Red Vienna, 1919–1934: Ideas, Debates, Praxes.
An Introduction to the Wien Museum’s Centennial Exhibition and Roundtable Discussion “What is Red Vienna?”: Conflicting Perspectives, Enduring Legacies

A haunted past
In 2019, exhibition spaces were again expanded beyond the museum proper, with selected locations throughout the city temporarily opened to the public, enabling the exploration of lesser known, more experimental aspects of Red Vienna beyond the familiar buildings and housing complexes. This allows, in one sense, for a kind of “built utopia” to be conveyed, uniting the ideals of schooling, housing, and art. In another sense, however, such efforts remained detached, for the rich texture of Red Vienna harbors a conspicuous gap. In contrast with the wealth of representations—photographs, films, brochures, newspapers, and the like—that document the people’s mass participation in the project of Red Vienna, very few personal testimonials have survived. 

In the summer of 2016, the Verein für Geschichte der ArbeiterInnenbewegung (VGA),1 a cooperating partner in the present exhibition, received a friendly email. The sender was writing from a small town in Upper Franconia in Germany; she had been restoring her grandmother’s kitchen sideboard and found hidden “under the counter top two membership ID booklets in the ‘Social Democratic Workers’ Party of the Republic of German-Austria,’” the owners of which were completely unknown to her. These little booklets found their way into the VGA archive. It turns out they had belonged to a married couple, born in 1901 and 1909, soldier and housewife, respectively, members of Section XIII, Kagran District, of the Social Democratic Workers’ Party (SDAP), the former having joined in 1922, the latter in 1932. And a noteworthy detail was also remarked: The stamps indicating the payment of monthly membership dues, each of which had been neatly pasted into the booklets, ceased abruptly in January 1934. Immediately thereafter, with the February Uprising and the ban on the SDAP, Red Vienna had come to an end. 

Had the two Viennese party members at this point hidden their membership booklets inside the kitchen credenza? And had they then forgotten about them, or were they even still living, by the time the credenza eventually changed hands?

Objects secreted away that reappear after more than eighty years are indicative of ruptures. Audiences sympathetic to the historical project of Red Vienna may feel a certain melancholy, in recognition of the years lost to Austrofascism and, thereafter, the horror that was National Socialism. But objects belonging to Red Vienna also haunt the present in another sense: as phantoms of a time in which notions of a self-determined future were not yet stifled by the apparent inevitability of neoliberal conditions.2

[. . .]

Unequivocal and direct expressions of these historical ruptures, and the deep incisions they made into personal biographies, can be read in the stories of emigration. Olga Tandler managed to bring with her, as she fled to the US in 1939, a portion of her deceased husband Julius Tandler’s literary remains, now kept by her grandson Bill, who values it explicitly as a memento of Red Vienna and its “humanism.”3 While in exile in New York, the architect and interior design consultant Fritz Czuczka made drawings for his son George of the family’s former Vienna apartment in Karl Marx Hof, which had been designed and furnished in accordance with progressive ideas, and of which, as Jews, the family was dispossessed in 1938. The drawings are at once documents of forced displacement and flight, and testimony—some of the little that remains—to the practical implementation of Red Vienna’s housing ideals.4

Another story of political persecution likewise made its way to the Wien Museum in 1937, in the form of medium- and large-format photographs from the Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum (GWM), which had previously exhibited the aspirations and accomplishments of Red Vienna on stages both local and international. Otto Neurath—founder and longstanding director of the GWM, inventor of the Vienna Method of Pictorial Statistics, later termed ISOTYPE (International System of Typographic Picture Education), as well as other museum-education concepts—was forced to leave the country in 1934. He is one of the brilliant minds who advanced Red Vienna as an intellectual project first and foremost. But big names like Otto Neurath, like feminist social scientist Käthe Leichter,5 and like renowned city councilmen Hugo Breitner and Julius Tandler, make it easy to forget that, in the 1919 elections, organized laborers also rose to positions of prominence in Viennese politics and administration. Vienna’s new mayor, Jakob Reumann, had apprenticed as a lathe operator in a meerschaum pipe factory in his youth. In his inaugural address before the city council in May 1919, he felt himself