Austrian Americans

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Author: J. Sydney Jones
Editor: Thomas Riggs
Date: 2014
Publisher: Gale, a Cengage Company
Document Type: Topic overview
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Austrian Americans

J. Sydney Jones


Austrian Americans are immigrants or descendants of people from Austria, a landlocked country in central Europe. Austria is bordered by Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein to the west; the Czech Republic to the north; Slovakia and Hungary to the east; and Slovenia and Italy to the south. The Danube River, Europe's second-longest river and the only major European river that flows eastward, flows through Austria. The total land area of the country is 31,832 square miles (82,445 square kilometers), about twice the size of Switzerland and slightly smaller than the state of Maine.

According to the CIA World Factbook, Austria's population was 8,219,743 in July 2012. Most Austrians (73.6 percent) are Roman Catholics. The rest of the population is divided among Protestants (4.7 percent), Muslims (4.2 percent), and other faiths (3.5 percent). More than 10 percent of Austrians identify with no religious group. In 2011 Austria's GDP per capita was $42,400, making it the eighteenth-wealthiest country in the world. The Austrian economy is heavily dependent upon a large service sector, which in 2011 contributed nearly 70 percent of the nation's GDP.

Although Austrians began immigrating to the British colonies in the New World before the United States existed as a nation, it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that they began arriving in significant numbers. Between 1860 and 1900 the number of German-speaking Austrians in the United States increased dramatically, reaching 275,000 by 1900. They settled primarily in urban centers of the United States where they were able to find jobs in the stockyards of Chicago and the coal mines of Pennsylvania. In the first two decades after World War II, a new wave of Austrians from many different backgrounds immigrated to the United States to escape the chaos and desolation of their homeland in the immediate postwar era. As Austria developed into a democratic nation with a stable economy, immigration to the United States declined and by 2012 had become negligible.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that in 2010 there were 684,214 people of Austrian descent living in the United States, a number comparable to the population of El Paso, Texas. Less than 0.2 percent of the population identify themselves as Austrian, as compared to 13 percent of the population who identify themselves as being of German ancestry. The states with the highest number of Austrian Americans among their inhabitants include New York, California, and Pennsylvania.


Early History Austria's very name denotes its history. Ostmark or Ostarichi (“eastern provinces” or “borderland”), as it was known during the reign of Charlemagne (768–814), eventually became the German Österreich, or “Austria” in Latin. As an eastern kingdom—more bulwark than principality, more fortress than palace—Austria bordered the civilized world. The first human inhabitants of this rugged environment were Stone Age hunters who lived 80,000 to 150,000 years ago. Permanent settlements were established in early Paleolithic times. Though little remains of that distant period, an early Iron Age settlement was unearthed at Hallstatt in the western lake district of present-day Austria. The Celts arrived around 400 BCE, and the Romans, in search of iron-ore deposits, invaded 200 years later. The Romans established three provinces in the area by 15 BCE. They introduced the grape to the hills surrounding the eastern reaches of the Danube near a settlement they called Vindobona, later known as Wien, or “Vienna” in English.

For the next four centuries the Romans fought Germanic invasions, eventually losing but establishing a fortification line along the Danube River, upon which many modern Austrian cities were built. With the fall of Rome, barbarian tribes such as the Bavarians from the west and Mongolian Avars from the east settled the region, bringing new cultural influences. One Germanic tribe, the Franks, was particularly interested in the area, and by the end of the eighth century Charlemagne succeeded in subduing the other claimants, Christianizing the region and creating a largely Germanic province for his Holy Roman Empire. This Ostmark did not hold long. Incursions from the east by the Magyars around 900 CE unsettled the region once again, until the Magyars too were subdued.

The political and territorial concept of Austria came about in 976 when the eastern province was granted to the House of Babenberg. For the next three Page 190  |  Top of Articlecenturies this powerful family would rule the eastern borderland, eventually choosing Vienna as their seat. By the twelfth century Austria had become a dukedom and a flourishing trade center. With the death of the line of Babenberg in 1246, the dukedom was voted first to Ottokar II, king of Bohemia, who was defeated in battle by a member of a Swiss noble house, Rudolf IV of Habsburg. The Habsburgs would rule not only Austria but also large parts of Europe and the New World until 1918. They created a central European empire around the region of Austria that extended into Bohemia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Poland, Spain, and the Netherlands. Throughout the Habsburgs' reign, the empire acted as a bulwark against eastern invasion by Turks and Magyars, and through both diplomacy and strategic marriages, the family established a civilization that would be the envy of the world. Under such emperors as Rudolf and Charles V and the empress Maria Theresa, universities were established, and Vienna became synonymous with music, fostering such composers as Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Johannes Brahms.

When the Napoleonic Wars ended the power of the Holy Roman Empire, the Austrian, or Habsburg, Empire took its place in central Europe, and its foreign minister, Clemens Metternich-Winneburg, consolidated power to make a unified German state. The democratic revolutions of 1848 temporarily destabilized the country, but under the rule of Franz Joseph a strong government again rose to power. The Austrian Empire faced increasing nationalistic pressure, however. First the Magyars in Hungary won a compromise with Vienna, creating the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1867. Other ethnic minorities in the polyglot empire pressed for independence, and eventually, with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by a Serbian extremist in Sarajevo in 1914, the world was plunged into a war that destroyed the Austrian Empire.

ModernEra In 1918, with the abdication of Karl I, the last Habsburg, the modern Republic of Austria was founded. Now a smaller country, it comprised only the original Germanic provinces with 7 million inhabitants. The postwar years were characterized by a struggle for economic survival and the question of union with Germany. Clashes between left- and right-wing factions increased throughout the 1920s, culminating on February 12, 1934, in what became known as the February Uprising. Members of Heimwehr, a militia of the dominant right-wing Christian Socialist Party, operating as a police force, tried to search the left-wing Social Democrats' party headquarters in Linz and sparked an open conflict that spread quickly to Vienna. Within four days the rebellion was crushed, several hundred were dead, the Social Democratic Party and its affiliated labor unions were banned, its leaders executed or in exile, and the Austrofascists in control. The multiparty system in Austria had been destroyed. In 1938 Adolf Hitler invaded Austria and one day later proclaimed his native country a province of Germany. A month later, a controlled, retroactive referendum that Jews and Roma were not allowed to take part in yielded a 99 percent vote in favor of union with Germany.

