We are delighted to announce that we have partnered with the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People to publish an exclusive collection of digitized Jewish emigrant applications from interwar Vienna. The collection, which contains 228,250 records, also includes scanned images of the original documents. These valuable records provide remarkable insights into the lives of the flourishing Jewish community of Vienna, Austria at this pivotal time in world history, from 1938 to 1939.
The flourishing Jewish community in interwar Vienna was home to approximately 200,000 Jews. The “Anschluss” — the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany in March 1938 — brought an abrupt end to the community’s prosperity. In May 1938, Jews living in Austria registered with the emigration department of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (the Jewish community organization in Vienna) if they intended to leave the country and escape Nazi persecution.
Each head of household had to fill out a detailed questionnaire, containing the following information: name of the applicant, address, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, nationality, residency status in Vienna and whether and how long the applicant resided elsewhere, information about the profession and the last-held professional position, any newly learned professions, language skills, economic situation and monthly income, and additional comprehensive information related to emigration.
This emigration-related data includes information about the applicant’s possibility to obtain the necessary papers for emigration; the emigration destination; personal plans abroad; financial resources for emigration; relatives and friends abroad, especially in the destination country (including name, address, and degree of kinship); references; and passport information. In addition to the information about the applicant, the questionnaires contain information about any dependents, including degree of relationship, name, places of birth, dates of birth, and occupation. In some cases, the questionnaires also provide information about the applicant’s parents.
These “emigration sheets” form one of the most informative collections on Austrian Jews from the years 1938–39. The forms are often supplemented by additional documents, including letters, affidavits, official papers, and correspondence, as well as stamps and hand-written notes that were added as part of the file processing.
Unfortunately, the information contained in these forms was later used by the Nazis to aid them in their systematic expulsion of the Jews from Austria.
The emigration papers are part of the extensive communal archive of the Viennese Jewish Community that constitutes some of the holdings of the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (CAHJP) in Jerusalem.
The collection contains the emigration sheets of soldier Menachem Baumgarten, who escaped Vienna and after emigrating to Palestine, enlisted to fight alongside the British with 138 of his Jewish comrades. Baumgarten managed to escape from Vienna but later met a terrible fate.
Baumgarten was stationed on the S.S. Erinpura, which carried more than a thousand soldiers and crew members. German bombers spotted and attacked the ship, killing 664 soldiers, including 139 soldiers from Palestine who had enlisted in the British Army.
This emigration questionnaire includes Baumgarten’s date of birth: December 3, 1923.
The second page shares information about Menachem’s family members: his mother Irma, brother Josef, and sister Edith.
The following handwritten text in German can be found on the final page:
“Attention final processing!
Menachem (Leopold) Baumgarten, a Jew, according to his beliefs. Completely without means, applied to the social welfare office in his area of residence, his father is deceased.
Applicant is traveling with Youth Aliyah to Palestine on 15.8.1939.
In regard to his travel, he cannot afford to pay for his travel expenses, therefore he directs the expenses of the (immigration) contract to the Palestine Office (RM 166.35 + £ 1.14).
(RM – German currency, £ – Sterling)
The applicant is referred to final processing.
More than 80 years since its creation, this historically significant dataset of emigration files is now available for the first time online, providing our generation with a detailed glimpse into the Jewish community in Vienna just prior to World War II.
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If you have a family tree on MyHeritage, our Record Matching technology will notify you automatically if records from these collections match your relatives. You’ll then be able to review the record and decide if you’d like to add the new information to your family tree.
We hope this collection will be valuable for the family history research of our users.
Source: My Heritage