Austria as "Waiting Room" after 1945. Jewish Displaced Persons
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
The Second International Oral History Conference
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
In the re-established Republic of Austria, the province of Upper Austria became a central point of migratory and refugee movements. One of the largest groups of refugees and dislocated persons in Austria consisted of Jewish men, women and children. The US-authorities designated them as ?Jewish displaced persons? (DPs) and the paper is focussing on this group. The reasons for their stay in Austria were different. Prominent Jewish DPs in Upper Austria were for example Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal, the later president of the Knesseth, Shewach Weiss or US-American ADL-leader Abraham Foxman. Linz, the capital of Upper Austria was widely known as Hitler´s favourite town, this had consequences for the narratives of the Jewish DP´s, but primarily for the second generation. This paper focuses on a collection of interviews concerning the years 1945-1951. Different groups of testimonies, who lived in the US-American zone in Austria, especially in Upper Austria, have been interviewed about the Jewish DPs. On the basis of interview sources the question gets touched how the migration from Central Europe enabled the creation and construction of new identities in the destination countries. Looking at Austria itself, the Moscow Declaration of 1943, categorizing Austria as Hitler´s first victim should have long lasting consequences for Austrian and US-policy and for the collective memory of the local population (?victim myth?). The paper intends to explore the place of politics in the above mentioned specific oral history generated recollections. The interpretation and re-interpretation of postwar-memories is regarded to be a topic in the final section of the presentation. In the light of contemporary, very actual refugee movements from Near East to the European Union, the handling of the displaced persons and the refugee flows of the postwar period could be discussed now as quite successful mangement.