During the early years of World War II, German military victories and Austria's geographical isolation spared the country the full effect of the conflict. Almost a million Austrians fought with German troops. By 1943, however, Austrian support for the war and for the German union had begun to erode. In 1945 Allied forces advanced into Austria, and soon afterward Germany surrendered unconditionally.

At the end of the war, the four Allied powers divided Austria into four occupation zones. The Western Allies initially were reluctant to recognize Austria's provisional government but did so in October 1945 after it became clear that the separatist feelings that had surfaced among the provinces after World War I were not a concern. Indeed, the provisional government and provincial sentiments supported a common Austrian identity. In November of 1945 the first national election since 1930 was held. The Western Allies, pleased with Austria's democratic direction, pushed for the country to have greater control over its own affairs in 1946, allowing the Austrian government to nationalize German assets, despite objections from the Soviet Union. Perhaps the most significant victory was Austria's participation in the European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan. Membership in the Organization for European Economic Cooperation, which emerged from the Marshall Plan and served to determine how aid was to be used, expedited Austria's alliance with the West and provided the economic basis for a stable parliamentary democracy.

On May 15, 1955, the Austrian State Treaty was signed, forbidding unification with Germany and the restoration of the Hapsburgs and protecting Austria's Croat and Slovene minorities. Later that year the last of the Soviet and Western troops that had occupied Austria were withdrawn. The next decades saw Austria's Western sympathies clarified, particularly when the country offered sanctuary to those fleeing the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 and of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

During the immediate postwar period, Austria provided some restitution and compensation for Nazi victims, but the Amnesty Act of 1948 restored full citizenship to most of the more than half a million Austrians who had registered as ex-Nazis in 1946. Only about 42,000 people who were categorized as more implicated in the atrocities remained excluded from full citizenship. One of the reinstated was Kurt Waldheim, a diplomat who served two terms (1972–1982) as secretary general of the United Nations. Despite the revelation of evidence of his Nazi activities, Page 191  |  Top of ArticleWaldheim was elected president of Austria in 1986. The resulting international furor tarnished Austria's reputation, ultimately compelling it to reexamine its history. Original restitution measures for Nazi victims ultimately were deemed inadequate, and since 1994 Austria has committed to providing victims and heirs of victims some $1 billion in restitution.

Bruno Kreisky (1911–1990) was the most significant chancellor of Austria's postwar years. From 1970 to 1983 he led the nation during a period of domestic prosperity and growing international stature. Kreisky enjoyed a longevity that no leader since the Hapsburgs had known, earning him the informal title of “Kaiser Bruno.” Austria joined the European Union in 1995 and entered the EU Economic and Monetary Union in 1999, adopting the euro currency.


Austrian emigration patterns have been difficult to determine. There was no state known as Austria until 1918; prior to that, the then-sprawling Habsburg Empire, an amalgam of a dozen nationalities, encompassed the idea of Austria. Therefore, Austrian immigration can rightly be seen as the immigration of Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Slovenian, Serbian, and Croatian peoples as well as a plethora of other national and ethnic groups. Additionally, immigrants themselves were often unclear about their countries of origin. A German-speaking person born in Prague in 1855, for example, was Czech but was also part of the larger Austrian Empire—Austrian, in fact—and may have considered himself German. Immigrants thus may have listed the Czech Republic, Austria, and/or Germany as their country of origin. This study will confine itself to German Austrian emigration patterns.

The earliest documented German Austrian settlers in America were some fifty families of Protestants from Salzburg who arrived in the colony of Georgia in 1734 after fleeing religious persecution. Granted free passage and land, they established the settlement of Ebenezer near Savannah. Despite initial difficulties with poor land, sickness, and a relocation of their community, they grew and prospered as new families of immigrants arrived. Although the Revolutionary War destroyed their settlements, one of these Austrian settlers, Johann Adam Treutlen, became the first elected governor of the new state of Georgia.

Few Austrians immigrated to the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century; fewer than 1,000 Austrians were listed in official surveys by 1850. Those who did come settled in Illinois and Iowa and were supported by 100 to 200 Catholic priests sent from both Germany and Austria to oversee the settlers' religious training and education. The Leopoldine Stiftung, an Austrian foundation that supported such missionaries, funded priests not only for the newly emigrated but also for Native Americans. Priests such as Francis Xavier Weninger (1805–1888) spread the Gospel to Austrian immigrants in the Midwest and black slaves in New Orleans. Bishop Frederic Baraga (1797–1868) was one of the most active priests among the Native Americans, working and preaching in northern Michigan. John Nepomuk Neumann (1811–1860) established numerous schools in the Philadelphia area and was a proponent of the retention of German culture and language.

Tyroleans provided a further segment of early nineteenth-century immigration to the United States. Mostly peasants, these Tyroleans came to the New World in search of land, yet few had the money they needed to turn their dreams into reality. Other early immigrants fled the oppressive Metternich regime, such as Samuel Ludvigh (1801–1869), a

During the years 1901 to 1910 alone, more than 2.1 million Austrian citizens arrived on American shores to become one of the ten most populous immigrant groups in the United States. The Austrians—cosmopolitan and either Catholic or Jewish—avoided the rural, Protestant, conservative areas of the country.

democratic intellectual who eventually founded Die Fackel, a well-known German-language periodical in Baltimore. The 1848 revolutions in Austria saw a small but influential tide of political refugees. These so-called Forty-eighters were mostly anticlerical and held strong antislavery views as well. Though they were few in number, they had a lasting influence on not only politics and journalism but also on medicine and music. They were mostly free-thinking, well-educated liberals who found assimilation a wearisome process in their newly adopted country. Their presence also upset the conservative Americans. Among these Forty-eighters were many Austrian Jews. Most of the Forty-eighters became abolitionists in the United States, joining the new Republican Party despite the fact that the Democratic Party traditionally showed more openness to immigrants. It has been conjectured that their votes helped Abraham Lincoln win the 1860 presidential election.

