The downfall of Austria ...
... as an independent State and its annexation to the German Reich in 1938 implied for many lawyers the end of their career. On March 13, 1938, 2.605 lawyers were registered in the list of the Austrian Bar Association in Vienna; only 771 were still registered on December 31, 1938 (Ernst Jahoda, History of the Austrian Bar 1918-1973, page 49 / Geschichte der österreichischen Advokatur 1918 - 1973).
On the basis of the regulation of March 31, 1938 (RGBl I page 353), it was possible to ban Jewish lawyers and solicitors from the exercise of their profession. According to the regulation of September 27, 1938 (RGB1 I page 622), also the names of “half breed Jews” had to be cancelled from the list of the Austrian Bar at latest by December 31, 1938. The register of the Bar Association in Austria shows near the names of the concerned colleagues a seal with the reference note: “cancelled according to § 1 b, z. 1 and § 7 of the fifth regulation of the citizen of the Reich of September 27, 1938 RGBI page 1403”.
Only 15 cases of cancellation referred to causes which were not connected with the takeover of power by the NS (Wrabetz, lawyers in Austria in past and present, page 131 / Österreichs Rechtsanwälte in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart).
The dimension of the terror and the injustice which hides behind these stern figures concerning the former independent regional Chambers of Lawyers in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland, is only ascertainable if the fates of the concerned individuals are brought to light.
The “Association of Research of the Professional History of the Members of the Austrian Bar Association, which were Discredited Between 1938 and 1945” has been founded by all the regional Chambers of Lawyers of Austria including the ÖRAK (Österreichischer Rechtsanwaltskammertag) and has the duty to investigate the professional fates of lawyers’ existences lost between 1938 and 1945.
What is the origin of these colleagues, what was their personal history as lawyers, how developed their further fate?
The objective of this project shall result in thoroughly revisiting this part of the History of the Austrian Lawyers as well as the editing of a publication, which will serve as a Memorial Book as well as a critical analysis.
In November 2010 we have managed to publish the book Advokaten 1938. Since then many more archives and their digitalisation have enabled us to continue our research and permitted us to document the personal and professional history of about 400 colleagues whose lives could not be documented sufficiently well in the 1st edition of the book Advokaten 1938. Moreover we are now able to document the professional lives of all becoming lawyers (Articled Clerk: had to pass a mandatory traineeship in order to become admitted to practice). We will be able to publish the results of our recent research in a 2nd edition of the book Advokaten 1938 to be published in English Language most probably by November 2021. This 2nd edition will include further information about Nazi propaganda specifically concentrated on the legal profession of lawyers „Völkischer Beobachter“. You will find some examples displayed photos (please consider too: https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/).
If you can provide any information - as documents or photos -, concerning the fate of the persons cancelled from the registers of the Austrian Chambers of Lawyers or if you wish to gather further information about our project please contact us under:
c/o “Association of Research of the History of the Members of the Austrian Bar Association, which were discredited between 1938 and 1945”
Schottengasse 10/3rd floor