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Beginner's Guide to Austrian-Jewish Genealogy

by E. Randol Schoenberg
randols@bslaw.net

7/30/2011

       The first task of anyone researching his or her "Austrian" ancestors is to determine from where in the vast Austro-Hungarian Empire the ancestors originated.  For example, a U.S. census entry from 1880 may indicate the nationality as Austrian, but this could mean any number of cities that are now located in Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia or Bosnia.  This article concerns only research in what is now Austria, meaning primarily the city of Vienna, which until 1938 was home to about 180,000 Jews, most of whom came from families who had emigrated from other parts of the empire in the previous 150 years.  If successful, your research of Austrian records should lead you to an ancestral town in one of the other parts of the Austro-Hungarian empire.  

        I also highly recommended that you visit the Austria-Czech SIG home page and subscribe to the e-mail list to learn more about Austrian- and Czech-Jewish genealogy.  JewishGen's Austria-Czech Database will allow you to search for surnames or towns.  The results from JewishGen's Family Finder can help you locate other researchers with similar interests.  The JewishGen SIG Lists Archive allows you to search postings to the Austria-Czech mailing list, which are a treasure trove of information accumulated over the years.  For specific information about Czech-Jewish genealogy, see also Getting Started With Czech-Jewish Genealogy.

Table of Contents:

 I.   Jewish Birth Death and Marriage Records
       A.  Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien
       B.  Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv
       C.  LDS Church FHL
II.   Cemetery Records
III.  Obituaries
IV.  Household Registration Records

V.  Fremdenkartei
VI.  Conversions and Resignations
VII.   Other Records

       A.  Dokumentationsarchiv des Österreichischen Widerstandes
       B.  Oesterreichisches Staatsarchiv
       C.  Kriegsarchiv
       D.  Austrian Heraldic-Genealogical Society "Adler"
       E.  Austrian National Library
       F.  Holocaust Victims´ Information and Support Center
       G.  Nationalfonds der Republik Österreich für Opfer des Nationalsozialismus
       H.  Postsparkasse Report
        I.  Historikerkommission
       J.  Institute for the History of the Jews in Austria
       K.  Jewish Welcome Service
VIII.   Jewish Communities in Austria
IX.  Internet and Other Resources
 
I. Jewish Birth Death and Marriage Records

       A.  Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien

       Most of the record books ("Matriken") of Jewish births, marriages and deaths in Vienna from the early 1800s to 1938 have survived and are owned by the Jewish Community of Vienna.  These record books are located at the headquarters of the Vienna Jewish Community, located next to the only surviving synagogue in the center of Vienna's first district.  Inquiries are handled by Wolf-Erich Eckstein in the Department of Records.  He has short visiting hours, usually in the afternoons, and his office is closed during holidays and at times during the summer.  Inquiries by mail are permissible, but do not expect a quick response.  If you write, make sure to provide as much detail as possible.
Wolf-Erich-Eckstein
Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien
Matrikelamt
Seitenstettengasse 4
A-1010 Vienna, Austria
tel: +43 (1)  531-04172
fax: +43 (1) 531-04179
e-mail: w.eckstein@ikg-wien.at 
home page: http://www.ikg-wien.at/?page_id=799
        An index of the IKG birth, marriage and death records is searchable at http://www.genteam.at .   The records can be found using the "Overall Search" or by searching in "Vienna:Jewish Community".  The latter is often preferable because you can limit to just birth, death or marriage records and the results for birth records will show the parents.

        Some marriage records have been scanned and are viewable from http://www.grave-pictures.at

        Apart from Vienna, there are the following other active Jewish communities in Austria:  Graz (Synagogenplatz 1), Baden (Grabengasse 14), Innsbruck (Sillgasse 15), Linz (Bethlehemstraße 26), and Salzburg (Lasserstraße 8).

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       B.  Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv

       Duplicate versions of the Viennese Jewish Matriken have been microfilmed. The IKG's holdings and the microfilms are not identical.  See http://web.archive.org/web/20020811051513/http://ihff.nwy.at/wj.htm for a comparison.  The microfilms are available in Vienna at the Gasometer in the Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv.  The Gasometer archive has long opening hours and is often more convenient than the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde. 