Immigration statistics are difficult to interpret for the years between 1861 and 1910, as the U.S. Bureau of Immigration categorized all the inhabitants of the Austro-Hungarian Empire together. During these decades immigration swelled, with estimates of German-speaking Austrians in the United States reaching 275,000 by 1900. Immigrants were encouraged by relaxed emigration laws at home; by the construction of more railways, which allowed easy access to the ports of Europe from their mountainous homeland; by general overpopulation in Europe; and by migration from the farm to the city as Western society became increasingly industrialized. The United States thus became a destination for displaced Austrian agrarian workers. Many

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Austrians found employment in the United States as miners, servants, and common laborers. Others flocked to the cities of the Northeast and Midwest—New York, Pittsburgh, and Chicago—where many first- and second-generation Austrians still live. The 1880s witnessed massive immigration to the United States from all parts of Europe, Austria included, with more than 5 million arriving during that ten-year period. But if peasants were being displaced from the land in Austria, much the same situation was at play in the American Midwest, where mechanization was revolutionizing agriculture. Therefore, newly arrived immigrants, dreaming of a plot of farmland, were largely disappointed. Many of these new arrivals came from Burgenland, an agricultural province to the southeast of Vienna.

During the years 1901 to 1910 alone, more than 2.1 million Austrian citizens arrived on American shores to become one of the ten most populous immigrant groups in the United States. The Austrians—cosmopolitan and either Catholic or Jewish—avoided the rural, Protestant, conservative areas of the country. Fathers left families behind in Austria, hoping to save money working in Chicago stockyards and Pennsylvania cement and steel factories. More than 35 percent of them returned to their native home with their savings.

With the onset of the First World War, Austrian immigration stopped for a time. Even during the postwar period of 1919 to 1924, fewer than 20,000 Austrians came to the United States, most of them from Burgenland. The passage of a restrictive immigration law in 1924 further curtailed Austrian immigration, first to a limit of 785 and then to 1,413 persons per year. Austrian immigration slowed to a trickle during the years of the Great Depression.

A new wave of immigrants from Austria began arriving in the late 1930s. Unlike earlier immigrants who were largely unskilled laborers from the provinces, these new arrivals were mostly well-educated urban Jews fleeing Hitler's new regime. In 1938 Austria had become incorporated into the Third Reich, and anti-Semitism had become a daily fact of life. In the three-year period between the Anschluss, or annexation by Germany, and the outbreak of all-out war in 1941, some 29,000 Jewish Austrians immigrated to the United States. These were generally highly skilled professionals in medicine, architecture, law, and the arts and included men of international renown: composers Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951) and Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957); author Franz Werfel (1890–1945); and stage and film directors Max Reinhardt (1873–1943) and Otto Preminger (1906–1986). The Jewish Austrian intellectual elite was, in fact, scattered around the globe in the diaspora caused by the Second World War.

Some 40,000 Austrians entered the United States from 1945 to 1960. U.S. immigration quotas again Page 193  |  Top of Articlelimited and diverted immigration to other countries such as Canada and Australia. By the 1960s, as Austria became an established democratic state with a prospering economy and effective social services, immigration declined, and return migration increased. Between 1992 and 2011, fewer than 500 immigrants arrived annually to the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey reported 684,214 people of Austrian descent living in the United States in 2011; 45 percent of those born in Austria were sixty-five years of age or older. By the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, Austrian immigration to the United States had become negligible.


Austria and Germany are, to paraphrase Winston Churchill's famous quip about England and the United States, two countries separated by a common language. That Austria is a German-speaking country seems to come as a surprise to many Americans. Germans also have great fun scratching their heads over Austrianisms (for instance, the German kartoffel becomes erdapfel, or apple of the earth, in Austria). However, Austrian German, apart from having a lighter, more singsong accent and some regional words, is no different from standard German than Canadian English is from American English. The umlaut (ä, ö, ü) is the primary diacritical mark over vowels and is sometimes expressed by an e after the vowel instead of employing the diacritic.

As English is an offshoot of Old German, there are enough similarities between the two languages to make language assimilation a reasonably easy task for Austrian Americans. The v for w confusion is an especially difficult phonetic problem, as German has no unaspirated pronunciation of w. Another pronunciation difficulty is the English diphthong th for which German has no equivalent, resulting in the thick s so caricatured by stage and screen actors.

Given that few Austrian Americans today are first-generation immigrants—the group most likely to speak their native language in the home—English is commonly spoken in the community. In 1990 there were 1.5 million people over the age of five speaking German in the home, a small number of whom were Austrian. By 2000 German was no longer among the ten foreign languages most frequently spoken at home. In 2011 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 92.1 percent of Austrian Americans spoke English at home, and that only 1.3 percent reported speaking English “less than well” (American Community Survey estimate for 2009-2011). However, many Austrian Americans are bilingual. By some estimates, as many as one-third speak both German and English.

Greetings and Popular Expressions Typical Austrian greetings and farewells include the more formal Germanisms (with pronunciation) such as guten Tag (gooten tahg)—“good day”; guten Abend (gooten ahbend)—“good evening”; and aufWiedersehen (ouf veedersayen)—“good-bye.” Less formal Austrian expressions are Grüss Gott (groos gote)—literally “greetings from God,” but used as “hello” or “hi”; and servus (sairvoos)—both “hello” and “good-bye,” used by younger people and between good friends. Other polite expressions—for which Austrian German seems to have an overabundance—include bitte (bietuh)—both “please” and “you're welcome”; Danke vielmals (dahnka feelmahls)—“thanks very much”; and Es tut mir sehr leid (es toot meer sair lied)—“I'm very sorry.” Seasonal expressions include Frohe Weihnachten (frohuh vienahkten)—“Merry Christmas”—and Prosit Neujahr (proezit noy yahr)—“Happy New Year.” Zum wohl (tzoom vole)—“To your health”—is a typical toast.


The first Austrian Americans came in search of religious freedom. Approximately 500 people arrived in Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1734. The Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church built in 1769 still stands in what is now Rincon, Georgia, the oldest continuing Lutheran congregation in the same building in the United States, and descendants of the original Salzbugers still live in Effingham and Chatham counties.

