the years after. Today, the number of Jews living in Austria is estimated at around 8,000-10,000, with the vast majority living in Vienna.