Erika Weinzierl

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Erika Weinzierl (née Fischer ; born June 6, 1925 in Vienna ; † October 28, 2014 there ) was an Austrian historian who has made outstanding contributions to Austrian contemporary history research. She headed the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History of Social Sciences and was a full professor at the University of Salzburg and the University of Vienna . For a long time she was one of the few women in German-speaking countries and the only one in Austria on a history professorship. She has received numerous awards for her scholarly and civil society critical examination of National Socialism. For many years she was in charge of the campaign against anti-Semitism in Austria , of which she later became honorary president.


Erika Weinzierl in 1925 as a subsidiary of the social democratic and humanistic oriented teacher Otto Fischer (1897-1956), as last district school in Vienna, and its from Pola (d. 1925) derived teacher wife, Maria (1897-1985), daughter of Alexander Dini, last Colonel in the kk Landwehr , born in Vienna. Weinzierl's parents separated in their late childhood. Due to their socialization, mother and father were immunized against National Socialism; However, her father was unable to make a career after the Austrian Civil War (1934).

Erika grew up in Vienna and attended elementary school in Vienna's 6th district ( Mariahilf ). During her school days in Austria "affiliated" in 1938 , she had been friends with her peers of Jewish origin (so-called " Jewish half-breeds ") despite the social conditions . After the early maturation in February 1943 at the time the only humanistic girls' school (in the Rahlgasse) in Vienna-Mariahilf which to emigrate from the Classicist Gertrud Herzog-Hauser had been passed, it was by the Nazis for about one and a half years to Reichsarbeitsdienst used : She completed this as a farmer's maid on a farm in Lower Austria's Waldviertel , as a tram attendant in Vienna, as an auxiliary nurse in the reserve hospital II in the then Hotel Münchner Hof (already as a student) and as an auxiliary worker in an armaments factory in the Arsenal in the 3rd district of Vienna ( Landstrasse ).

In the summer semester of 1944 , at her father's request , she enrolled to study medicine at the medical faculty. Even in the time of National Socialism she belonged in the unofficial Catholic student pastoral care (predecessor of the Catholic university community) - as well as Kurt Schubert , Wilhelm F. Czerny , Kurt Skalnik and Hans Tuppy as well as Otto Mauer , another landmark - the circle around the priest Karl Strobl who was in the resistance . Towards the end of the war, she said she unwittingly spread news (in the sense of) of the bourgeois-conservative resistance group O5 .

After attending lectures in various humanities on the advice of Czerny, in 1945 she began studying history and art history at the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Vienna . She heard u. a. with Victor Kraft , Alois Dempf , Alfons Lhotsky and Leo Santifaller. In addition to studying, from which she graduated in 1948, she was active in the Catholic Student Youth of Austria and the Union of Students (ÖH) in the conservative outdoors Austrian Student Union (Föst). It was there that she met her future husband. From 1946 to 1948, in addition to her studies, she completed the time-consuming, but necessary for archival service, 44th course of the Vienna Institute for Austrian Historical Research (IÖG), from which she passed the state examination in summer 1948 . The examination work on the Millstatt document book was carried out by the medievalist and archivist Leo Santifaller . At the end of 1948 she was promoted to Dr. at Santifaller through the history of the Millstatt Benedictine monastery in Carinthia. phil. PhD. The work went to print in 1951 at the publishing house of the History Association for Carinthia .

From 1948 (before her doctorate) to 1964 she worked as an archivist in the federal service (Maturantenstelle) at the House, Court and State Archives (HHStA) in Vienna, which was under the general management of Leo Santifaller and later Gebhard Rath , where she was responsible for documents , Exhibitions and editing the communications of the Austrian State Archives (MÖSTA). She completed her habilitation - she used the afternoons in the archive - in 1961 with Alfons Lhotsky , who held a professorship for Austrian history , at the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Vienna with a thesis on The Austrian Concordats of 1855 and 1933 and soon became a university lecturer in Austrian history Church history of modern times.

As a weekend commuter between Vienna and Salzburg , she was appointed to the Institute for Contemporary Church History of the International Research Center (ifz) , then headed by Benedictine Father Thomas Michels , in Salzburg in 1964 , and on whose board she remained until 1992. In addition, after her re- habilitation , she became an associate professor from 1967 and from 1969 a full professor for Austrian history with a special focus on contemporary history at the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Salzburg , which was re-established in the 1960s . At that time, Salzburg was the third most important Austrian location for contemporary history after Vienna ( Ludwig Jedlicka ) and Linz ( Karl R. Stadler ) . Her sensational inaugural lecture on June 11, 1968 dealt with the relationship between science and politics, especially during the period of the First Republic . As a Salzburg professor, until 1970 she was one of only four women who held a full history professorship at German-speaking universities. She was the only professor in this field in Austria for much longer. Weinzierl's successor in Salzburg was her former assistant, Ernst Hanisch .