Despite the Protestantism of that early group, most Austrian immigrants were Roman Catholics who brought their religion with them to America. Austrian missionaries, mainly Jesuits, baptized Native Americans and helped chart the New World from the seventeenth century on. But by the nineteenth century that mission had changed, for newly arrived Austrian immigrants, disdained by Irish Catholic priests who spoke no German, were clamoring for Austrian priests. Partly to meet this need and partly to convert new souls to Catholicism, the Leopoldine Stiftung, or Leopoldine Society, was established in 1829. Collecting weekly donations throughout the Habsburg Empire, the foundation sent money and priests into North America to bring faith to the frontier. Through such contributions, more than 400 churches were built on the East Coast, in the Midwest, and in what was then known as Indian country further west. The Jesuits were especially active during this period in cities such as Cincinnati and St. Louis. The Benedictines and Franciscans were also represented by both priests and nuns. These priests founded bishoprics and built congregations in the thousands. One unfortunate reaction to this was an intensification of nativist tendencies, or anti-immigrant sentiments. This influx of priests was looked upon as a conspiracy to upset the balance of the population in the United States with Roman Catholics imported from Europe. For many years such nativist sentiments made it difficult for Austrian immigrants to fully assimilate into U.S. society.

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On the whole, the formal traditions and rights of the Catholic Church in the United States and in Austria were the same, but external pressures differed. New waves of Austrian immigrants, especially those fleeing Nazism, also changed the religious makeup of the groups as a whole. For the most part, arrivals between 1933 and 1945 were Jewish. Therefore, as with the U.S. population in general, Austrian Americans in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century have become more secular and less faith-bound.


During the late nineteenth century, some Americans feared the radical element among German and Austrian immigrants. The Chicago Haymarket Riot of 1886—the violent aftermath of a demonstration by German-born laborers—particularly intensified such feelings and pushed other Germans and Austrians to assert their loyalty to American values. Austrian Americans also suffered from the anti-German sentiments that were prevalent in the years prior to and during World War I. Before the United States was engaged in war against the German and Austro-Hungarian empires, many German-language newspapers expressed pro-German views and defended Germany against what they saw as the threat of British imperialism. When Congress declared war in April 1917, nearly all these newspapers immediately declared their loyalty to the United States, but their earlier statements were public record and provoked discrimination and—in some cases—actual attacks on anything associated with Germany. Austrian Americans were included in the backlash. German-sounding names for schools, streets, and towns were changed. German and Austrian music were eliminated from public performances, and businesses and homes were vandalized. German-language newspapers closed their doors voluntarily or forcibly. German-language books were burned, and classes in the German language were eliminated from schools. President Woodrow Wilson questioned the patriotism of “hyphenated Americans.” Many German and Austrian Americans responded by changing their names and assimilating more fully into the dominant U.S. culture.

Although similar feelings arose during World War II, they never reached the intensity or pervasiveness displayed during World War I. By the end of the twentieth century, there was little evidence of a distinct Austrian American culture. Even the cultural roots emphasis of the 1970s had little discernible effect on the community. As emigration from Austria declined and as Austrian Americans established in the United States moved into second and third generations and beyond, assimilation increased substantially.

Traditions and Customs Austrian traditions, maintained most faithfully by those living in the mountainous region of western Austria, center mainly on the seasons. Fasching is an old winter custom that traditionally takes place in February. In its pagan form, it was an attempt to drive out the evil spirits of winter and prepare for spring. Processions of villagers dressed in varieties of masked costumes and ringing cowbells symbolized the fight of spring against winter. Some of these processions still take place in parts of Tyrol and Styria, but the Fasching has generally evolved into a procession of carnival balls linked with Lent and the passion of Easter.

Similarly, the old spring festivals wherein village children would parade with boughs decorated with ivy and pretzels to celebrate the reawakening of the sun have been replaced by Palm Sunday and Corpus Christi celebrations. May Day, with the dance around the maypole, is still a much celebrated event in villages all over Austria. The festival of the summer solstice, announced by bonfires on the hills, still takes place in parts of Salzburg, under the name of St. John's Night.

Harvest festivals of autumn, linked with apple and wine gathering, have a long tradition throughout Austria. Harvest fairs are still a vital part of the autumn season, and the wine harvest, from grape picking and pressing through the various stages of wine fermentation, is an affair closely monitored by many Austrians. The pine bough outside a winery signals to customers that new wine is available. The thanksgiving festival of Saint Leonard, patron saint of livestock, is a reminder of a pagan harvest celebration.

Perhaps best known and most retained by Austrian immigrants in the United States are traditions of the Christmas season, the beginning of which is marked by St. Nicholas Day on December 6. Good children are rewarded with apples and nuts in their stockings, whereas bad ones receive only lumps of coal. Caroling and the Christmas tree are but two of the Austrian and German contributions to the American celebrations of yuletide. The Christmas carol “Silent Night,” one of the most beloved songs of Christmas services in the United States, was written by two Austrians and was first sung on Christmas Eve in 1818 at the midnight mass of St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria.

As customs and beliefs from Austria have been incorporated by the Catholic Church, many Austrian Americans have retained the feast days of their native country, though without the pageantry or connection to their original purpose. The Austrian custom of placing a pine tree atop newly constructed houses has become a traditional ceremony for U.S. ironworkers as well, many of whom are of Central European origin. The fir tree, as mentioned, has become a staple of American Christmas. Yet overall, Austrian customs have become barely recognizable in the United States.

Austrian American councils around the country preserve their cultural traditions in a limited fashion through such activities as Viennese Balls, St. Nicholas Page 195  |  Top of Articleevents for children, and observance of Austrian American Day, first proclaimed by former President Bill Clinton on September 25, 1997. Most societies also hold a monthly or quarterly stammtisch, an informal group meeting where food and conversation are shared. Originally the word also referred to the large, often round, table that was reserved for the regulars who gathered in a particular place to drink beer, play cards, socialize, and hold lively discussions, frequently of a political nature.

Cuisine Austrian cuisine relies heavily on meat, especially pork. The famous dish wiener schnitzel, pork or veal fried in bread crumbs, is among the many recipes that were imported along with the immigrants. Goulash, a spicy Hungarian stew, is another item that has found its way onto the American table, as has sauerkraut, both a German and an Austrian specialty. Sausages, called wurst in German, have become so popular in the United States that names such as wiener (from wienerwurst) and frankfurter (from Frankfurt in Germany) are synonymous with a whole class of food. Pastries and desserts are also Austrian specialties; Austrian favorites include Sachertorte, a heavy chocolate concoction closely connected with Vienna's Hotel Sacher; linzertorte, more of a tart than cake and stuffed with apricot jam; and the famous pastry apfelstrudel, a flaky sort of pie stuffed with apples. The list of such sweets is lengthy, and many of them have found places, under different names, as staples of American cuisine. Breads are another Austrian contribution to the world's foods: the rye breads of both Germany and Austria are dense and long-lasting with a hearty flavor.