called to steward the city’s official business “as a representative of the working classes, who for decades have been without rights, an object of the administration.” “This context is something I will never forget.”6 Franz Siegel, the city councilman for technical affairs—whose official purview included the construction of municipal housing—had first worked as a mason, then served as chair of the construction workers’ union. His successor, Karl Richter, who also served as city councilman for administrative affairs, wrote in his curriculum vitae: “Member of the Workers’ Education Association Apollo, as apprentice; 1896 Deputy Chairman, later Chairman of the Professional Association of Gilders.”7 Richter spoke with a good deal of pride about attending the workers’ movement’s educational institutions, “even the public university courses—and the first ones at that, those that were organized in 1891 or 1892.”8 Same with the stripes he earned in a conflict with the Habsburg authorities, who accused him in 1911 of, among other things, maligning both the crown and the army.9
Red Vienna 2019
An exhibition about Red Vienna in 2019, one hundred years after it first began, thus has a rich and layered history from which to draw. But which interpretations are apropos of the present? What was once, in the 1980s, looked upon critically in terms of the distance between its theoretical assumptions and actual accomplishments and then, in the 1990s, sidelined altogether, now seems all the more worthy of renewed examination and exhibition: the interpretation of Red Vienna as a project of emancipation and participation, as “an idea of modern public solidarity,”10 as journalist Robert Misik has described it. Red Vienna now appears as much more than the concrete space its architecture alone would suggest; it appears as a space of possibility within which the question “How should one live?” was intensely debated when it came to matters of housing, schooling, education, relations between men and women, leisure, and culture; it appears as a call to debate, to critical engagement, to the declaration of ideals, and to experiment.


Debate: What is Red Vienna?

Participants: Lilli Bauer, curator of the museum Das Rote Wien im Waschsalon Karl-Marx-Hof;11 Helmut Konrad, emeritus professor of contemporary history at the University of Graz; Hanna Lichtenberger, political scientist at the University of Vienna; Wolfgang Maderthaner, historian and managing director of the Österreichisches Staatsarchiv;12 and Béla Rásky, historian and manager of the Wiener Wiesenthal Institut für Holocauststudien,13 in conversation about the history and theory of Red Vienna.
Moderator: Werner Michael Schwarz, curator at the Wien Museum.

The conversation took place around the dining room table of (Red) Vienna’s former mayor, Karl Seitz, in the Vorwärts-Haus, the former Party headquarters and home to the workers’ daily gazette, the Arbeiter-Zeitung, located in the Wienzeile in Vienna’s fifth district. 

Schwarz What is Red Vienna for you? Field for experiment, laboratory, utopia, a project of late Enlightenment or left-populism—to name just a few terms that are often associated with Red Vienna. Rásky For me, there’s a term missing here, one that Siegfried Mattl coined: “public moral institution.” I’d argue for the phrase “project of late Enlightenment,” if it weren’t for this almost religious aspect and the high-handed claim to morality that turns up again and again in many of these texts. Bauer But wasn’t this religious aspect a part of the claim to an education that aimed to show the working classes how a person should live? This, for me, overrides the contradiction—because you have to educate the workers, and until you do or until you have, all they can do is believe. Konrad I don’t think this contradiction is so easily overridden. Red Vienna had set itself first and foremost a sociopolitical task, one that could only be approached in a rational manner: I have to change how support is provided to mothers and children, construct residential buildings, fight tuberculosis, build schools, kindergartens. At first, none of this has a religious aspect. Wolfgang Maderthaner and I have, for this reason, also discussed Red Vienna as a “model for a modern metropolis.” That’s late Enlightenment in its purest form, that’s modernization: We have to make this Vienna cleaner, safer, healthier, more livable for our children. That’s the one side. The other is the attempt to give Red Vienna an elevated public image. When you all of a sudden arrive on the scene as the “Bauvolk der kommenden Welt”14—the builders of the world to come—then it doesn’t suffice to say: in Vienna there’s no more tuberculosis; you’ve got to have something more. And what, then, do you fall back on? If the Enlightenment disenchanted the world, then, for instance, the educational policy-maker in Red Vienna, Luitpold Stern, attempted to reenchant it, and, in