Austrian State Archives

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AustriaAustria  Austrian State Archives (ÖStA)p1
Oesterreichisches Staatsarchiv.svg
State level Federation
position subordinate agency
At sight Federal Chancellery
founding 1749 as a secret house archive (Empress Maria Theresia)
Headquarters Vienna 3rd , Nottendorfer Gasse 2
management Helmut Wohnout
Central archive building of the Austrian State Archives, at Nottendorfer Gasse 2 in Vienna 3 ( Federal Office Building Erdberg )

The Austrian State Archives ( ÖStA ) in Vienna is the central archive of the Republic of Austria . It stores federal archives on the basis of the Federal Archives Act . The tasks of the Austrian State Archives are described as follows: Collecting, taking over, keeping, maintaining, repairing, organizing, developing, utilizing and making usable of federal archives for research into the past and present, for other research and science, for legislation, Jurisprudence, administration as well as for legitimate concerns of the citizens. Locking periods of up to 110 years can apply to archive holdings .

In so far as the archives to monuments is, according Denkmalschutzgesetz the Austrian State Archives in place of the Federal Monuments Office and for the preservation responsible.


The origins of the Austrian State Archives go back to 1749, when Empress Maria Theresa set up a secret house archive as part of an administrative reform . The establishment was in connection with the new, centralized administration, which also needed its own archive. Documents were brought to Vienna from other administrative centers such as Prague , Graz or Innsbruck .

When looking at the history, it should be noted that there were archives and document collections in the past, the content of which was incorporated into the new archive.

In the 19th century the name house, court and state archives then became common.

In 1951 there was a scandal because Heinz Grill , archivist in the house, court and state archives, had stolen gold and silver bulls for years and sold them to metal dealers ("Grill Affair").

The archive departments

The modern Austrian State Archives are divided into several departments:

Archives of the Republic

The Archive of the Republic , founded in 1983, is the youngest archive department. It is the center of contemporary historical research in Austria and is archivally responsible for the assessment, mapping, acceptance and safekeeping, the security, maintenance and repair, indexing, recording and utilization of those documents that are held in Austrian central authorities (all ministries , central federal agencies and subordinate agencies) have been produced since 1918.

Since the introduction of the electronic file (ELAKimBUND) in the Austrian federal administration (nationwide for all federal agencies since 2004), the archive of the republic is also responsible for the implementation of the digital archiving of this written material. Since 2007 intensive work has been carried out on a suitable solution for the long-term preservation of the "digital born" file. The digital archive Austria went into operation in 2012.

General administrative archive

The general administrative archive stores the documents of the central authorities responsible for the internal administration of the Habsburg monarchy from the 16th century, a total of 12,700 linear meters, an important collection of maps and plans and approx. 5,000 documents. The origins of the General Administrative Archives go back to the first summary of the old registries of the court chancelleries when the "Directorium in publicis et cameralibus" was founded in 1749. The archive holdings of the General Administrative Archives were significantly decimated by the Justice Palace fire in July 1927.

The archives that are kept in this department are divided into 10 thematic groups (= inventory groups), which in turn contain files from various central offices:

  1. Internal affairs group: Court Chancellery , Ministry of the Interior, police authorities, Council of Ministers, Lower Austrian Land Law, urban expansion fund
  2. Existing group Justice: Supreme Judicial Office, Ministry of Justice, Public Prosecutor's Offices, Linz Regional Court, Reich Court, Administrative Court
  3. Existing group teaching and cultus: Studienhofkommission, Ministry of Education, old and new cult
  4. Trade inventory group: Ministry of Commerce, Post Office, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Navy , Patent Office
  5. Agriculture inventory group: Ministry of Agriculture, Agrarian Operations, Vienna Forestry and Dömänendirektion, Mariabrunn Forestry School , Teaching Examination Commission, Agricultural Society
  6. Transport inventory group: United Court Chancellery, General Court Chamber, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Public Buildings, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade and Economics, Ministry of Commerce, General Inspection of the Austrian Railways, Ministry of Railways, Railway Construction Directorate, state railway administrations, private railway companies
  7. Holdings group of family archives and bequests
  8. Stock group nobility: Imperial nobility files, court nobility files, family trees
  9. Holdings group audio-visual collection: politics and public life since 1945, Austrian landscapes and buildings, customs, history, science, technology, medicine, economy, art, culture and sport
  10. Collection of plans and posters: Collection of plans from the following funds: Hofbauamt, Hofkanzlei, General Building Directorate, Lower Austrian Civil Building Directorate, Building Department of the Ministry of the Interior, Building Department of the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Public Works, State Building Directorates, Waterway Construction Directorate, Ministry of Culture and Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture Tuition, study court commission, foundation court accounting, ministry of justice, urban expansion fund