Austrian beer, such as the light lagers and heavier Bock—brewed for Christmas and Easter—is on par with the better-known German varieties. Early immigrants of both nationalities brought the fondness for barley and hops with them, and many Austrians founded breweries in the United States. Wines, especially the tart white wines of the Wachau region of the Danube and the refined, complex varietals of Gumpoldskirchen to the south of Vienna, have become world famous as well. The Austrian love for the new wine, or heuriger, is witnessed by dozens of drinking songs. The simple wine tavern, owned and operated by the vintner and his family, combines the best of a picnic with dining out.

Traditional Dress In Austria the traditional costumes, or trachten, are still fashionable, not only for the rural population but for city dwellers as well. Most typical and best known by those outside Austria is the dirndl. Both village girls and Viennese matrons can be seen wearing this pleated skirt covered by a brightly colored apron and surmounted by a tight-fitting bodice. White blouses are worn under the bodice, sometimes embroidered, sometimes with lace. For men the typical trachten is the steirer anzug, a collarless variation of a hunting costume, usually gray with green piping and trim, which can be worn for both formal and informal occasions. The wetterfleck, a long loden cape, is also still worn, as are knickers of elk hide or wool. Lederhosen, or leather shorts, associated with both Germany and Austria, are still typical summer wear in much of Austria. Austrian Americans reserve traditional dress for special occasions such as parties to celebrate their shared culture.

Dances and Songs From simple lieder, or songs, to symphonies and operas, Austrian music has enriched the cultural life of the Western world. Vienna in particular was the home of native Austrian and German composers alike who created the classical idiom. Men such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms developed symphony and chamber music. More modern composers such as Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, and Arnold Schoenberg—the latter immigrated to the United States—expanded the boundaries of tonality and structure in musical composition.

Austria is also synonymous with the waltz, developed from an earlier peasant dance and made famous through the music of Johann Strauss and Joseph Lanner. The Viennese operetta has also influenced the musical taste of the world, helping to develop the form of the modern musical. Johann Strauss Jr. is one of many who pioneered the form, and a Viennese, Frederick Loewe, helped to transform it on Broadway by writing the lyrics to such famous musicals as My Fair Lady and Camelot. Austrian Americans take pride in their rich musical heritage, and local Austrian American councils frequently host formal Strauss balls and sponsor concerts of Austrian music.

Holidays Beyond such traditional holidays as Christmas, New Year's, and Easter, Austrian Americans cannot be said to celebrate various feast and seasonal days as a group. The more cosmopolitan immigrants from Vienna, for example, were and are much more internationalist in outlook than fellow Austrian immigrants from Burgenland, who hold to more traditional customs even in the United States. This latter group, former residents of a rural, agricultural area and generally Catholic, are more likely to observe such traditional feasts as St. Leonard's Day in November, St. Nicholas Day on December 6, and Corpus Christi in June, as well as such seasonal festivities as harvest festivals for wine in October.

Health Care Issues and Practices The medical tradition in Austria is long and noteworthy. The Viennese have contributed medical innovations such as antisepsis and therapies such as psychoanalysis to the world. Austrian Americans place a high value on health care. They also bring with them the idea of medical care as a birthright, for in Austria such care has been part of a broad government-run social program during much of the twentieth century. There are no documented congenital diseases specific to Austrian Americans.

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In 1922, Austrian immigrant Clara Goldhurst (1895–1974) was the first female broker on Wall Street. In 1922, Austrian immigrant Clara Goldhurst (1895–1974) was the first female broker on Wall Street. BETTMANN / CORBIS


Initially, many of the immigrants from Austria were males who came to the United States to earn and save money and then returned home. Most often, these early immigrants would live together in crowded rooming houses or in primitive hostels in urban centers of the industrial northeast. As permanent immigration patterns replaced this more nomadic style, the structure of the Austrian family became transplanted to the United States. Typically a tight nuclear family, the Austrian family has few of the characteristics of the extended Mediterranean family. The father ruled the economic life of the family, but the strong matriarch was boss at home. As in Austria, male children were favored. Sundays were a sacrosanct family time together. In general, few outsiders were allowed the informal “Du” greeting or even invited into the home.

This tight structure soon broke down, however, in the more egalitarian American environment. Overall, Austrian immigrants tended to assimilate rapidly into their new country, adapting to the ways of the United States and being influenced by the same cultural trends that affected native-born Americans: the increasing importance of the role of women in the twentieth century; the decline of the nuclear family, including a rising divorce rate; and the mobility of citizens—both geographically and economically. The variety of Austrian immigrants also changed during this century. Once mainly agrarian workers who congregated in urban areas despite their desire to settle on the land, immigrants from Austria—especially after the First World War—tended to be better educated with a larger world view. The flight of the Jewish Austrian intelligentsia during the Nazi period especially affected the assimilation patterns. These professional classes placed a high premium on education for both male and female children. Thus, Austrian immigrants became skilled workers and professionals.

Gender Roles Austrians who have immigrated to the United States in the twenty-first century arrive from a culture that has seen significant changes in the roles of women. Austrian legislation has attempted to address gender inequities in labor by providing compensation for the unpaid labor of women in many households and for the dual responsibilities of single parents. The United States makes no such provisions, and the change may require some adjustment. Attitudes toward homosexuality in the two countries also are reflected in some legal differences. Although open hostility within most traditional religious communities is the norm in both countries, Austria legalized civil unions for same-sex couples on January 1, 2010, excluding adoption and artificial insemination from the rights granted. A majority of Americans support same-sex unions, but most states deny recognition to gay marriages and make no provision for civil unions.


As with all examinations of Austrian immigration, occupational statistics suffer from the inconsistent distinction between ethnic groups among the Austro-Hungarian immigrants. German-speaking Austrians did settle in the center of the country to become farmers, but exact numbers are unclear. Prior to 1900 Austro-Hungarian immigrants were also laborers, saloon keepers, waiters, and steel workers. Statistics that are available from 1900, however, indicate that a high proportion of later arrivals found work as tailors, miners, and peddlers. By the mid-twentieth century, these same occupational trends still prevailed, with tailoring and the clothing industry in general employing large numbers of Austrian Americans. The food industry was also heavily weighted with Austrians, who worked as bakers, restaurateurs, and meatpackers. Mining was a predominant occupation among Austrians as well.

