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Products for grant FT-254173-17

Art, Exhibition and Erasure in Nazi Vienna
Laura Morowitz, Wagner College

Grant details:

The Austrian Studies Association Conference (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: The Austrian Studies Association Conference
Author: Morowitz
Abstract: To be added at later date
Date: 05/30/18

Course, Art and Aesthetics in the Third Reich (Course or Curricular Material)
Title: Course, Art and Aesthetics in the Third Reich
Author: Morowitz
Abstract: AH 491 H: ART AND AESTHETICS IN THE THIRD REICH One of the most murderous regimes in history, the Third Reich was also one of the most deeply invested in all areas of art and aesthetics. Beyond the realm of producing propaganda in every medium, from posters to film to processions, the Nazis stole or destroyed millions of works of art throughout Europe, planned the redesign of many major cities, held the most highly attended “art” exhibit ever held and attempted to control every facet of the visual arts. This course proposes that we cannot fully understand National Socialism without understanding the aesthetic ideology of the party and of Adolf Hitler and shows how “culture was not only the end to which power should aspire, but the means of achieving it.” Topics to be explored include Hitler’s youth as a struggling painter in Vienna and his rejection from the Art Academy; the systematic expropriation of Jewish art collections and the works of foreign museums; Albert Speer’s plans for a newly designed Berlin; the 1937 Degenerate Art exhibit; the carefully designed parades, processions and rallies; and recent law cases to have stolen works of art restored to their rightful owners. The course ends with a look at memorials and museums dedicated to the Holocaust and ask whether it is possible for art, in any form, to illuminate one of the darkest chapters in human history,
Year: 2017
Audience: Undergraduate

Art, Exhibition and Erasure in Nazi Vienna (Book)
Title: Art, Exhibition and Erasure in Nazi Vienna
Author: Laura Morowitz
Editor: Isabellla Vitti
Abstract: Art, Exhibitions and Erasure in Nazi Vienna examines three exhibitions of contemporary art held at the Vienna Künstlerhaus during the period of National Socialist rule, and shows how each attempted to culturally erase elements anathema to Nazi ideology: the City, the Jewess and fin-de-siècle Vienna. Each of the exhibits was large-scale and ambitious, part of a broader attempt to situate Vienna as the cultural capital of the Reich and each aimed to reshape cultural memory and rewrite history. Held at the Vienna Künstlerhaus, the most important contemporary art space operating in Vienna during the period, these art shows served to erase events, places and people in conflict with larger Nazi ideologies. The first, “Berge und Menschen der Ostmark” (Mountains and People of the Ostmark) in 1939, erased the contributions of the city to the “real” culture and identity of the Ostmark, in favor of the rural and the regional homeland. Sponsored by the most important Nazi leader in Vienna, the second exhibition “Das schöne Wiener Frauenbild” (Beautiful Viennese Portraits) in 1942 replaced the cosmopolitan Viennese Jewess—embodied by figures like Adele Bloch-Bauer—with a new Aryan ideal, echoing the literal banishment and disappearance of Jewish women from the city. The third, the largest retrospective of Gustav Klimt’s art ever held, was organized by the Künstlerhaus in 1943 to reframe the favored son of Viennese modernism as an artist compatible with Nazi ideals. The daring, and culturally vibrant city in which Klimt worked, the center of the Habsburg Empire, was recast as an aberration at odds with the “true” history of the Ostmark, thus erasing fin-de-siècle Vienna itself.
Year: 2023
Publisher: Routledge
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: not yet
Copy sent to NEH?: No

