continental divide. geteilte leben
Emigration. Austria - New York
The Department of Contemporary History (Karl-Franzens-University Graz, Austria) did work on a project dealing with Austrian reparation policy for the crimes of National Socialism after 1945 (Wiedergutmachungspolitik in Österreich nach 1945).
Andrea Strutz and Manfred Lechner formed a team to produce a video-documentation based on interviews with victims of the Nazi period in Austria.
We have been in contact with emigrated Austrian Jews and non-Jews living in New York City who were forced to leave Austria in 1938 or later and /or didn´t want to return after 1945 because of what they had endured. We interviewed emigrated Austrians about their former life in Austria, their integration to American society, the living situation after 1945, what they expected to receive from the Austrian government, - not only in material terms - what they think about Austria´s reparation policy, whether they received war indemnification and what the problems in obtaining it were (Opferfürsorge, Wiedergutmachung, Entschädigung)? Unfortunately it is very hard to find Jewish victims of the Nazi regime here in Austria and it is equally difficult to get hold of documents about the indemnification in Austria, especially documents about people who left Austria and did not come back.
We interviewed people and documented these interviews on video, to have sources for futher research. Video History, the production and adaptation of audio-visual sources, has been a central focus of research and teaching of the Department of Contemporary History. We have been trying to extend the possibilities of Oral History with the help of visual media.
We were in New York City from 1st February 1996 for a two-month stay during which we visited and talked to our interview partners who were so kind to cooperate with us. The results are available know as video-documents at the Department of Contemporary History in Graz and as a special video-documentation continental divide. geteilte leben
A german summary of our New York experiences is available.
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last update april 8th, 1999