order to do so, he used a religious vocabulary, like “psalms.”15 In other words: We’re more than a modern metropolis, we are the coming world. And for this, we need not only an exalted religious register but also the “New Human.” This is where it then does become partially problematic. We know from Karl Stadler’s16 diaries of the time that he thought very seriously about separating from his wife because she had eaten a candy containing rum. To his mind, this violated everything they had been advocating. Later, he was by no means dead set against a rum candy. This shows, though, how strongly this moral injunction had affected young intellectuals. Maderthaner Before debating conceptual terms like morality or ethics, that often reveal a very subjective view of the past, I’d first like to establish: Red Vienna is a radical project of late Enlightenment. It’s a project concerned with the routinization of utopia.17 In this respect, it probably does have this religious quality. For me, Red Vienna is very fundamentally a parallel initiative to the depth-psychological project of Sigmund Freud, in its attempt to fashion subjects out of objects from the proletarian collective. That, for me, is what comprises the radical Enlightenment perspective. It has to do with setting free the elements of a future society in the here and now. There haven’t been many other experiments that took this form, the implementation of a concrete utopia in the midst of a ruthlessly hostile environment. By this environment I also mean the Great Depression, as of 1929. Lichtenberger To my mind, concepts like “laboratory” or “experiment” are only partially plausible. A laboratory presupposes ideal conditions. You organize an experiment and in this way test theories. If something doesn’t work, you repeat it. That’s the one side. On the other side, there were—in the social sciences, in pedagogy, individual psychology or psychoanalysis—actual attempts at transforming theories into praxis, in which case concepts like laboratory or experiment would again be applicable. Veronika Duma and I, in our research, used the concept of “reform projects” or “radical-reformist projects.” A lot of questions that were posed in Red Vienna we still consider current. This concerns questions about the redistribution of societal wealth, the accessibility of social and public infrastructure, the reorganization of relations of production, the right to housing. Rásky I still want to come back to the role of the religious in Red Vienna. One, there is the question of how the Social Democratic city is representing itself to the outside, but the other question pertains to the Party itself. It experienced huge growth after 1918. And so the problem of cohesion emerged. Prior to this, ratio had dominated; but with the massive inundation of the Party, the influx of people, many of whom came from the provinces and had a religious background, increasingly, as a method of communicating, this elevated or lofty rhetoric came into play, and with it, a paternalistic element. Konrad But who is the avant-garde? Naturally, it’s the Party leadership, and the question becomes: how to disseminate Austromarxist concepts to the Party’s base?18 Here’s where contradictions arise. The avant-garde is often two steps ahead of public opinion. For instance, apartment buildings with communal kitchens: These couldn’t work because the family structure was not yet ready for them.19 And this contradiction was offset, in my view, by putting the model of Red Vienna out of reach of dispute, elevating it and at the same time trying to squeeze from it as much modernization potential as possible. It’s a two-sided process. For this reason, the mayor of Vienna, Karl Seitz, was also called “the Maker.” Who would use a term like that today? But at the time, it seemed necessary to insist that it was sacrosanct, what the ones up top said. And that, in fact, is a paternalistic approach. Maderthaner Why don’t we try to clarify some of the background concepts in the lineage of Red Vienna? Red Vienna is, first, a project of pedagogization; second, a project of hygienization; and, third, a project of democratization. The last seems to me the most enduring. So let’s take a look at the theoretical elite of social democracy. They come predominantly from the upper middle class, are often assimilated Jews, and they bring with them a very particular concept: education, the cultivation of the self. This is conveyed very clearly by one term that you will often encounter reading Otto Bauer20—the “will to culture.” From the quasi-uneducated barbarians an intellectually alert elite must emerge. And all the cultural treasures, particularly those of the German Enlightenment, must be provided to it. This alert elite could then further cultivate those qualities that would enable it to lead a social democracy. Those are concepts coming out of Vienna circa 1900, from a German culturalism