Magistrat der Stadt Wien
Magistratsabteilung 8
Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv
Gasometer D, Wien 11, Guglgasse 14
postal address: Rathaus, A-1082 Vienna
Tel.: +43-1-4000-84815 
Fax: +43-1-4000-7238 
e-mail: POST@m08.magwien.gv.at
home page: http://www.wien.gv.at/kultur/archiv/

      For civil marriage records (from 1870), birth records (from 1868) and death records (from 1872) of persons who did not belong to a religious community (including many mixed marriages and their children), contact:
Magistrat der Stadt Wien, MA 61 Zivilmatrik
Rathaus Stiege 8
Parterre
Zimmer 17 C 1
1010  Wien
Österreich
phone: +43 1 4000 - 0 (you will be connected)
Opening hours: Mo - Fr 8:00 - 12:00 Uhr
e-mail: post@m61.magwien.gv.at
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       C.  LDS Church FHL

       The Mormon Church, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or "LDS", makes the microfilm of the duplicate versions of the Vienna Jewish Matriken available through its Family History Library ("FHL") in Salt Lake City.  FHL branches are open to the public and are located throughout the world.  For most people, this is the most convenient method of researching with the Vienna Jewish Matriken.  Contact your local LDS church for more information.  See http://www.familysearch.org/Search/searchfhc2.asp to find the FHL nearest to your home.  The microfilms are indexed on the FHL Locality Microfiche under "Austria, Niederoesterreich, Wien -- Jewish Records."  If the local FHL does not own copies already, it will order them from Salt Lake City for a very nominal fee.  The staff are always extremely helpful and you do not need to be a member of the church to use the library.  The church also does not proselytize in the library.

       The FHL also has birth, marriage and death records from the early 19th century to 1895 for the following Jewish communities in the Burgenland:  Frauenkirchen, Eisenstadt, Gattendorf, Lackenbach, Kittsee, Güssing, Rechnitz, Stadt Schlaining, Deutsch Kreuz, Kobersdorf and also St. Pölten.  There are also some civil records available at the FHL between 1895 and 1921.

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II.  Cemetery Records

       The main Jewish cemeteries in Vienna are located at the Vienna Zentralfriedhof.  The old cemetery can be found at the First Gate (I. Tor).  More recent burials are located at the Fourth Gate (4. Tor). 

        The mailing address for the Jewish Cemetery at the Zentralfriedhof is:
      Zentralfriedhof  4. Tor
      Simmeringer Hauptstraße 224
      A-1110 Vienna, Austria
        In 2003, access to the Austrian Jewish cemetery databases became available over the Internet.  The IKG database has 153,622 entries for people deceased prior to May 5, 1945 and is accessible from http://friedhof.ikg-wien.at/search.asp?lang=en (English) or http://friedhof.ikg-wien.at/search.asp?lang=de (German).   The database allows you to see all the people burried in a particular grave, so it is useful for determining names of relatives of the deceased.

        A version of the Austrian Jewish cemetery database is also searchable on JewishGen at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/AustriaCzech/

        At Traude Triebel's website http://www.grave-pictures.at, you can find thousands of images of graves from cemeteries all over Austria.  The search field is not easy to find.  After registering, click on one of the "Random Images" on the lower left.  On the resulting screen you can click "Search" on the right where it says "Home Search Profile".  This search menu will allow you to search the grave pictures, obituary notices and marriage records in the database.

        Non-Jewish cemeteries in Vienna can be searched at http://www.friedhoefewien.at/fhw/ep/programView.do/channelId/-22839/programId/21894/pageTypeId/13576. 

        The International Jewish Cemetery Project  has descriptions of Austrian Jewish Cemeteries

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III. Obituaries
   
         Jewish families in Austria frequently put obituary notices in the local newspapers, such as the Neue Freie Presse or Neues Wiener Tageblatt.  The notices often contain names of all family members (also parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws, etc.).  To find family in Budapest search in the Pester Lloyd.  For Prague, search the Prager Tagblatt.  You can view all these newspapers online from http://anno.onb.ac.at/  

        Many of the obituary notices have been extracted and are searchable from http://www.genteam.at or http://www.grave-pictures.at or http://www.genealogyindexer.org.  Each database has different features and advantages.  To be thorough, search all three.