In the half century since then, Austrian Americans have branched out into all fields: medicine, law, Page 197  |  Top of Articleentertainment, management, and technology, as well as the traditional service industries where many of them started as new immigrants. Given the high rate of assimilation among Austrian Americans and the small number of Austrian immigrants entering the United States in the twenty-first century, no new patterns of employment can be determined.


The earliest notable political influence wielded by Austrian Americans came through the pens and the votes of the Forty-eighters. These liberal refugees from the failed revolts of 1848 were strongly abolitionist and pro-Lincoln. Later arrivals during the half century of mass immigration from Austro-Hungary (1860–1910) packed the ranks of unskilled labor and of the fledgling labor movement in the United States. Indeed, the deaths of ten Austro-Hungarian laborers during an 1897 mining strike in Lattimer, Pennsylvania, prompted a demand for indemnity by the embassy of Austro-Hungary.

Immigrants in the 1930s and 1940s tended to have strong socialist beliefs and formed organizations such as the American Friends of Austrian Labor to help promote labor issues. During World War II an Austrian government in exile was attempted in the United States, but fighting between factions of the refugees, specifically between Social Democrats and Christian Socialists, prevented any concerted action on that front. The creation of the Austrian battalion—the 101st Infantry Battalion—became the center of a debate that raged among Austrian Americans. Groups such as Austria Action and the Austrian Labor Committee opposed such a formation, fearing it would become the vanguard of the restoration of the Habsburg monarchy under Otto von Habsburg after the war. On the other side, the Free Austrian Movement advocated such a battalion, even if it meant aligning the right with the left among the recruits. A scant six months after its formation, the Austrian battalion was disbanded. Despite this failure, the debate occasioned by the creation of the battalion helped to bring to the forefront of American discussion the role of Austrian Americans and of Austria itself in the Second World War. Austrian Americans were not interned, and Austria itself was declared one of the first victims of Nazism in the Moscow Declaration of November 1, 1943. The restoration of its independence was made an Allied war aim.

Little information on Austrian American voting patterns exists, though early Jewish Austrian immigrants and Austrian socialists tended to vote Democrat rather than Republican. Interesting in this context is the career of Victor Berger (1860–1929), an Austrian who not only influenced labor organizer Eugene V. Debs in becoming a socialist but also became the first socialist to sit in the House of Representatives in Washington.

On the whole, Austrians of the first generation maintain close links with Austria, returning periodically to their place of birth. Even Jewish Austrians who had to flee the Holocaust return to visit and sometimes to retire in their homeland.


Austrian Americans have made lasting contributions in all fields of American life, though seldom are their Austrian roots emphasized. From the arts to the world of science, this immigrant population has made its mark.

Academia Joseph Alois Schumpeter (1883–1950) was a well-known critic of Marxism and an authority on business cycles. Another notable Austrian American economist was Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973), a critic of the planned economies of socialist countries.

Other Austrian Americans in the fields of literature and history have done much to generate interest in Austria and Central Europe: Harry Zohn (1924–2001) was a much-published professor of German literature at Brandeis University, and the Viennese Robert A. Kann's (1906–1981) A History of the Habsburg Empire has become a standard reference. R. John Rath (1910–2001) helped to centralize Austrian studies with his work at Rice University and then at the University of Minnesota. These are only a few of the many notable Austrian American historians at work in this country.

Vienna-born sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld (1901–1976) was one of the most influential social scientists of his era. Professor of sociology at Columbia University for three decades, he served as the fifty-second president of the American Sociological Association. Peter Drucker (1909–2005), author, professor, and management consultant, has been described as “the man who invented management.” Drucker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 2002. Heinz Politzer (1910–1978), writer, literary critic, literary historian, and professor of German at Berkeley, was a major figure in Kafka scholarship. He devoted three decades to the writing of Franz Kafka: Parable and Paradox (1962). Gerda Kronstein Lerner (1920–), who immigrated to the United States in 1939, is an author, a historian, and a professor emerita of history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A pioneer in the field of women's history, she taught what is believed to be the first women's history course at the New School for Social Research, New York City, in 1963. Egon Schwarz (1922–), professor emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis, has been a visiting scholar at more than a dozen universities in Austria and the United States. He is an influential voice in the scholarship of Austrian/German literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Robert von Dassanowsky (1960–), professor of film studies and director of the Film Studies Program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, was elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2001 and as of late 2012 serves as a U.S. delegate to the organization. He has written several books and in 2012 served as editor of Quentin Tarantino's “Inglourious Basterds”: A Manipulation of Metacinema and World Film Locations: Vienna.

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Art and Architecture Austrian artists who came to the United States include the artist and architect Joseph Urban (1872–1933); the sculptor and architectural designer Karl Bitter (1867–1915); Joseph Margulies (1896–1984), who painted and etched scenes of the New York ghetto; and Greta Kempton (1901–1991), who is best known for the official portrait of President Harry S. Truman. Curator René d'Harnoncourt (1901–1968), born in Vienna, eventually became director of contemporary art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Max Fleischer (1885–1972) was one of the pioneers of the animated cartoon; his creations include Betty Boop and Popeye.

The exodus from Austria caused by the rise of Hitler brought to the United States such distinguished artists as the expressionist painters Franz Lerch (1895–1977) and Max Oppenheimer (1885–1956), and the graphic artist John W. Winkler (1890–1979).

The best known of all Austrian American architects is Richard Neutra (1892–1970), whose name is synonymous with the steel and concrete structures he pioneered in California. Other modern architects include R. M. Schindler (1887–1953) and Victor Gruen (1903–1980), who immigrated in 1938 and whose environmental architecture helped transform such cities as Los Angeles, Detroit, and Fort Worth. Frederick John Kiesler (1896–1965) was known as an innovative architect whose set designs, interiors, and bold floating architectural designs earned him a reputation as a maverick and visionary.