which was sustained by an assimilated Jewry. Red Vienna is difficult to understand if we don’t have in view its own cultural lineage. Though to what extent that was translated into praxis is a matter of debate. Konrad But you also have to tell the darker sides of this story. It wasn’t just German, but German nationalist cultural assets at issue. There was a strong German nationalist component that would later prove calamitous, like you can see in the meager resistance to the idea of the Anschluss21 and in the eugenic rudiments in the sphere of hygiene policy. In these cases, one came up against boundaries—not to mention overstepped them—that today we are very sensitive to. Rásky Isn’t it exactly this culturalistic concept that failed? Konrad I don’t believe so! Maderthaner It’s the economic concept that failed, under the enormous pressure of the Depression, in fact. Rásky But this almost religious elevation of educational activity also at some point stopped being accepted. One example is the magazine Bildungsarbeit,22 in which there was this rubric of “wrong ways.” The magazine was denouncing what was de facto happening in reality. You can observe how these high German culture–oriented concepts were no longer taken for relevant. It becomes very clear after the July Revolt in 1927.23 The youth, like Ernst Fischer, had completely new ideas that no longer conformed with this reiterating of older notions of culture. They were more concerned with topics like sexuality, new media, new aesthetic ideas. A real turn was happening. Bauer I want to pause a moment on this rubric of “wrong ways.” There was a lot of criticism in the air, about how Party assembly spaces were designed, or the fact that Gumpoldskirchen wine was served at a “Friends of Children” event. This experiment, in teaching the people how they should live, was battled out in public. Today, it would be hard to imagine such a public castigation of the work of a Party section. Maderthaner Much of what Béla says is true. In the 1930s, a new kind of youth really did emerge that was precisely the product of these concepts of education. But one point seems to me to come up short, in the context of the breakdown or failure of Red Vienna: And that is the collapse of the cultural and the social as a consequence of the total collapse of the economic. That’s not limited to Red Vienna; that’s a global phenomenon and the result of the first worldwide crisis of speculation and finance. Vienna itself had managed to keep a balanced budget until 1933, but the consequences of doing so were fatal for Red Vienna’s cultural and reform projects. Add to that the campaign of financial annihilation waged against the state of Vienna by a federal government already in the hands of Austrofascists. In debates like these, you have to consider these things. Lichtenberger What I find interesting in this is how the crisis was responded to, the austerity policy in particular, and how much we can still learn from that today. For instance: Greece. The experience of the 1930s shows very clearly how quickly an economic crisis, once it encroaches on politics, becomes a structural one, how quickly an authoritarian politics establishes itself, back then by emergency decree, today by a government of experts. Konrad I suppose we agree that it was these underlying circumstances that made Red Vienna susceptible to breakdown or failure in the first place. It didn’t break down from within; it was brought down—through the so-called “self-elimination” of parliament—by a federal government that was already authoritarian by 1933, if not earlier.24 Maderthaner And in the end, by military intervention. Lichtenberger Still, it has to be said that the insufficient democratization of the economy was also responsible for this. Konrad On a municipal level? Lichtenberger The concepts were there, like with Otto Bauer. The Social Democratic Party had always been waiting for the fifty-percent-plus-one vote in the general election. But they also could have gone ahead with democratizing the relations of production even without having this majority. In which case, it would have been possible to take different measures in the face of the economic crisis. 
Schwarz There is a theory that the comprehensive claims to food and housing in Red Vienna had made the working classes unaccustomed to political struggle, that the streets, which had been such important spaces for political action during the time of opposition, had over time been lost. Was political competence lost as well? Maderthaner That’s a fine intellectual construct. Konrad I agree! Levels of organization and mobilization actually increased. The municipal housing complexes enabled much better access to the approximately 200,000 people that lived in them. In these circumstances, considerably more could be rallied into the streets for a May Day demonstration than when the people were miserable and hungry.
