Austria

Personalities. Movers & shakers.

Imagine stepping back in time and meeting the Jewish heroes responsible for making Jewish history. Those central figures may no longer be physically with us, but you can feel their impact and influence in every site you explore.
Begin your journey through the lives of famous Jews in history now.

Adele Bloch-Bauer (1881-1925)

Adele Bloch-Bauer was the daughter of a bank director and married the owner of a sugar factory Ferdinand Bloch. Artists, writers and politicians used to meet in her saloon. She and her husband were great supporters of Gustav Klimt´s art. Adele herself modeled for several of his paintings, the most famous amongst them is Adele Bloch-Bauer I (also called The Woman in Gold). It is considered one of the most famous of Klimt’s paintings and also of the art noveau style in Vienna. She died at the age of 44 of meningitis.

Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951)

Arnold Schönberg was an Austrian composer, music theorist and painter. He developed the twelve tone technique, which was considered one of the most influential developments in musical thought of the 20th century. In 1898 he converted to Christianity (through the Lutheran Church). Later on he moved to Berlin, and while on holidays in France, the rise of Hitler took place in Germany and he was told it was too dangerous for him to return. Before he moved to the U.S.A. he converted back to Judaism, an even that took place in a Parisian synagogue and in the presence of the painter Marc Chagal. In the U.S.A. he changed his name to Schoenberg and continued to be a successful musician until the end of his life.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

Gustav Mahler was born during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in what is now referred to as The Czech Republic. He started playing and composing music at a young age. He was a famous composer of the late romantic period and his modernistic compositions created later became famous as well. Besides having been a composer, Mahler was one of the best known conductors of his time, and an important reformer of the opera. He held several conducting posts in different operas of Europe, but the most important house wherein he was both conductor and director was the Vienna court opera. Due to his reforms and the fact that he was Jewish, he faced much hostility and thus left Vienna for the U.S.A. His health declined during his last years, and during a visit to Vienna in 1911, he died of heart complications.

Max Steiner (1888-1971)

Born in Vienna, Max Steiner was already composing music as a teenager. In 1929 he went to the U.S.A. and became a very successful composer for both theatre and film. He composed around 300 film scores, was nominated 24 times for the Oscar and won it three times. His best known film melodies are: “Gone with the Wind,” “Casablanca” and “King Kong”. He was given the title of “Father of Film Music”.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Freud was born as Sigismund Schlomo Freud, in what is today Moravia/ Czech Republic, and back then was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. He and his family moved to Vienna when he was three years old. He became a very gifted student and spoke eight languages. He was a neurologist and later on became the founder of psychoanalysis. Freud is considered to be one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century, and the theories and ideas that he developed are still important for modern psychology today. Freud had six children with his wife Martha Bernays. In 1938, he and his family had to flee Vienna and subsequently moved to England, where he died in 1939.

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942)

He was an Austrian novelist, playwright and journalist. During the 1920’s and 1930’s he was one of the most popular writers in the world. He wrote some articles for the “Neue Freie Presse” at a time when Theodor Herzl was the literary editor there, and had a warm relationship towards him. He was a pacifist and internationalist. Seeing the rise of Hitler in Germany, he left Austria in 1934, moving from England to the U.S.A. and finally to Brazil. He felt depressed by the rise of Nazism and intolerance, and this hopelessness for the future of mankind resulted in him and his wife choosing to commit suicide in 1942.

Victor Frankl (1905-1997)

Victor Frankl was both a neurologist and a psychiatrist. During WWII he was imprisoned in several concentration camps. In Theresienstadt, he worked as a doctor but later on also as a psychiatrist. He organized a unit to help camp newcomers to overcome shock and grief, and after the war he wrote his most famous book, “Man’s Search For Meaning.” He was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential therapy. He lost his parents, wife and brother during the Holocaust. Only a sister of his survived because she had immigrated to Australia in time.

 

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