“Reviled, Repressed, Resurrected: Vienna 1900 in the Nazi Imaginary,” (Article)
Title: “Reviled, Repressed, Resurrected: Vienna 1900 in the Nazi Imaginary,”
Author: Laura Morowitz
Abstract: Encompassing the final decades of Habsburg rule and the rise of modern culture, the cosmopolitan and Jewish Vienna of the fin de siècle was a despised locus in the Nazi historical imaginary. Vienna 1900 was a polyglot, multicultural city, a place where European Jewry had risen to unforeseen heights of economic prosperity and cultural influence; many Nazi ideologues, historians, and authors focused on the verjudet nature of late imperial Vienna. A variety of strategies were employed to distance the Nazi present from Vienna 1900; it was alternately suppressed and ignored, or deeply vilified. Yet the period was also inseparable from two figures celebrated in Nazi Vienna: mayor Karl Lueger and artist Gustav Klimt. This article examines Nazi discourse on Vienna 1900, especially that originating from Viennese writers, ideologues, and political figures. Reflecting both scholarly and popular views, I examine academic texts, books for popular readers, films, and art exhibitions. After examining the perception and appropriation of Vienna 1900 between the years 1938 and 1945, I end by exploring its instrumentalization in a different context. In an ironic twist of history, the very period suppressed and derided in Nazi discourse would in turn be called upon, by the 1970s, to distract from the shadow of the Nazi era that still hung over the city.
Year: 2022
Primary URL:
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Austrian History Yearbook
Publisher: Austrian History Yearbook

“The Nazi erasure of the fin de siècle city:From Vienna 1900 to E.M. Emo’s Wien 1910” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “The Nazi erasure of the fin de siècle city:From Vienna 1900 to E.M. Emo’s Wien 1910”
Author: Laura Morowitz
Abstract: ABSTRACT The Nazi erasure of the fin de siècle city:From Vienna 1900 to E.M. Emo’s Wien 1910 Vienna 1900 is now a celebrated lieu de memoire, but in the Nazi Weltanschauung it was decadent, degenerate and verjudete. The history of fin de siècle Vienna needed to be erased and rewritten, its culture eradicated to assimilate it into the Ostmark. But there was a problem with dismissing the period entirely; it was during that time, and within that milieu, that one of Hitler’s most beloved role models had risen to power. Ever eager to please his master, Josef Goebbels could think of no better subject for a film than Karl Lueger, mayor of Vienna from 1897 to 1910 and a figure deeply admired by Hitler. When a script appeared in 1940 for a film about Lueger and his contemporary, the pan-Germanist Georg von Schönerer, to be produced by Wien Film, Goebbels jumped at the chance; after passing through numerous script writers, the film, directed by E.M. Emo, passed the censors in August of 1942, and had its premiere in Vienna the following April. After that, it was never shown in Vienna again. In what way were these figures distanced in the film from their deep roots in the turn of the century city? What efforts were made to salvage these important and celebrated Viennese figures while continuing to malign and excoriate the culture in which they had risen to prominence and held sway? What selling points and strategies were used to make Wien 1910 a time and place worthy of attention for the film, as its history was simultaneously being distorted and erased? A look at the materials and discourse around the film, including the original publicity kit and materials, will attempt to show how these figures were positioned and portrayed in the film and divorced from the city that had produced them.
Date: 2/1/23
Secondary URL Description: please note this will happen in April 2023 but it would not let me save that way
Conference Name: Austrian Studies Association Conference

Vienna 1900/Vienna 1938 (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Vienna 1900/Vienna 1938
Author: Laura Morowitz and Megan Brandow-Faller, Panel Chairs
Abstract: ABSTRACT During the last three decades Viennese 1900 has exploded in popular culture and academia: in countless exhibitions dedicated to painting, architecture, and the applied arts, in myriad books on every well-known Viennese designer, and in the “Klimtomania” that covers umbrellas, scarves and shopping bags. Yet the popularity of Viennese Modernism and thecommercial “Vienna 1900” industry simultaneously obscures a problematic series of historical erasures and gaps. All too often, the glittering culture of “Vienna 1900” is studied in isolation from the political exigencies of 1938 and thereafter. Our panel will interrogate the intentional neglect and repression of specific figures, organizations and movements who have faded in the shadow of larger Viennese superstars and a now familiar narrative, or who have been intentionally white-washed. The papers will call attention to some of the “absences” linked directly to the years of 1938-1945, to the “de-Jewification” of the Viennese street scape, to the careful art historical narrative surrounding certain careers, to the reshaping of a “Vienna-in-Exile” within the artistic establishment of post-war New York. In addition, we will show how the very celebration of Vienna 1900 cannot be understood apart from the uses to which it was put following the war, for it cannot be denied, and indeed is richly ironic, that the same period suppressed in Nazi discourse has been used to suppress Austria’s turbulent Nazi past.
Date: 2/17/23
Conference Name: College Art Association