War Archives

The beginning of an orderly military archives system in the Habsburg Monarchy is to be set in 1711, when Emperor Joseph I ordered the creation of an archivist position at the Court War Council , the highest central authority for the Habsburg war system. As early as the first half of the 18th century, this court war council chancellery archive gradually developed into a kind of central military archive, especially since the chancellery archives also became a central point of contact for cartographic material when the court war council plan collection was merged with the genius archive. In addition, it was also important to learn lessons for the present and the future from past campaigns. Against this background, Emperor Joseph II ordered the record-based processing of the campaigns since 1740 in 1779. Archduke Karl also intended to continue this access to war history by initiating the creation of the Imperial and Royal War Archives in 1801. In accordance with its founding mandate, it had to collect files and maps, but also to evaluate them scientifically and journalistically.

The kk (from 1889 kuk ) war archive initially consisted of a writing department, a map archive, the library and a department for war history work. By the end of the 19th century, the war archives had taken over the majority of the military documents that had been stored elsewhere until then. During the First World War , the war archives had to deal with considerably more tasks by taking over mass documents from the front, for which the archive's staff had to be increased significantly. After the end of the war in 1918, the war archives became a civil institution, which after the collapse of the monarchy was given masses of new files to dissolved departments and previously independent archives. During the Second World War , the war archives as the Vienna Army Archives were part of the German Army Archives Organization under the command of the Wehrmacht . After considerable losses as a result of the war, the War Archives became a division of the newly created Austrian State Archives in 1945. In the years 1991–1993 , the war archive, which had been housed in the Stiftskaserne in Vienna's 7th district since 1905, was moved to the central archive building in Vienna III.

The war archive comprises around 180,000 file boxes and 60,000 business books on around 50 kilometers of shelf shelves, making it by far the most important military archive in Central Europe. His map collection with over 600,000 maps and plans is the largest in Austria. There is also a collection of around 400,000 images. The former library of the war archive is one of the most extensive collections of older military-historical specialist literature.

The war archive's holdings, which are grouped into 22 holdings and whose structure reflects these two fundamentally different archive traditions to this day, can be roughly divided into five large blocks:

  1. Personnel records for officers, non-commissioned officers, men and officials in the armed forces from around 1740 to 1918; Reward files (1789–1958), i.e. documents on military awards to which the archive of the Military Maria Theresa Order is attached.
  2. Field files with material on the operations of the imperial and kk field armies from the 16th century to 1882 (old field files and army files) and on World War 1914–1918 ( army command , new field files).
  3. Supreme command , central, intermediate and territorial authorities. This group bundles the documents of important institutions in the vicinity of the emperor (especially the military chancellery, the general adjutantur and the general staff), the military central offices ( Hofkriegsrat 1557–1848, Ministry of War 1848–1918, Ministry of National Defense 1868–1918) and a number of others Authorities, institutions and territorial commands such as the Invalid Office, the Apostolic Field Vicariate , the highest genius and artillery authorities, the military education and training institutions, the houses for the disabled and individual general and military commands in the countries.
  4. Navy and Air Force (19th - 20th centuries)
  5. Collections, including in particular the map and plan collection, the picture collection, the manuscripts and a very important collection of military writings.

The war archive, part of the State Archives since 1945, is now a "historical archive". The official documents kept here essentially end with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy at the end of the First World War (1918). The collections of the war archive, on the other hand, are constantly growing.