Schwarz There’s a scene from a 1925 film that I’d like to discuss as a possible image for Red Vienna. The film was made at the Volksfest des Republikanischen Schutzbundes on the Wilhelminenberg and shows a group of tight-rope walkers.25 Tight-rope walking: very attractive, spectacular, risky, a constant effort at maintaining equilibrium. It’s a question of the various powers at play and, in general, of the dynamics in Red Vienna, in the administration, in the Party, etc. Maderthaner I’d say that the dynamics arose first from necessity and second from successes achieved right from the start, and then from utopian aspects. Bauer They were also looking, in Red Vienna, to examples from other countries, like the settlements in Germany. Only in that case, they weren’t taking any half measures. Or take the public health city councilman Julius Tandler. He came back from a visit to the USA completely enthusiastic about Prohibition. They definitely stole some ideas. Maderthaner I wouldn’t call it “stealing.” These were manifestations of the moment. Urban modernity was relatively similar everywhere. Rásky With the question about the dynamics, another film occurs to me: Sonnenstrahl by Paul Fejos. The final scene takes place in the twentieth district, at the residential building Friedrich Engels Platz Hof. The residents’ unprompted willingness to help a neighbor allows a young couple to make an installment payment on a taxi, thus enabling the young husband to make his way as a small business owner.26 I think that’s a nice example of how, in an economic crisis, solidarity could be reconceived undogmatically. Lichtenberger Of course, you always have to look at the dynamics within the Party, too. One example, for me, are the women’s organizations that, during the monarchy, fought to get women’s suffrage passed and that argued against looking at gainful employment for women as exerting downward pressure on wages, which is actually how many of their own Party comrades saw women’s suffrage at the time. Konrad Ever since the founding of the journal Der Kampf,27 theoretical concepts were available in well-elaborated form. You can see how, after 1918, there was a marked change in subject matter, toward the interaction between theory and the necessities of everyday political life. When children are dropping like flies and have to be packed off to Denmark or Switzerland just in order to survive, then it’s clear that you need a radical concept of public health. That creates the dynamics. Or when you know how the workers in the city’s outer districts are living, then you know something has to be done. Maderthaner During this first phase, mortality rates were incredibly high. The number of dead amounted to 120,000 by the end of the war and in the period shortly thereafter; that’s the population of an entire district in Vienna. Out of 290,000 school children examined, 270,000 were undernourished to varying degrees. Something had to be done, socio-technologically too. And that’s why they appointed a eugenicist, Julius Tandler, to lead the city’s public health council. He brought concepts with him that were aimed at producing an improved human being. He took healthy mothers, healthy children as a starting point; also preventative medicine, preemptive welfare, so to speak. Bauer Tandler wants to fight sickness, not the sick. Maderthaner But it’s beyond debate that welfare has a disciplining quality. The municipal children’s congregate care home28 was a huge cultural advance and, at the same time, an instrument of discipline.
Schwarz Do the dynamics of Red Vienna develop, at least at the beginning, out of crisis management? Konrad Yes, but highly enlightened and highly social. To my mind, the term “crisis management” would be too neutral. It had to do with an attempt to manage this crisis in such a way that the social and enlightened concept could be implemented. It wasn’t passive, but very active. Bauer We shouldn’t forget that the question of the dynamics didn’t concern the administration alone but also the tightly knit infrastructure provided by Social Democratic associations, such as the “Friends of Children,” or the “Friends of Nature,”29 which also offered their own public-health and education programming. Lichtenberger Not to mention the Workers’ Funerary Association Die Flamme, which developed a counter-concept to Catholicism. That’s interesting for two reasons: one, because of the socio-political aspect, since burial insurance allowed families to avoid high costs, and two, because of the symbolic aspect, to juxtapose another narrative against the Catholic one. Rásky But wasn’t all of this just copied? I mean, the workers’ whole festival culture. Whenever the Social Democrats didn’t really rise to the challenges of the new society, that’s where they failed, where it broke down. With the Weihespiele30 and other types of festivals. More convincing, to my mind, are the activities that took place toward the end of Red Vienna, when they began working with new forms, like political cabaret, as did Die roten Spieler.31 For me, those were successful projects, but they were impeded by Party leadership, because they were radical-left and the activists were in contact with the Communists. Bauer I find the term “copy” somewhat unfair. The bourgeoisie had the opportunity, since the Biedermeier period32 at the latest, to go on outings to the countryside. Quite a long time had to pass before the workers were able to enjoy the same thing on the weekends. Konrad In their structure, they were actually copied. It’s true, the “Friends of Nature” built lodges that mimicked the bourgeois Alpine Club. But what should they have done: built a municipal housing complex on the Rax33 instead? Maderthaner Isn’t it always just a matter of expression of the Zeitgeist? Red Vienna built a crematorium in 1923. That’s an unparalleled cultural break. But what was really radically new was how women were being represented publicly. The women gymnasts on May First, in shorts and t-shirts, their hair in bobs, that for me is a qualitative leap. 