        Felix Gundacker's GenTeam database is the most extensive, but can be searched only by the name of the deceased (not the names of any others mentioned in the obituary notice).  GenTeam also has a database of Memorial Cards, which were unpublished notices mailed to friends and relatives of the deceased.

        For Logan Kleinwaks' Genealogy Indexer,  append "{h21}" to the search to limit results to the obituary notices.  The collection there was created by Peter Rohel for his extensive collection of trees, including 45,000 names.  The obituary notices are often (not always) indexed by the names of everyone mentioned in the notice, including both first and last names.  This makes a search in this database especially useful for establishing connections between families.  Rohel's data is presently being migrated to http://www.geni.com.  

        Traude Triebel's collection on Grave-Pictures allows users to append further information to the image of the obituary notice.  The text of the notice can therefore be transcribed and becomes searchable in the database.  See search tips under Cemeteries.


IV. Household Registration Records

       In Vienna as well as in other cities and countries in Continental Europe it is even today mandatory for all residents to register with the police.  In Vienna the Wiener Stadt aund Landesarchiv (Magistratsabteilung 8) has registrations up to 1948.  The Zentralmeldeamt der Bundespolizeidirektion Wien, 1092 Wien, Rossauerlaende 5 has the registrations after 1948.  There may be a fee for a search at these institutions.  

       The Mormon FHL has a huge collection of Vienna Household Registration Records on microfilm.  Click here to read Peter Lowe's excellent description of these films.  The films are indexed only on the FHL microfiche under  "Austria, Niederoesterreich, Wien, Population."  (NB: It is not shown in the FHL CD-ROM catalog or in on-line FamilySearch catalog).  Described as follows:  Title: Polizeiliches Meldeamt.  Meldezettel (Household or Population Registration), covers the period of about 1890-1924.  The records are on 2,661 rolls of microfilm.  The registration was recorded on individual cards that includes NAMES of husband, wife, children, Character/Occupation, Birthdate or Age, Birthplace, Religion, marital status, current and previous places of Residence, and Departure date (includes death) and place.  The films are listed by male and then female. The films are labeled by the first surname (maybe) on the film.  The filing order is described on the FHL microfiche (sort of a special Soundex) but it's not easy.

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V. Fremdenkartei

       The Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv (see section I.B. above) has records of all immigrants to Vienna between 1870 and 1880.  The forms are arranged alphabetically.  The entries contain names of all members of the family and their exact date of birth, place of origin, occupation, religion, and address in Vienna.

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VI.  Conversions and Resignations

       Anna Staudacher has published several books derived from Church records listing Jews in Vienna who concerted to Catholicism or Evangelical (Protestant).  

            Jüdische Konvertiten in Wien 1782-1868. Peter Lang: Frankfurt a. M. 2002 (1192 S.)
            Jüdisch-protestantische Konvertiten in Wien 1782-1914. Peter Lang: Frankfurt a. M. 2004 (1338 S.)

An index to these books is available from http://www.genteam.at under Vienna:Converts in Vienna.  The GenTeam database also includes Resignations from the Jewish community under Vienna:Jewish Resignations.  Both the Conversions and Resignations include birthdate information.  Staudacher's books contain further information, including often the names and origins of the parents.

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VII. Other Records

       A.  Dokumentationsarchiv des ÖsterreichischenWiderstandes

          The Dokumentationsarchiv (Documentation Archive of Austrian Resistance) in the Altes Rathaus in Wipplingerstrasse in Vienna is an attempt by the Austrian government to produce something like a Memorial Book for Austrian Jews murdered in the Holocaust.  They have a large archive and library with
a lot of information on the Holocaust.  They are very cooperative. Their website, http://www.doew.at, now has a searchable database of over 65,000 Austrian Holocaust victims.  The database is also searchable from computers at the museum on the Judenplatz in Vienna, where there is a Holocaust memorial.  A version of the database with more personal information about the victims is at http://www.lettertothestars.at.   Dokumentationsarchiv des 
Österreichischen Widerstandes
Altes Rathaus
Wipplingerstraße 8
A-1010 Wien, Austria
Tel: +43 (1) 534-36 / 01779
Fax: +43 (1) 534-36-7171
Local Fax: 01-534-36 / 9901771
E-mail: docarch@email.adis.at
Home page: http://www.doew.at.