Finance and Court Chamber Archives

Entrance to the Hofkammerarchiv in Johannesgasse

The Finance and Court Chamber Archives came into being in 1945 when the previously separate holdings of the Court Chamber Archives and the Financial Archives were merged. The court chamber, founded in 1527, was the central financial authority of the Habsburg monarchy. In 1848 the newly founded Ministry of Finance took over its duties. The archive contains financial records that are particularly important to historians. In the historical archive building in Johannesgasse, the management room of Franz Grillparzer , who was director from 1832 to 1856, is still preserved. On December 1, 2006, the Finance and Court Chamber Archives department was incorporated into the General Administrative Archives. Most of the archive material was moved to the central archive building in Nottendorfergasse.

House, court and state archives

The house, court and state archives on Minoritenplatz
Board at the State Archives

The House, Court and State Archives , Minoritenplatz 1, was founded in 1749 by Maria Theresa (1740–1780) as the central archive of the House of Habsburg. The creation of a well-organized document depot, which united the important house and state documents in Vienna, which had been scattered over several locations, was intended to ensure that the dynasty's legal and rulership titles were quickly available in future when required.

The main focus of the holdings of the house, court and state archives, which are now divided into 11 groups, are:

  • the history of the House of Habsburg
  • the activities of the highest court offices and the imperial cabinet
  • Diplomacy and Foreign Policy of the Danube Monarchy
  • Supreme administration and jurisdiction in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, whose imperial dignity the Habsburgs held for centuries with almost no interruption until the dissolution of the Imperial Union in 1806.

Also to be mentioned are manorial and family archives deposited in the house, court and state archives, estates, a collection of manuscripts, a collection of seal casts and stamps as well as a collection of plans and maps.

The highlight among the “collections” of the archives department is without a doubt the collection of documents made up of various provenances.

In total, the House, Court and State Archives department housed in a listed purpose-built archive building on Vienna's Minoritenplatz, built in 1899–1902, keeps 130,000 business books and file boxes, 75,000 documents, 15,000 maps and plans and around 3,000 manuscripts over 16,000 linear meters.

The oldest piece is a document issued by Emperor Ludwig the Pious in 816. The year 1918 marks the end of the period. The house, court and state archives are thus one of the “historical” departments of the Austrian State Archives, which are no longer expanded by the delivery of documents from Austrian federal ministries.

The great importance of the house, court and state archives for international research is based on the wide geographical catchment area and the diversity of its holdings. Due to the territorial expansion of the Habsburg rule from the 15th century and the literally global relationships of the dynasty, the archive material stored here includes practically all continents.

In addition to the “classic” approach to diplomatic and political history, the archive also offers a wealth of material for research oriented towards social and cultural history.

Restoration workshop

The restoration workshop of the ÖStA is one of the most important restoration workshops for paper, parchment, seals and bookbinding in Austria , along with those of the National Library and the Federal Monuments Office .

Well-known employees of the Austrian State Archives

  • Joseph Knechtl (1771–1838), archivist 1806–1834, director 1834–1838
  • Johann Baptist Schels (1780–1847), head of the library of the war archives and employee at the war archives
  • Ludwig Bittner (1877–1945), archivist 1904–1945
  • Lothar Gross (1887–1944), director of the house, court and state archives
  • Leo Santifaller (1890–1974), General Manager 1945–1955
  • Theophila Wassilko (1893–1973), senior state archivist and deputy head of the general archives 1956–1959
  • Gebhard Rath (1902–1979), General Manager 1956–1968
  • Hanns Leo Mikoletzky (1907–1978), General Director 1968–1972
  • Heinz Grill (1909–1983), archivist (1946–1951)
  • Walter Goldinger (1910–1990), General Manager 1973
  • Anna Coreth (1915–2008), director of the house, court and state archives
  • Rudolf Neck (1921–1999), General Director of the Austrian State Archives 1979–1986
  • Erika Weinzierl (1925–2014), archivist at the House, Court and State Archives 1948–1964
  • Kurt Peball (1928–2009), General Manager 1987–1993
  • Gottfried Mraz (1935–2010), Director of the Finance and Court Chamber Archives 1986–1998, Head of the House, Court and State Archives 1991–1998
  • Clemens Höslinger (* 1933), librarian from 1959 to 1993
  • Leopold Auer (* 1944), Director of the House, Court and State Archives 1999–2008
  • Lorenz Mikoletzky (* 1945), General Director 1994–2011
  • Hubert Steiner (* 1957), head of the department for finances, asset deprivation and restitution in the archive of the republic
  • Wolfgang Maderthaner (* 1954), General Manager April 2012 - May 2019
  • Manfred Fink, General Director (interim) 2019, Director of the Republic Archives Department
  • Helmut Wohnout (* 1964), General Manager from November 1, 2019