From 1977 Weinzierl headed the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History of Social Sciences in Salzburg, which she co-founded , most recently together with Siegfried Mattl and Oliver Rathkolb . There she promoted the historical studies of Wolfgang Huber on psychoanalysis and psychology . Together with Christian Broda (SPÖ), Minister of Justice, she established the Justice and Contemporary History series, initially co-edited by Karl R. Stadler and Rudolf G. Ardelt , and later by Oliver Rathkolb and Siegfried Mattl ( Verlag Jugend & Volk ). In 1979 the institute (since 1991 for history and society) was relocated to Vienna.

From 1979 until her retirement in 1995 she was the successor of Ludwig Jedlicka, the founder of scientific contemporary history research in Austria who died in 1977, full professor for modern history with special emphasis on modern history at the Institute for Contemporary History of the University of Vienna , of which she was a member . In the appeal process, she sat down u. a. against the German historian Hans Mommsen . Her chair successor (1997) was Gerhard Botz , who was influenced by Karl Stadler in Linz .

Her academic students in Salzburg and Vienna included u. a. Gabriele Anderl , Erna M. Appelt , Rudolf G. Ardelt, Peter Autengruber , Brigitte Bailer , Gertrude Burcel , Bernhard Denscher , Günter Fellner , Florian Freund , Adolf Gaisbauer , Winfried Garscha , Eduard Gugenberger , Ernst Hanisch, Gottfried Köfner , Siegfried Mattl , Brigitte Mazohl , Finbarr McLoughlin , Klaus-Dieter Mulley , Rudolf Müllner , Norbert Nemec , Marcus G. Patka , Béla Rásky , Oliver Rathkolb, Robert Rill , Roman Schweidlenka , Irene Schöffmann , Robert Streibel , Paul Tesarek , Erika Thurner , Sandra Wiesinger-Stock and Christine Wiesmüller .

Honorary grave of Erika Weinzierl

Lifelong friendship with Herbert Steiner , founder of the Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance (DÖW), she worked in 1998 on the DÖW exhibition 1938. National Socialist rule in Austria .

In 1948 she married the experimental physicist Peter Weinzierl (1923–1996), later a full professor of physics at the University of Vienna and the son of Moriz Weinzierl . Her sons are the historian Michael Weinzierl (1950–2002), associate professor for modern history, and the German studies specialist and features editor Ulrich Weinzierl (born 1954). Erika Weinzierl died on October 28, 2014 at the age of 89 in Vienna. She was buried on November 10, 2014 in the presence of Federal President Heinz Fischer at the Vienna Central Cemetery in an honorary grave of the City of Vienna .

Scientific work

Weinzierl was seen in science and the media as " Mother Courage " ( Ernst Hanisch 1985) or " Grande Dame " or " Doyenne " of Austrian contemporary history research.

Her main research topics were a. Catholicism (church history) and anti-Semitism, but also resistance to National Socialism, exile and emigration research and historical women's research. The public paid particular attention to her research on contemporary Austrian history , for example on the role of the Roman Catholic Church during the National Socialist era . Her habilitation thesis The Austrian Concordates of 1855 and 1933 (1960) became a standard work and paved her later success. A special focus of her research was the relationship between Austrians and Jews, which one of her most important book titles identified as Too Little Righteous (1969).

Sociopolitical action

Apart from her university career, Weinzierl was also involved in social policy. As a pacifist , she rejected nuclear armament in the Cold War , advocated a humane asylum and migration policy and, early on, urged a comprehensive and taboo-free discussion of the National Socialist history of Austria .

Weinzierl was firmly anchored in the Catholic milieu and was considered to be “liberal-Catholic” ( Ernst Hanisch ), although she once referred to herself as a “left Catholic ”. For about 30 years she was a rather passive member of the ÖVP or a member of the Austrian Workers' Union and at times vice-president of the Catholic Academic Association in Catholic Action . Since the 1960s she has campaigned for a dialogue between Catholics and the SPÖ . In the Kreisky-Peter-Wiesenthal affair in the mid-1970s, she criticized the behavior of Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky (SPÖ) towards Simon Wiesenthal . The internationally respected scientist and socio-politically committed democrat became an enemy of German national circles in the 1980s . She criticized Jörg Haider , federal party leader of the FPÖ , who u. a. was accused of playing down National Socialism. In public she appeared u. a. 1993 at the large- scale demonstration of the sea ​​of ​​lights against Austria's first popular petition at Heldenplatz. Like other prominent scientists, she was repeatedly "attacked" by the Haider-FPÖ in defamatory and propagandistic ways because of her work. She resigned from the ÖVP in 1995: the reason for this was, as she explained, the rapprochement between Federal Party Chairman Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP) and the Haider-FPÖ (see Federal Government Schüssel I ).