“Erasing the City: the 1939 Bergen und Menschen der Ostmark Ausstellung" Panel: “New Work on the Third Reich” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “Erasing the City: the 1939 Bergen und Menschen der Ostmark Ausstellung" Panel: “New Work on the Third Reich”
Author: Laura Morowitz
Abstract: Erasing the City:The 1939 “Berge und Menschen der Ostmark” Exhibit In March of 1939, one year after the Anschluss, the Vienna Künstlerhaus opened their doors to the enormous exhibit, Berge und Menschen der Ostmark. Filled with nearly 900 works by 238 contemporary artists, the show functioned to celebrate the rural Gaue, or regions, of former Austria. Paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures depicted the landscape of Ostmark--and in particular its Alpine mountains--as well as its peasants, in every mood, from the banal to the sublime. Some works showed empty, meditative landscapes, while many focused on the peasant at work in the land: logging, harvesting, planting, tilling, ploughing and building. In its later manifestation in Berlin, the exhibit included an array of folk crafts, industrial products and even regional food specialities. Although the origin of the show dated back to the period of Austro-Fascism, it took on a new urgency and message with the annexation of Austria into the Third Reich. The exhibit presented Ostmark as the “treasure-chest of the Reich” with its waterways, natural resources and farmland. It expressed, in powerful images of golden fields and soaring, snow-capped mountains, the idea of the Heimat. With its countless images of hearty farmers and braided blonde mädchen it also gave visual form to the concept of the Volksgemeinschaft. In this paper, I argue that the show also served to erase the city. Reflecting the Blut und Boden myth of National Socialism, the hundreds of works on display elevated the rural and the regional. Yet the Berge und Menschen theme was not only anti-urban in a more general sense but also aimed to displace Vienna, capital of a multicultural Empire, as the heart of the Ostmark. Cosmopolitan and entjudete Vienna was all but ignored in the imagery, aside from its older cultural achievements. Despite its fascinating expression of the ideological roots and political aims of the Anschluss, the exhibit has received
Date: 10/5/2021
Conference Name: Austrian Studies Association

Seminar Participant, “The Nazi Legacy”: Reconstruction Efforts and Memory Projects Since 1945” (Conference/Institute/Seminar)
Title: Seminar Participant, “The Nazi Legacy”: Reconstruction Efforts and Memory Projects Since 1945”
Author: Laura Morowitz
Abstract: No abstract
Date Range: 1/23-25/2021
Location: Virtual

