Jews and Intermarriage in Nazi Austria

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Evan Burr Bukey explores the experience of intermarried couples – marriages with Jewish and non-Jewish partners – and their children in Vienna after Germany's seizure of Austria in 1938. These families coped with changing regulations that disrupted family life, pitted relatives against each other, and raised profound questions about religious, ethnic, and national identity. Bukey finds that although intermarried couples lived in a state of fear and anxiety, many managed to mitigate, delay, or even escape Nazi sanctions. Drawing on extensive archival research, his study reveals how hundreds of them pursued ingenious strategies to preserve their assets, to improve their “racial” status, and above all to safeguard the position of their children. It also analyzes cases of intermarried partners who chose divorce as well as persons involved in illicit liaisons with non-Jews. Jews and Intermarriage in Nazi Austria concludes that although most of Vienna's intermarried Jews survived the Holocaust, several hundred Jewish partners were deported to their deaths and children of such couples were frequently subjected to Gestapo harassment.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Through his history of those tied by family bonds, Bukey lays bare how the Nazi regime challenged core values of western civilization: the family, parents’ protection of their children, the mutual love and loyalty of husbands and wives. And he shows how those fathers, mothers, wives, and husbands negotiated that assault. Written with great sensitivity and passion, and grounded in impeccable research, Jews and Intermarriage in Nazi Austria is a superb new work.” – Debórah Dwork, Clark University

“We have had only vague knowledge until now about the impact Nazi racist madness had on the private lives of Jews and intermarried couples in National Socialist Austria. Evan Burr Bukey went into Viennese archives, compiled exact statistics, and wrote a precise study about people who were forced to live in a state of enormous stress. He has reconstructed the fates of individuals and revealed thereby the whole gamut of human emotions: greed for money and assets, cowardice and betrayal, as well as loyalty to one’s spouse, bravery, and moral courage. The result is an outstanding book, touching and sad, about people in extreme situations.” – Ernst Hanisch, University of Salzburg

“Singlehandedly, Professor Bukey has produced the definitive history of persecution of Austrians of Jewish heritage from Anschluss in 1938 to 1945. After all, Vienna was home to the second largest concentration of Jews and ‘mixed marriages’ in all of Hitler’s Gross Deutsches Reich. Bukey’s meticulous archival research and probing analyses present in detail how the Nazis imperiled the lives and marriages of hundreds of thousands of citizens while at the same time showing how sometimes individuals within that bureaucracy could blunt the worst of Nazi intentions. What Beate Meyer and Wolf Gruner have achieved in exposing Nazi persecution of intermarriages in Germany, Evan Bukey has matched with his exemplary history of intermarriages in Austria.” – James F. Tent, University of Alabama at Birmingham

"Evan Burr Bukey opens this fascinating book with a startling statistic: when the Nazi leadership planned to complete the genocide of European Jewry at the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, fully two-fifths of the discussions were taken up with what to do with the relatively small group of intermarried couples (one Jewish spouse and one non-Jewish) and their "mixed" offspring." -Steven Beller, HABSBURG

"By facing the painful circumstances of their situation head-on, this study offers an informed look at the lengths to which intermarried couples went to save their children and themselves in the face of Nazi persecution. It also suggests that Holocaust historians cannot afford to ignore data that leave behind a vast and unavoidable emotional wake." -Lisa Silverman, The Journal of Modern History

"...Bukey's perspective on Vienna adds a valuable voice to the ongoing exploration of life as it was lived by Jews and Gentiles alike in twentieth-century Central Europe." -Britta McEwen, Austrian History Yearbook

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107002852
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2010
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Evan Burr Bukey is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Arkansas. He is the author of Hitler's Hometown: Linz, Austria, 1908–1945 (1986) and Hitler's Austria: Popular Sentiment in the Nazi Era, 1938–1945 (2000), as well as multiple articles and reviews. Professor Bukey was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge in 1993–94 and received the National Jewish Book Award in 2000.

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Table of Contents

1. Prologue: Jews and intermarriage in Austria; 2. Contesting racial status: successes and failures; 3. Intermarried divorce, 1938–1945; 4. Tightening the noose: arrests, deportations, and forced labor, 1941–1945; 5. Epilogue and conclusions.

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