In an obituary published online, the historian Wolfgang Neugebauer attested her an " Austrian patriotism ", which "was based on positive traditions of Austrian history [...] and on the inclusion of religious and ethnic minorities and was inextricably linked with the commitment to democracy and human rights ".


Weinzierl was a (honorary) member of numerous scientific and civil society organizations: she was the long-time president (from 1973) and later honorary president (from 1992) of the Aktion gegen den Antisemitismus , vice-president of the Sigmund Freud Society , scientific advisory board member and member of the honorary committee of the Institute Wiener Kreis , member of the board of trustees of the Bruno Kreisky Archive , founding member of the Commission for Modern History of Austria (from 1978 representative of contemporary history) member of the board of trustees of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism , member of the Justitia et Pax commission of the Austrian Bishops' Conference , Chairwoman of the Austrian Society for Contemporary History , advisory board member of the Topography of Terror in Berlin, advisory board member of the Jewish Museum Vienna , advisory board member of the Austrian-Israeli Society , co-founder and later honorary president of the Ö Austrian Society for Exile Research , Honorary Member of the Theodor Kramer Society, Chairwoman of the Advisory Board of the Volkstheater Foundation , Member of the Documentation Archive Association of the Austrian Resistance , Member of the Board of Trustees of the Mauthausen Committee Austria , Co-founder of the Society for Political Enlightenment , Member of the Independent Historical Commission Liechtenstein Second World War (2001-2005), Chairwoman of the Board of the Democracy Center Vienna and member of the board of AMCHA (Committee for the Promotion of Psychosocial Care of Survivors and Relatives of the Holocaust), member of the scientific advisory board of Der Donauraum. Journal of the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe and member of the jury for the Bruno Kreisky Prize for services to human rights .


Weinzierl received a. a. the following awards:

Further appreciation

The Erika Weinzierl Prize , established by her, was named after her in 2002 and is awarded every two years for theses in the field of women's and gender studies at the University of Salzburg .

In view of her performance, a classroom at the University of Vienna has been named after her since June 2016 .


Erika Weinzierl was jointly responsible for around 700 titles. She was the author of books and numerous articles and contributions as well as the editor or co-editor of 30 books, the monthly and bimonthly magazine zeitgeschichte (from 1973) as well as the series of publications of the Institute for Church Contemporary History , publications of the Historical Institute of the University of Salzburg , Publications by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History of Social Sciences (with Wolfgang Huber ) and materials on contemporary history (with Rudolf G. Ardelt and Karl Stuhlpfarrer ).

  • History of the Benedictine monastery Millstatt in Carinthia (= archive for patriotic history and topography , volume 33). Verlag des Geschichtsverein für Kärnten, Klagenfurt 1951 (= also dissertation, University of Vienna, 1948; partly in Middle High German and Latin).
  • The Austrian Concordats of 1855 and 1933. Verlag für Geschichte und Politik, Vienna 1960 (= plus habilitation thesis, University of Vienna, 1960) (Oldenbourg, Munich 1960)
  • (in collaboration with Peter Hofrichter ): Austria, Contemporary History in Pictures, 1918–1968 . Tyrolia, Innsbruck u. a. 1968. (2nd supplemented edition, 1975, ISBN 3-7022-1212-4 )
  • Too few righteous . Austrians and persecution of Jews 1938–1945. Styria, Graz a. a. 1969 (4th expanded edition, 1997, ISBN 3-222-12502-3 )
  • Emancipated ?. Austrian women in the 20th century . Youth and People, Vienna a. a. 1975, ISBN 3-8113-7418-4 .
  • (with Kurt Skalnik ): Austria 1918–38. History of the 1st Republic . 2 volumes, Styria, Granz a. a. 1983, ISBN 3-222-11456-0 .
  • Ecclesia semper reformanda. Contributions to Austrian church history in the 19th and 20th centuries . Geyer, Vienna 1985.
  • (Ed. with Anton Pelinka ): The great taboo: Austria's handling of its past . Verlag der Österreichische Staatsdruckerei, Vienna 1987, ISBN 3-7046-0067-9 . (2nd edition, Verlag Österreich, 1997, ISBN 3-7046-1094-1 )
  • (with the assistance of Ursula Schulmeister): test stand. Austria's Catholics and National Socialism. Verlag St. Gabriel, Mödling 1988, ISBN 3-85264-316-3 .
  • (Ed. with Otto Kulka ; in collaboration with Gabriele Anderl et al.): Expulsion and a new beginning. Israeli citizens of Austrian origin. With a foreword by Ernst L. Ehrlich , Böhlau, Vienna 1992, ISBN 3-205-05561-6 .
  • (Ed. with Oliver Rathkolb , Siegfried Mattl ): Justice and Xenophobia [Justice and Contemporary History Symposium, October 23 and 24, 1997 in Vienna] (= publications by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society, History Cluster . Vol. 29 ). Studien-Verlag, Innsbruck u. a. 1999, ISBN 3-7065-1401-X .
  • (Ed. with Sandra Wiesinger-Stock , Konstantin Kaiser ): From going away. On the exile of art and science (= exile research today . Vol. 1). Mandelbaum-Verlag, Vienna 2006, ISBN 3-85476-182-1 .