Business Franz Martin Drexel (1792–1863), a native of Voralberg, founded the banking house of Drexel and Company in Philadelphia, which later gave rise to the House of Morgan. Another immigrant from Voralberg, John Michael Kohler (1844–1900), built one of the largest plumbing outfitters in the United States, which later became the Kohler Company, and introduced the enamel-coated bath-tub. August Brentano (1831–1886) was an impoverished Austrian immigrant who turned a newspaper stand into a large bookshop chain. The development of department stores in the United States also owes a debt to Austrian American Nathan M. Ohrbach (1885–1990), founder of the Ohrbach stores. John Daniel Hertz Sr. (1879–1961), an Austrian Czech, made his name synonymous with rental cars.

Tourism in the United States has also been enhanced by the Austrian-style ski resorts and schools in Sun Valley developed by Felix Schaffgotsch (1904–1942). The Arlberg technique in skiing was promoted by Hannes Schneider (1890–1955) in Jackson, New Hampshire, and later resorts such as Aspen and Heavenly Valley were made famous by their Austrian instructors.

In technology, the 1978 invention of a text scanner by Austrian American Ray Kurzweil (1948–) has opened a new world for blind readers. Austrian American Wolfgang Puck (1949–) is a chef, restaurateur, and television personality. His companies include Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, which operates a growing number of fine dining establishments in cities throughout North America; and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, which operates and franchises Wolfgang Puck–branded restaurants as well as licenses Puck's name for a variety of consumer goods, including kitchenware, cookbooks, and food products.

Fashion Austrian American fashion designers have included Nettie Rosenstein (1890–1980), a winner of the prestigious Coty Award for clothing design, and the Vienna-born Rudi Gernreich (1922–1985), who created the topless bathing suits of the 1960s.

Journalism Among journalists, the foremost name is Joseph Pulitzer (1847–1911). Though claimed by both Hungarians and Austrians, Pulitzer spoke German and had a Hungarian father and an Austrian mother. The founder of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and owner of the New York World, Pulitzer is remembered for the prize in journalism that he endowed. He was one of many Austro-Hungarians involved in journalism in nineteenth-century America. Others include Gustav Pollak (1848–1919), a contributor to the Nation and the Evening Post, and Joseph Keppler (1838–1894), an innovator in color cartoons and owner of the humorous magazine Puck. A more recent publishing venture involving an Austrian American is the New Yorker, whose founding president, Raoul H. Fleischmann (1885–1969), was born in Bad Ischl, Austria.

Law and Society One of the best-known Austrian Americans in the legal field was Felix Frankfurter (1882–1965), a native of Vienna, who was a justice on the Supreme Court for twenty-three years. The Spingarn Medal, awarded yearly to an outstanding African American leader, was created by Joel Elias Spingarn (1875–1939), one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the son of an Austrian immigrant.

Literature Franz Werfel (1890–1945), though born in Prague, was a thoroughly Austrian writer. He and his wife fled the Nazis and came to the United States in 1940. His Song of Bernadette (1943) became a best seller in the United States, and the Werfels settled in Beverly Hills. The children's writer and illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans (1898–1962) was born in South Tyrol and settled in New York as a youth. His famous Madeline stories continue to charm young readers. Hermann Broch (1886–1951), one of the most influential of modern Austrian writers, known for such novels as The Sleepwalkers (1931–1932) and The Death of Virgil (1945) was another refugee from Hitler's Europe and taught at both Princeton and Yale.

Medicine Among Austrian American Nobel laureates in medicine were Karl Landsteiner (1868–1943), who discovered blood types, and the German Austrian Otto Loewi (1873–1961), a cowinner of the Nobel for his work in the chemical transmission of nerve impulses. Page 199  |  Top of ArticleLoewi came to New York University after he was driven out of Graz by the Nazis. Many other Austrian Americans have also left their mark in the United States both as practitioners and educators, but perhaps none so methodically as the psychoanalysts who spread Sigmund Freud's work to the United States. These include A. A. Brill (1874–1947), the Columbia professor and Freud translator; Heinz Werner (1890–1964); Paul Federn (1871–1950); Otto Rank (1884–1939), a Freud disciple; and Theodor Reik (1888–1969), the New York psychoanalyst. This group of immigrants was not limited to Freudians, however. Alexandra Adler (1901–2001), daughter of Alfred Adler, who is generally known as the second great Viennese psychoanalyst, came to the United States to work at both Harvard and Duke. Bruno Bettelheim (1903–1990) was also a native of Vienna; he became known for his treatment of autistic children and for his popular writings. The list of those both in medicine and mental health who were driven out of Austria during the reign of Hitler is long and impressive. Viennese-born Eric Kandel (1929–), professor and director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2000, along with colleagues Arvid Carlsson and Paul Greengard, for research on the neurological mechanisms of memory.

Music Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951), creator of the twelve-tone system and a pioneer of modern music, fled the rise of Nazism in 1933 and continued composing and teaching at both the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles. Frederick Loewe (1904–1988), a native Viennese, was the lyricist in the team of Lerner and Loewe who helped transform the American musical. The folk singer and actor Theodore Bikel (1924–) was born in Vienna and came to the United States via Israel and London. Paul Wittgenstein (1887–1961), brother of the philosopher and a pianist of note, settled in New York after 1938. Having lost his right arm in the First World War, Wittgenstein became famous for playing with one hand, and major composers such as Maurice Ravel wrote music for the left hand for him. Austrian immigrants Maria and Georg von Trapp and their children arrived in the United States in 1938 and settled in Pennsylvania, where they earned their living by singing baroque and folk music and running a music camp. The fictionalized account of their lives, The Sound of Music, opened on Broadway in 1959 and was soon followed by a major motion picture in 1965.

Science Three of Austria's four Nobel Prize winners in physics immigrated to the United States. They include Victor Franz Hess (1883–1964), the discoverer of cosmic rays; Isidor Isaac Rabi (1898–1988), a physicist at Columbia; and Wolfgang Pauli (1900–1958). Otto Halpern (1899–1982) also contributed to the defense effort of his new homeland by his invention of a counter-radar device. Distinguished

Action hero and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger (1947–) is an Austrian American. Action hero and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger (1947–) is an Austrian American. JOHN BARR / LIAISON / GETTY IMAGES

chemists include Ernst Berl (1877–1946), who came to the United States to work on explosives and chemical warfare, and Herman Francis Mark (1895–1992), whose work in synthetic plastics led to the development of such materials as nylon and orlon. Edwin Salpeter (1924–2008), who was the J. G. White Distinguished Professor of Physical Sciences Emeritus at Cornell University at the time of his death, was an eminent astrophysicist whose research encompassed black holes and missile defense systems.