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       B.  Oesterreichisches Staatsarchiv

       Dr. Hubert Steiner at the Oesterreichisches Staatsarchiv has produced a search aid for the property lists which all Jews in Vienna were forced to submit in 1938. The list is also available on the web at http://www.avotaynu.com/holocaustlist/a2.htm and includes name and birth date.  These records are filed by sequence of submission, not by name, so without Dr. Steiner's laudable work it would be quite impossible to find anything.  Files can be requested from the  Staatsarchiv. 

Österreichische Staatsarchiv
Archiv der Republik
Nottendorfergasse 2
A-1030 Vienna, Austria
       The property lists contain detailed lists of possessions and property and also sometimes contain data on what happened to the persons concerned, including their exile addresses and so on.  Practically all Jews in Vienna in 1938 completed one, because if they didn't everything was confiscated. 

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        C. Kriegsarchiv

       The Kriegsarchiv (war archives) is also part of the Staatsarchiv and contains personal details of members of the imperial armed forces who originated from Vienna and other parts of what is present day Austria (other files were sent to Prague and Budapest).  For ordinary soldiers you have to know date of entry into the armed forces and which regiment, and then you can see the "Grundbuchblatt".  But officers are listed in an alphabetically organized archive of so-called "Qualifikationslisten" (the file numbers are all QUALL ###) and can be accessed by name alone! The files contain mainly military career details, but it is possible to pick out details on date and place of birth, marital status and whether and when children were born.  See http://www.genealogy.net/reg/AUT/karchiv.html for a detailed description of the archive in German, or contact:

Österreichische Staatsarchiv
Kriegsarchiv
Nottendorfergasse 2
A-1030 Vienna, Austria
http://www.oesta.gv.at
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        D. Austrian Heraldic-Genealogical Society "Adler"

        The Austrian Heraldic-Genealogical Society "Adler" was founded in 1870 and maintains a library devoted to genealogy, including obituary notices, heraldic crests, seals and periodicals.  There is a huge collection of death notices from Vienna newspapers (several bookcases full).  As in the USA it was often the custom to list the family members with their relation to the deceased in these notices, and even give their professions.  The society provides information (not by phone, however) and may be able to get you in contact with people that can help you in your research.  When contacting the society from abroad include IRCs (International Reply Coupons).  Membership in the society is about 70 DM per year, not including preparation of family trees or related research.  Using the library is open for visitors (special visitors fee).  Library opening hours each Wednesday 17h-19h.  Austria-Czech member Georg Gaugusch (georg.gaugusch@aon.at) deals especially with old and ennobled Jewish families, and is very familiar with this collection. 
 

Austrian Heraldic-Genealogical Society Adler (Eagle)
Heraldisch-Genealogische
Gesellschaft 'Adler'
Universitaetsstrasse 6, Tuer 10
A-1096 Wien
Austria, Europe
email: office@adler-wien.org
http://www.adler-wien.at/
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        E.  Austrian National Library

       In the Austrian National Library (Österr. Nationalbibliothek) you can view a number of useful resources.  See http://www.onb.ac.at/.  The entrance is from the Heldenplatz in front of the Hofburg palace, opposite the Volksgarten.  The library has a newspaper archive downstairs, where you can view old copies of the Neues Wiener Tageblatt (microfilm 394.205 - D.Per) and the Neue Freie Presse (microfilm 393.929 - D).  These are the two papers in which Jewish families always put death notices.  The notices usually contain names of all family members (also parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws, etc.).  You can view these newspapers online from http://anno.onb.ac.at/  To find family in Budapest search in the Pester Lloyd.  For Prague, search the Prager Tagblatt.  Many of the obituary notices have been extracted and are searchable from http://www.genteam.at or http://www.grave-pictures.at or http://www.genealogyindexer.org .  See Obituaries.