“The schöne Wienerin, the Deutsche mädchen, and the absent Jewess: portraiture and cultural politics in Nazi Vienna” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “The schöne Wienerin, the Deutsche mädchen, and the absent Jewess: portraiture and cultural politics in Nazi Vienna”
Author: Laura Morowitz
Abstract: The schone Wienerin, the Deutsche madchen and the absent Jewess: portraiture and cultural politics in Nazi Vienna In 1942 the Künstlerhaus Wien opened an exhibition titled Das schöne Wiener Frauenbild. The show was sponsored by Baldur von Schirach, Reichstatthalter of Vienna and former leader of the Hitlerjugender.. For Schirach, the show was yet another opportunity to proclaim Vienna as the cultural capital of the Third Reich, against the firect opposition of Joser Goebbals.In contrast to the peasant mother or uniformed madchen, Viennase women would be presented as glamoroius and , charming, playing directly on Vienna’s history of portraiture and her reputation for flair and gemultichkeit. The prganizers of the show adopted many strategies to elevate Vienna’s cultural achievement and her famed beauties. One was by linking the exhibit to earlier shows and contests of that nature in 1928 and 1930?? Another was to reference the tradition of Austrian biedermeier portraits, not coincidentally beloved by Adoplf Hitler.. Yet another strategy , the focus of my paper, was specifically to focus on Vienna as a fashion capital of Europe. This played directly to Balder von Schirach’s interest, as he repeatedly aimed to establish Vienna as a city to rival Paris. The show linked to this trope of Vienna while counterpoising the uniformed madchen and peasant mother to the more charming Viennese beauty. Sheserved as a foil not only to the more pracical GErman hausfrau, but also to the Neue Fraue, who had claimed the fashion spotlight in the decade earlier. It was impossible, however, to mount such an exhibition without evoking the missing Jewess, who had dominated not only fashion, but Viennse. By 1942 her image had been laregly erased, just as the women themselves had been deported and the city made largely judenfrei. I will argue, however, that the absent presence of the Jewss continued to haunt the 1942 exhibition.
Date: 4/13/2019
Conference Name: Austrian Studies Association

“Ostmark als Bulmark: Austrian Mountains and the East in the Nazi Imaginary" “Austria and the East/Österreich und der Osten” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “Ostmark als Bulmark: Austrian Mountains and the East in the Nazi Imaginary" “Austria and the East/Österreich und der Osten”
Author: Laura Morowitz
Abstract: OSTMARK AS BULWARK: AUSTRIAN MOUNTAINS AND THE EAST IN THE NAZI IMAGINARY In March of 1938 Austria ceased to exist. It became the Ostmark, or Eastern Marches of the Third Reich. With the annexation of this territory, the Reich gained more than material treasures and a landscape of family pleasures. The Ostmark became the final frontier, the last stronghold against the human and racial “pollution” that lay beyond its border. The former Austria was no longer a gateway to Eastern Europe, but rather its barricade. Despite the term Ostmark, the regions of former Austria were not liminal places between two cultures, but the last stretches of the “not East”. The transformation of Austria into the Ostmark--or rather its “reversion”, according to Nazi history-- back to the eastern-most part of the German Reich was accompanied by a flurry of publications including history books, exhibition catalogues, tourist brochures and popular journals. The notion of Ostmark als Bolwerke forms a leitmotif throughout both “scholarly” and popular texts.The famed mountains of Carinthia, Styria and Burgenland were hailed as the natural walls preserving the racial purity and Aryan blood of the Germanic populations. In contrast to the rural, mountainous regions, standing as guardians against the encroach of the slavs, the city of Vienna could not into fit easily into this narrative. It was not only situated at the eastern reaches of the Ostmark, but in Nazi ideology--and certainly in the view of Adolf Hitler-- the city had been poisoned by its proximity to the East. As is well known, in Mein Kampf Hitler described his first encounter with a turbaned Ostjuden on the streets of Vienna. As the seat of the Hapsburg Empire, but also as the most “Eastern” of Austrian cities, Vienna remained suspect throughout the years of the Third Reich. In this paper I look at the construction of the Ostmark in Nazi discourse and publication, with special attention to its role as Bolwerke. It was in the Os
Date: 6/29/2018
Conference Name: Austrian Studies Association

Art, Representation, and Atrocity: The Visual Arts Under the Third Reich” (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Art, Representation, and Atrocity: The Visual Arts Under the Third Reich”
Abstract: Webinar discussing art in the Third Reich, the art of Holocaust victims, the Degenerate Art show, the architecture of Albert Speer, etc.
Author: Laura Morowitz
Date: 11/30/2022
Location: National WWII Museum, New Orleans
Primary URL:

“Three Questions in the Visual Art of Nazi Vienna” (Course or Curricular Material)
Title: “Three Questions in the Visual Art of Nazi Vienna”
Author: Laura Morowitz
Abstract: Lecture for students in course Viennese culture, 1890-1938, Clark University
Year: 2023
Audience: Undergraduate