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Beginner's Guide to Austrian-Jewish Genealogy

by E. Randol Schoenberg
(Updated 08/27/2016)

       The first task of anyone researching their "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.

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.  Household Registration Records
IV.  Fremdenkartei
V.  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
VI.   Jewish Communities in Austria
VII.  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 Ms. Weiss in the Department of Records.  She has short visiting hours, usually in the afternoons, and her 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.
Ms. Heidrun Weiss
Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien
Seitenstettengasse 4
A-1010 Vienna, Austria
tel: +43 (1)  531-040
fax: +43 (1) 533-1577
home page:
        Apart from Vienna, there are the following other active Jewish communities in Austria:  Graz (Synagogenplatz 1), Innsbruck (Sillgasse 15), Linz (Bethlehemstraße 26), and Salzburg (Lasserstraße 8).

       BWiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv

       Duplicate versions of the Viennese Jewish Matriken have been microfilmed. The microfilms are available in Vienna at the Rathaus (Town Hall) in the Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv.  The Rathaus archive has long opening hours and is often more convenient than the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde, although the room with these records is not easy to find.  The Rathaus is an enormous complex with tall towers, facing the Ringstrasse.  It has three main courtyards, and the entrances are from the two sides, not the front facing the Ringstrasse.  It is best to enter the building from the right-hand side (when you look at the building from the Ringstrasse).  Then you simply turn right inside the archway and go through the doors marked Stiege 6 (Stairway 6) and start going up the stairs until you reach the floor called “1. Stock” (1st floor).  In fact this is not the first floor, it is the third floor, because there is a Parterre and a Zwischengeschoss in between.  When you reach this floor you go through the doors, turn left and the first door on your left is the Stadt- und Landesarchiv.  Go through the reading room to the glass cubicle at the end and show your passport, saying you want to work on the films of the “Buecher der israelitischen Kultusgemeinde.”  You will be shown into the room behind and left to your own devices.

    Note - Click HERE  for current office hours.
The archive is moving locations and may not be accessible.

Univ.-Prof.Dr.Peter Csendes
Magistrat der Stadt Wien
Magistratsabteilung 8
Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv
Rathaus, 1082 Wien
tel: +43 (1) 4000-84855
fax: +43 (1) 4000-7238
      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
Zimmer 17 C 1
1010  Wien
phone: +43 1 4000 - 0 (you will be connected)
Opening hours: Mo - Fr 8:00 - 12:00 Uhr
       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 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.

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).  A non-profit organization called “Schalom” will assist people trying to locate graves in the Jewish cemetery.  They have a computerized database of the entire Jewish cemetery.  Mag. Walter Pagler is the founder of Schalom.  He has an office in a trailer at the First Gate, and frequently assists people searching for graves in the Jewish Cemetery.  Mag. Pagler and Schalom are also now looking after other cemeteries in Niederösterreich, Burgenland, Steiermark and Kärnten.  They have published a guide (Wegweiser) in German with maps and other information.  Mag. Pagler and Schalom can be contacted at:

Mag. jur. Walter Pagler
Verein Schalom
Auhofstraße 136
A-1130 Vienna, Austria

Tel/Fax: +43 (1) 877-1371

The mailing address for the Jewish Cemetery at the Zentralfriedhof is:
III. 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.  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.

IV. 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.

V. Other Records

       A.  Dokumentationsarchiv des Österreichischen Widerstandes

       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,, now has a searchable database of over 61,000 Austrian Holocaust victims.  The database is also searchable from computers at the new museum on the Judenplatz in Vienna, where there is a new Holocaust memorial.
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
Home page:
       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  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.  Now you can email Dr. Steiner and ask him to look up the file number of the person you are searching for, and then request a photocopy of the file from the Staatsarchiv.  Dr. Steiner's address is:

Dr. Hubert Steiner
Österreichische Staatsarchiv
Archiv der Republik
Nottendorfergasse 2
A-1030 Vienna, Austria
tel: +43 (1) 795-401
       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.  These records may be valuable to families making claims in the Austrian Bank Holocaust Litigation Class Action,
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.  For a detailed description of the archive in German, see the original web site at (which is in the process of being migrated to but the migration is not yet complete).

Or, contact:
Österreichische Staatsarchiv
Nottendorfergasse 2
A-1030 Vienna, Austria

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 ( deals especially with old and ennobled Jewish families, and is very familiar with this collection.

Austrian Heraldic-Genealogical Society Adler (Eagle)
Gesellschaft 'Adler'
Universitaetsstrasse 6, Tuer 10
A-1096 Wien
Austria, Europe
       E.  Austrian National Library

       In the Austrian National Library (Österr. Nationalbibliothek) you can view a number of useful resources.  See  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.).
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.

       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 Vienna
tel.: +43 (1) 531 04-201, +43 (1) 531 04-202
fax: +43-1-531 04-219
Office hours: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
       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
home page:
Application for compensation may be made through the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC. Contact:
Mrs. Ingrid Richardson
Consular Attache for Legal
      and Social Security Affairs
Embassy of Austria
3524 International Court, NW
Washington, DC 20008-3035
(202) 895-6719
 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  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 (offered for sale, only)

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 
home page:

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