The Austrian State Archive publishes the journal Mitteilungen des Österreichisches Staatsarchiv (MÖStA) , which has been published in annual volumes since 1948. In addition, archive inventories, supplementary volumes to the communications and exhibition catalogs are published. The publications of the Austrian State Archives can also be accessed digitally.

See also


  • Wilhelm Kraus : 10 years of the Austrian State Archives 1945–1955 . In: Communications from the Austrian State Archives 8 (1955), pp. 238–304.
  • G. Wolf: History of the kk archives in Vienna , Wilhelm Braumüller, Vienna 1871, ( online in the Google book search USA )

Web links

Commons : Austrian State Archives  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Wohnout becomes the new head of the Austrian State Archives. In: Salzburger Nachrichten . October 30, 2019, accessed October 31, 2019 .
  2. Federal Archives Act ( Federal Law Gazette I No. 162/1999 )
  3. Federal Act on the Safeguarding, Storage and Use of Federal Archives (Federal Archives Act) Release of archival material for use, protection periods and publication of works , Federal Law Gazette I No. 162/1999
  4. ↑ Official secret: restricted access
  5. Michael Hochedlinger: History of the Secret House Archive (pdf; 199 kB) ( Memento of the original from August 24, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. Digital long-term archiving ( Memento from April 26, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  7. War Archive - History ( Memento of the original from January 11, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Austrian State Archives @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. Restoration workshop in the central archive building
  9. Nekrolog Joseph Knechtl. In:  Wiener Zeitung , May 7, 1838, p. 3 (online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz.
  10. ^ Thomas Just: Ludwig Bittner (1877-1945). A political archivist . In: Karel Hruza (Ed.): Österreichische Historiker, 1900 −1945: CVs and careers in Austria, Germany and Czechoslovakia . Böhlau, Vienna 2008, ISBN 978-3-205-77813-4 , p. 283–305 ( digitized online in the Internet Archive (PDF; 387 kB)).
  11. Gebhard Rath estate. In: Archive Plan Context. Austrian State Archives, accessed on November 8, 2017 .
  12. ^ Entry on Mikoletzky, Hanns Leo in the Austria Forum  (in the AEIOU Austria Lexicon ).
  13. ^ Entry on Goldinger, Walter in the Austria Forum  (in the AEIOU Austria Lexicon ).
  14. ^ Leopold Auer: Anna Coreth (1915-2008). (No longer available online.) Austrian State Archives, June 12, 2008, archived from the original on September 22, 2017 ; accessed on June 1, 2019 .
  15. Manfred Fink: General Director i. R. Councilor Dr. Kurt Peball (1928-2009). (No longer available online.) Austrian State Archives, November 13, 2009, archived from the original on September 22, 2017 ; accessed on June 1, 2019 .
  16. ^ Ernst Petritz: Leopold Auer in retirement. (No longer available online.) Austrian State Archives, November 26, 2008, archived from the original on September 22, 2017 ; accessed on June 1, 2019 .
  17. ^ Entry on Mikoletzky, Lorenz in the Austria Forum  (in the AEIOU Austria Lexicon ).
  18. Mailath-Pokorny awards high honors to historians Hodik and Steiner . In: . January 29, 2010, accessed June 1, 2019.
  19. Award. (No longer available online.) Austrian State Archives, November 26, 2008, archived from the original on September 22, 2017 ; accessed on June 1, 2019 .
  20. State Archives are looking for new management . Article dated April 19, 2019, accessed April 19, 2019.
  21. Thomas Winkelbauer : SOS State Archives: This handling is a shame! In: The press . July 17, 2019, accessed July 17, 2019 .
  22. Publications of the Austrian State Archives - digital offer ( English ) HUNGARICANA. Retrieved March 15, 2019.