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  1. [Association for the History of the Workers’ Movement.—Trans.]
  2. Cf. in this regard e.g. Mark Fischer: Kapitalistischer Realismus ohne Alternative? Eine Flugschrift [Capitalist Realism without Alternatives? A Pamphlet], Hamburg 2013.
  3. [Julius Tandler (1869–1936) served as city councilman for health and welfare in the Vienna city government from 1920 until, as a Jew, he was forced from public service in 1934 and later into exile. Tandler is credited with successfully managing Vienna’s tuberculosis epidemic; he was also a strident advocate of eugenic policies, including sterilization.—Trans.]
  4. We’d like to thank Philipp Rohrbach and Niko Wahl for referring us to these particular recollections.
  5. [Käthe Leichter (1895–1942) was a social scientist, labor unionist, and Director of Women’s Affairs in the Vienna Chamber of Labor, known for her pioneering 1932 study of women industrial workers in Vienna, So leben wir (How We Live), which identified significant gaps between the actual lived conditions of Social Democratic women and the gender-equity rhetoric and policies of the Party. In 1940, while preparing documents to flee German-occupied Austria, Leichter, a Jew, was arrested by the Gestapo and deported to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, where she was gassed in 1942.—Trans.]
  6. Inaugural address of Mayor Jakob Reumann at the constituents’ city council meeting May 22, 1919, in: Verein für Geschichte der ArbeiterInnenbewegung (forthcoming: VGA), placard 3/92.
  7. Curriculum vitae for the city councilman of administrative affairs Karl Richter, n.d., in: VGA, Social Democratic Party Offices K77/M46.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Cf. ibid.
  10. Robert Misik: “Rotes Wien”—was heißt das im 21. Jahrhundert? [“Red Vienna”—What does it mean in the twenty-first century?], in: Der Standard, May 21, 2018, (March 20, 2019).
  11. [Red Vienna in the Laundry of Karl Marx Hof.—Trans.]
  12. [Austrian National Archive.—Trans.]
  13. [Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies.—Trans.]
  14. This is the first line of the song “Die Arbeiter von Wien” [The Workers of Vienna]. The text was written by Fritz Brügel and it was sung to the tune of the “Red Army March” (1920). It is not exactly clear when it first appeared. It was printed in the Social Democratic weekly Volkspost on August 7, 1926.
  15. One such “psalm” (poem) was titled “Die neue Stadt” [The New City], published in Berlin in 1927. Josef Luitpold Stern wrote the text; the book in which it appeared was published by Büchergilde Gutenberg. Otto Rudolf Schatz designed the seventy-four pages, featuring seventy-four images using woodcut technique. 
  16. Karl R. Stadler (1913–1987), historian and professor of modern and contemporary history at the University of Linz.
  17. [German original: Veralltäglichung der Utopie.—Trans.]
  18. [See translator’s note for details on Austromarxism.—Trans.]