Conversations / reports:


  • Rudolf G. Ardelt , Wolfgang JA Huber, Anton Staudinger (eds.): Suppression and emancipation. Festschrift for Erika Weinzierl on her 60th birthday . Hölzl, Vienna 1985.
  • Weinzierl, Erika. Publications and teaching. For the 70th birthday . Edited by the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Vienna and the Austrian Society for Contemporary History, Vienna 1995.
  • Oliver Rathkolb : Weinzierl, Erika . In: Brigitta Keintzel, Ilse Korotin (ed.): Scientists in and from Austria. Life - work - work . Böhlau, Vienna a. a. 2002, ISBN 3-205-99467-1 , p. 795 ff.
  • Weinzierl, Erika . In: Fritz Fellner , Doris A. Corradini: Austrian History in the 20th Century. A biographical-bibliographical lexicon (= publications of the Commission for Modern History of Austria. Vol. 99). Böhlau, Vienna a. a. 2006, ISBN 978-3-205-77476-1 , pp. 444-445.
  • Manfried Welan : Erika Weinzierl . In: Carmen Wappel, Peter Danich , Dietmar Halper , Christian Sebastian Moser: Keyword givers : 14 portraits of successful women from politics and business (= Edition Noir . 1). Verlag Noir, Vienna 2008, ISBN 978-3-9502494-9-1 , p. 181 ff.
  • Ernst Hanisch : Obituary: Erika Weinzierl † . In: Mitteilungen des Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung 123 (2015) 2, pp. 580–582.
  • Oliver Rathkolb: Erika Weinzierl. A historian as a critical voice in the late II. Republic In: Mitchell G. Ash , Josef Ehmer (Ed.): University - Politics - Society (=  650 years University of Vienna - departure into the new century. Vol. 2). V & R Unipress, Vienna University Press, Göttingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-8471-0413-1 , p. 341 ff.
  • Weinzierl, Erika. In: Ilse Korotin (ed.): BiografıA. Lexicon of Austrian Women. Volume 3: P-Z. Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Weimar 2016, ISBN 978-3-205-79590-2 , p. 3495 f.


  • Erika Weinzierl - A portrait . Film by Peter Grundei and Ronald P. Vaughan [for their 85th birthday]. ORF, Austria 2010.