    Also in the library you can get Lehmann's Wiener Wohnunhgsanzeiger (cat. # 393.867 - C.Per).  This is an alphabetical listing of all heads of household in Vienna fom 1859 onwards.  It is like a telephone directory for the 19th century.  The Mormon FHL has these directories available for 1870, 1902, 1906, 1908 and 1925.

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        F.  Holocaust Victims´ Information and Support Center

       In July 1999, the Federation of Jewish Communities in Austria, together with the Committee for Jewish Claims on Austria, the Council of Jews from Austria in Israel and the American Council for Equal Compensation of Nazi Victims from Austria, established the Holocaust Victims' Information and Support Center (HVISC) for Jewish Holocaust survivors in and from Austria.  The HVISC documents individual cases of Nazi persecution and Holocaust-era assets in order to build a premise for their future restitution or compensation.

       The Holocaust Victims' Information and Support Center is a political body representing Jewish Nazi victims and their heirs.  First and foremost, the HVISC will document individual cases of Nazi persecution and seek to achieve justice for Holocaust survivors finally and without delay. The HVISC does not provide legal representation for Holocaust victims or their heirs nor will it administer restitution funds.  Any funds received as restitution or compensation payments will be made available exclusively and directly to Holocaust victims.  The services of the HVISC are provided free of charge unless otherwise agreed.

Holocaust Victims' Information and Support Center
Desider Friedmann-Platz 1 A-1010 Wien 

Tel.: +43-1-531 04-201 

    +43-1-531 04-202

Fax: +43-1-531 04-219 

e-mail: anlaufstelle@ikg-wien.at
http://www.restitution.or.at/index_english.html
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        G. Nationalfonds der Republik Österreich für Opfer des Nationalsozialismus

       The Austrian government has set up a fund to assist needy Holocaust victims from Austria.  The main task of the National Fonds is to provide financial support for victims of National Socialism as quickly, flexibly and unbureaucratically as possible.  It was established in 1995, the 50th Anniversary of the Second Republic, in order to "remember all the immense wrong inflicted on millions of human beings by Nazism as well as the fact that Austrians, too, were involved in these crimes."  To date over 18,000 applicants worldwide have received payments from the National Fonds.  The Fonds pays according to age priority.  In case of grave illness or social need, payments to younger persons can be made earlier - in case of social hardship the amount of 70,000 Austrian Schillings (approximately $6,000 US dollars) can be tripled.  Contact:

Nationalfonds der Republik Österreich für Opfer 
     des Nationalsozialismus
Mag. Hannah Lessing, General Secretary
Dr. Karl-Renner-Ring 3
1017 Wien, Parlament, Austria 
tel: +43 (1) 408-1263-64
fax:  +43 (1) 408-0389
e-mail: sekretariat@nationalfonds.org
home page: http://www.nationalfonds.org
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H. Postsparkasse Report 

        The Austrian Postsparkasse bank has published a report on assets held by Jewish Austrians that were taken by the Nazis.  The entire list of account-holders is available on the web at http://web.archive.org/web/20011106142856/http://www.psk.at/pskgruppe/report2000/listen/sparbuecher.html.  Contact:
Österreichische Postsparkasse AG
Ref: "research report"
Georg Coch-Platz 2
A-1010 Vienna, Austria 
fax: +43 (1) 51400 - 1700 or 1762


        The report itself is written by Prof. Oliver Rathkolb, director of the Bruno Kreisky Institute. 

The Bruno Kreisky Archives Foundation
Univ.Doz. DDr. Oliver Rathkolb
Rechte Wienzeile 97
A-1050 Vienna, Austria
tel +43 (1) 545 75 35 / 32
fax +43 (1) 545 30 97 
e-mail: archiv@kreisky.org
home page: http://www.kreisky.org/index_archiv.htm
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