  19. The idea underpinning the apartment buildings with communal kitchens, or Einküchenhäuser, was to centralize domestic labor and in this way relieve some of the burden on working women. One Viennese Einküchenhaus, Heimhof (in Pilgerimgasse in the fifteenth district), was built between 1921 and 1923, according to plans drawn up by Otto Polak-Hellwig. Its original design featured twenty-five micro-apartments that shared a single, central kitchen and one dining room. The cleaning of apartments was likewise centralized.
  20. [Otto Bauer (1881–1938) was a leading intellectual figure in the “Austromarxist” Social Democratic movement. He was forced into exile following the suppression of the Social Democratic Uprising in 1934, though he continued to organize from Czechoslovakia, then Belgium, then Paris, where he died of heart failure. Bauer was also an avowed nationalist and pan-Germanist.—Trans.]
  21. [The so-called Anschluss refers to the “annexation” of Austria to Nazi Germany in March 1938, though the idea is quite a bit older. The question of who belongs to Germany—which attempted to define German identity in both linguistic and cultural terms—dates back to the era of German national unification in 1871. Following the dissolution of Austria-Hungary in 1918, the short-lived Republic of German-Austria attempted to unify with Germany, but postwar international treaties forbade this in 1919. Still, pan-German sentiment persisted to an extent, including among leading Red Viennese intellectuals, and the idea of Anschluss remained an object of some political debate, notwithstanding the Nazi party was officially banned in Austria between 1933 and 1938. See also translator’s note, fn 3.—Trans.]
  22. [Educational Work.—Trans.]
  23. [The July Revolt, alternatively Justizpalastbrand (Palace of Justice fire), refers to a Social Democratic protest action in July 1927. A skirmish between right- and left-wing paramilitary forces had resulted in the death of two civilians. Three members of the right-wing paramilitary group were indicted then acquitted by jury trial. A general strike by the left followed the acquittal, which precipitated massive protests in the city center, during which protesters set fire to the Palace of Justice. Armed police were deployed to forcibly disperse the protest, which led to the deaths of five police and eighty-nine civilians.—Trans.]
  24. [See translator’s note for details on the “self-elimination” of parliament.—Trans.]
  25. Das dritte Volksfest des Republikanischen Schutzbundes der Ortsgruppe XVI (AT 1925). (March 13, 2019). [A People’s Festival hosted by the Schutzbund, the paramilitary arm of the Social Democratic Party. NB: Political parties in interwar Austria had paramilitary wings as a matter of course.—Trans.]
  26. Sonnenstrahl [A Ray of Sunshine] (AT 1933, dir.: Paul Fejos).
  27. [The Struggle. A Social Democratic Party organ published monthly in Vienna between 1908 and 1934.—Trans.]
  28. [The Kinderübernahmestelle was a municipal facility akin to a halfway house. This was a first point of contact for children who had been removed from homes deemed unsuitable or dangerous. Here they were observed scientifically for some time before a decision was made as to whether they could be returned to their families or sent to an orphanage for adoption.—Trans.]
  29. [Kinderfreunde (Friends of Children) and Naturfreunde (Friends of Nature) were originally founded in the early twentieth century as non-governmental organizations designed to promote child health and welfare and environmental preservation and leisure activities, respectively; both were later incorporated into the Social Democratic Workers’ Party, and Kinderfreuende remains a part of the Social Democratic Party of Austria to this day.—Trans.]
  30. [Weihespiele (consecration plays) are often large-scale performances depicting religious (Catholic) themes, typically for mass audiences. These plays had their roots in medieval mystery plays; Nazi festivals later adapted the form to cultic rather than Catholic ideas.—Trans.]
  31. [The Red Players. A theater troupe comprised of workers, urban and agricultural.—Trans.]
  32. [“Biedermeier” refers to an approximately thirty-year period between 1815 and 1848 in Central Europe, during which the region underwent industrial urbanization, accompanied by a rise in the bourgeois middle class, whose attendant leisures became a prime mover of arts and culture. Biedermeier is an umbrella term referring to the dominant styles in a range of fields of aesthetic production.—Trans.]
  33. [A mountain range in the Austrian Alps.—Trans.]