Web links

Commons : Erika Weinzierl  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b c Fritz Fellner , Doris A. Corradini: Austrian History in the 20th Century. A biographical-bibliographical lexicon . Vienna 2006, p. 444.
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Ilse Korotin (Ed.): BiografıA. Lexicon of Austrian Women. Volume 3: P-Z. Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Weimar 2016, ISBN 978-3-205-79590-2 , p. 3495 f.
  3. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Oliver Rathkolb: Erika Weinzierl. A historian as a critical voice in the late II. Republic In: Mitchell G. Ash , Josef Ehmer (Ed.): University - Politics - Society . Göttingen 2015, p. 341 ff.
  4. a b c Fritz Fellner : "… a truly patriotic work". The Commission for Modern History of Austria 1897–2000 (= publications of the Commission for Modern History of Austria . Vol. 91). Böhlau, Vienna a. a. 2001, ISBN 3-205-99376-4 , p. 282.
  5. a b c d Oliver Rathkolb : Weinzierl, Erika . In: Brigitta Keintzel, Ilse Korotin (ed.): Scientists in and from Austria. Life - work - work . Vienna 2002, p. 795 ff.
  6. "I was always interested in people" (conversation with Hubert Christian Ehalt ). In: Katja Sindemann , Toni Badinger (Red.): Conversations at the moment . Vienna 1996, p. 180.
  7. Alexander Pinwinkler : The "founding generation" of the University of Salzburg. Biographies, networks, appointment policy, 1960–1975. Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Weimar 2020, ISBN 978-3-205-20937-9 , pp. 136–146.
  8. a b Klaus Taschwer : Historian Erika Weinzierl died at the age of 89. In: Der Standard , October 28, 2014.
  9. Lukas Wieselberg: Groundbreaking inaugural lecture 50 years ago. In: Science , June 27, 2018.
  10. a b Anita Prettenthaler-Ziegerhofer: Building site Europe. The Austrian Catholic Church and the beginnings of European integration . In: Yearbook for European History 9 (2008). P. 49 (51).
  11. ^ Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society , Clio-online , April 4, 2011.
  12. Helmut Konrad : From Linz. The formation of contemporary Austrian history . In: Stefan Benedikt u. a. (Ed.): Explorations: Zur Zeitgeschichte . Böhlau, Vienna a. a. 2016, ISBN 978-3-205-20337-7 , pp. 28, 35.
  13. a b c d e Erika Weinzierl (1925–2014) , Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance, accessed on August 9, 2016.
  14. Erika Weinzierl buried in the grave of honor , , accessed on November 10, 2014.
  15. ^ Ernst Hanisch : Mother Courage of Austrian Contemporary History . In: Erika Weinzierl: Ecclesia semper reformanda. Contributions to Austrian church history in the 19th and 20th centuries . Geyer, Vienna a. a. 1985, p. 21 ff.
  16. ^ Ingrid Bauer : Women's research and contemporary history. Five theses on an as yet unexplained relationship . That. (Ed.): Österreichischer Zeitgeschichtag 1993. May 24-27, 1993 in Innsbruck . Österreichischer Studienverlag, Innsbruck a. a. 1995, ISBN 3-7065-1111-8 , p. 161.
  17. Helmut Mayer: Working on uncomfortable questions. On the death of the Austrian historian Erika Weinzierl . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, October 30, 2014, p. 11.
  18. Lorenz Mikoletzky : Obituary Erika Weinzierl , Austrian State Archives, accessed on August 9, 2016.
  19. Ernst Hanisch : The dominance of the state. Austrian contemporary history at the hub of politics and science . In: Alexander Nützenadel , Wolfgang Schieder (Hrsg.): Contemporary history as a problem. National traditions and perspectives of research in Europe (= history and society . Special issue 20). Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 2004, ISBN 3-525-36420-2 , p. 56.
  20. Alexander Pollak : Past and Reflection. Lines of consensus and disputes in dealing with the Nazi past in Austria . Martin Sabrow , Ralph Jessen , Klaus Große Kracht (eds.): Contemporary history as a history of controversy. Great controversies since 1945 (= Beck series . Vol. 1544). Beck, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-49473-0 , p. 338 f.
  21. ^ Brigitte Bailer , Wolfgang Neugebauer : The FPÖ. From liberalism to right-wing extremism . In: Ders .: Handbook of Austrian Right-Wing Extremism . Edited by the Documentation Archive of Austrian Resistance , 2nd edition, Deuticke, Vienna 1993, ISBN 3-216-30053-6 , p. 383 f.
  22. ^ Wolfgang Neugebauer : Together against anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism . Society for Political Enlightenment, accessed August 10, 2016.
  23. Der Wiener Kreis ,, accessed on August 10, 2016.
  24. ^ On the history of the Commission for Modern History in Austria ,, accessed on August 10, 2016.
  25. About us ,, accessed on August 10, 2016.
  26. Theodor Kramer Society ,, accessed on August 10, 2016th
  27. Imprint ,, accessed on August 10, 2016.
  28. a b Erika Weinzierl has died. In: ORF , October 28, 2014.
  29. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF; 6.9 MB)
  30. ^ Ring of honor for Prof. Erika Weinzierl City Hall correspondence of April 29, 2002, accessed on May 28, 2010.
  31. Erika Weinzierl Prize and Scholarship ( Memento of the original from January 21, 2015 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. . Accessed on January 21, 2015.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  32. - New questions for old texts . Article from December 26, 2014, accessed on January 21, 2015.
  33. University of Vienna names lecture hall after historian Erika Weinzierl on ORF accessed on June 2, 2016