Not cancelled—we’ve just gone virtual!
Since you’re not coming to Vienna this summer,
let’s bring Centropa to you
About this site
In Part One, starting below, you’ll find links to films, essays on Austrian history and Vienna’s golden age.
In Part Two we'll provide you with links to films and specially created websites that deal with Kindertransport, Kristallnacht, and Centropa's personal films in which Viennese Jews will tell you of all they endured.
In Part Three, you'll find links to museums and websites and organizations in Austria that confront this country's difficult past.
In the menu bar above, you'll also find a link to a set of classroom-tested lesson plans. Just click on those links to find some great ideas presented by other teachers, and we can put you in touch with potential partenrs.
Part One: Vienna, Austria and History
Our best book on Vienna
The book we wanted everyone to read for our Summer Academy was The Hare With Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal, an English ceramic artist. Hard to believe that this is his first book, which has now been translated into 28 languages. A family memoir of what had once been one of the richest Jewish families in Europe, de Waal traces the rise and fall of the Ephrussi family, from Odessa to Paris to Vienna.
Here’s a link to a 15 minute lecture by de Waal, and we highly recommend it.
And here is an insightful book review, written by Veronica Horwell for The Guardian
Vienna and its Golden Age
At the turn of the 20th century, it seemed that whatever important was happening important in the world, it was happening in Vienna. Gustav Klimt was creating erotic, dreamy paintings. Sigmund Freud was interpreting our dreams. Gustav Mahler turned those dreams into symphonies. And in so many other fields—architecture, philosophy and literature—the world was looking to Vienna.
It all looked like a prelude. But it turned out to be an epilogue. Here are two BBC documentaries we highly recommend to our friends, to teachers and students alike
Franz Ferdinand and Sarajevo
A Must See in Vienna: the Austrian Military Museum to see the most famous car in the world. Since our teachers won’t see it this summer, let’s take you to it.
Here’s a link to the Austrian Military Museum’s webpage on that famous car, the one Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were riding in in Sarajevo on 28 June, 1914.
Here is the British historian Dan Snow’s very short video on Franz Ferdinand’s assassination.
Part Two: the Holocaust in Austria
More than 175,000 Jews lived in Vienna in 1930. In March, 1938, German troops rolled into Vienna, Adolf Hitler spoke from the balcony of the Hofburg, and hell came to Austria’s Jews.
Two personal stories from Vienna
Kurt Brodmann’s family was lucky enough to flee from Vienna and we tell his story in one of our first, and most liked, multimedia films
Leo Luster’s family did not escape Vienna. His story takes us through ghettos, concentration camps and death marches.
Although the Nazis had been making life miserable for Jewish families in Germany since taking power in 1933, there had been no large scale attacks on Jews and their institutions. Until November 9th and 10th 1938—Reichspogromnacht, when scores of synagogues were burned, Jewish shops looted, and Jewish men were beaten and sent to concentration camps.
Austria had already been subsumed into the Reich; Czechoslovakia would soon fall. In every Jewish home in these three countries, families desperately sought ways to get out—and if they couldn’t, at least to send their children away.
But who would take them? Where could they go?
Vienna, on the night of November 9, 1938:
Synagogues are being set on fire and Jewish shops destroyed throughout the city. Jews are hunted, kidnapped and murdered.
On this website you can learn about how Jewish eyewitnesses experienced the March 1938 “Anschluss” – the annexation of Austria to the German Reich – and the subsequent anti-Jewish pogroms of November 1938.
Useful websites for teachers, students & the general public
Part Three: getting to know Vienna/Facts about Austria
Since you're not coming this summer, let's share some important sites with you
Bringing Vienna to you
These are the institutes, museums and organizations we had planned to visit this summer Every one of them have excellent websites, so please scroll down and click on the links provided.
Dr Barbara Glück, director of Mauthausen, spent six months at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2014. She was invited to speak in a synagogue in Shreveport, Louisiana, and her talk was video taped. Please skip to 11:30 to begin. Her prepared remarks end at 36:30 but the question and answer period with the congregation is perhaps even more interesting.
The House of Austrian History
The House of Austrian History focuses its exhibitions on the Republic of Austria, which began life when the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy collapsed in November, 1918. Twenty years later, hundreds of thousands of Austrians deliriously welcomed the Nazis, and after the Second World War, far too many Austrians refused any responsibility for the crimes committed and the murder of over 65,000 Jews. Only slowly did Austria begin facing its past. This museum shares with us how this process is ongoing today.
The Austrian National Fund for Vicitms of National Socialism
Founded in 1995, the National Fund has now dispersed over $700 million directly to Holocaust survivors, to organizations that support them, as well as Holocaust education projects
We highly recommend this personal essay by Hannah Lessing, the General Secretary of the National Fund, “A case from the Files.”
The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute
Not associated with any other organization, the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute is the repository of Simon Wiesenthal's archive and is home to academics conducting research into the Holocaust.
Zukunftsfonds der Republik Österreich
The Future Fund of the Republic of Austria subsidizes scientific and pedagogical projects which foster tolerance and mutual understanding on the basis of a close examination of the sufferings caused by the Nazi regime on the territory of present-day Austria.
The Future Fund underwrites research, educational programs and documentary films. One of the most recent films supported by the Fund is “Tracking Edith,” which was brilliantly reviewed in The Guardian
Raiffeisen Bank International
As you might guess, large international banks carry out research in the markets they work in, and RBI is no exception. From analyzing consumer trends to reviewing recent historical developments, international banks like RBI also publish their reports. Here are three of them you might find useful.