Stage and Screen The earliest contribution of Austrian Americans is found in the theater. Many of the earliest theater houses in this country were built by Austrian immigrants who brought their love for theater with them. Prominent arrivals from Austria include the impresario Max Reinhardt (1873–1943). Famous for his Everyman production at the Salzburg Festival and for a school of dramatics in Vienna,

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Hedy Lamarr (1914–2000), originally from Austria, was a U.S. film actress and engineer. Hedy Lamarr (1914–2000), originally from Austria, was a U.S. film actress and engineer. PICTORIAL PRESS LTD / ALAMY

Reinhardt worked in Hollywood and New York after immigrating to escape the Nazis. Actor Paul Henreid (1908–1992) is best known for a classic scene in Now Voyager (1942), in which his debonair character lights two cigarettes simultaneously and passes one to Bette Davis, and for his role as the idealistic Victor Laszlo in Casablanca (1942).

Arnold Schwarzenegger (1947–), born near Graz, Austria, immigrated to the United States in 1968. By the 1980s he had become a major star of action movies, including Conan the Barbarian (1982) and The Terminator (1984), as well as its two sequels—Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003). On October 8, 2003, with 48.6 percent of the vote, he became the thirty-eighth governor of California. After a second term as governor, he returned to his acting career, appearing in The Expendables 2 in 2012.

Other Austrian Americans involved in theater and film include such well-known stage and screen actors as Rudolph Schildkraut (1895–1964), Paul Muni (1895–1967), Hedy Lamarr (1915–2000), Oskar Homolka (1898–1978), and Bibi Besch (1940–1996). An impressive group of film directors also hail from Austria: Erich von Stroheim (1885–1957), whose film Greed (1924) is considered a modern masterpiece; Josef von Sternberg (1894–1969), the father of gangster films and even better known as Marlene Dietrich's director; Fred Zinnemann (1907–1997), the director of High Noon (1952); Billy Wilder (1906–2002), whose many accomplishments include The Apartment (1960) and Sunset Blvd. (1950); and Otto Preminger (1906–1986), a boyhood friend of Wilder's in Vienna and director of such film classics as Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and Exodus (1960). Friedrich Christian Anton “Fritz” Lang (1890–1976), known primarily as a filmmaker and screenwriter, made twenty-three movies in Hollywood, where he continued to work in the film noir genre for which his most famous film, M (made before he immigrated to the United States), served as precursor.

Vicki Baum (1888–1960), Gina Kaus (1883–1985), and Salka Viertel (1889–1978) were all successful screenwriters in Hollywood.


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This online publication is published three times annually by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, an agency funded by the Austrian government to represent Austrian culture in the United States. It concentrates on cultural affairs such as exhibitions and exchanges.

Andreas Stadler, Editor in Chief
11 East 52nd Street
New York, New York 10022
Phone: (212) 319-5300
Fax: (212) 644-8660

Austrian Information

Newsletter/magazine on Austrian news, events, and personalities published quarterly by the Austrian Press and Information Service.

Alice Irwin, Editor in Chief
3524 International Court NW
Washington, D.C. 20008-3027
Phone: (202) 895-6775
Fax: (202) 895-6722

Ariadne Press

Publishes studies on Austrian culture, literature, and film; works of Austrian American writers; and translations of Austrian authors.

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270 Goins Court
Riverside, California 92507
Phone: (909) 684-9202
Fax: (909) 779-0449

Other regional German-language newspapers and magazines, such as California's Neue Presse and the Staats Zeitung, operate throughout the United States, though none are specifically oriented to or targeted at an Austrian readership.


Though the short-wave broadcasts of the Austrian Broadcasting Company, ORF, can be picked up in the United States, and various cable networks air German-language programming on their international channels, there is no domestically produced programming that targets the Austrian American audience.


In general, Austrian Americans, because of diverse interests and ethnic backgrounds, have tended to favor small regional organizations and clubs over national ones. Most of these societies are organized by province of origin, and those of the Burgenland contingent are the most pervasive. In addition, urban areas such as Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Miami Beach tend to have associations for the promulgation of Austrian culture. The Austrian-American Councils of the United States is an umbrella organization that provides a networking base for twenty-seven regional and local councils scattered across the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The members hold annual meetings, usually in the fall around the time of Austrian-American Day, with the support of the World Federation of Austrians Abroad. Other Austrian societies and organizations are united by such common themes as music or literature or by shared history as with those who fled Austrian Nazism or Hitler. The following are a sampling of regional fraternal and cultural associations.

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American-Austrian Cultural Society

Founded in 1954, the organization fosters friendship between the United States and Austria; promotes Austrian culture; and supports educational programs about Austrian arts, science, and trade in the metropolitan area of Washington, D.C.

Ms. Ulrike Wiesner, President
5618 Dover Court
Alexandria, Virginia 22312
Phone: (703) 941-0227

Austrian American Council Midwest

The council works with local Austrian clubs throughout the Midwest to promote Austrian history and culture. It also fosters goodwill and better understanding between the people of the United States and Austria.

Gerhard Kaes, President
5319 West Sunnyside
Chicago, Illinois 60630
Phone: (773) 685-1481

Austrian American Council West

The council sponsors Austrian cultural events, encourages Austrian artists and arts, and supports a variety of humanitarian causes. It also fosters increased understanding between people of the United States and Austria.

Veronika Reinelt, President
2701 Forrester Drive
Los Angeles, California 90064
Phone: (818) 507-5904
Fax: (818) 507-1907

Austrian-American Society of Pennsylvania

Incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1981, the purpose of the organization is to promote appreciation and understanding of Austrian culture, history, tradition, and language through social and cultural events, educational programs, and other activities.

Renate M. Donnelly, President
10 Village Circle
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania 19073-2927
Phone: (610) 356-3271
Fax: (610) 356-4710

Austro-American Association of Boston

Founded in 1944, the organization was established to further interest in Austria and Austrian culture and to promote friendship between Austria and the United States. Members are drawn from Boston and throughout New England.

Traude Acker, President
67 Bridle Path
Sudbury, Massachusetts 01776
Phone: (978) 579-2191

Austrian Studies Association

Formerly known as the Modern Austrian Literature and Culture Association, it is the only North American association devoted to scholarship on all aspects of Austrian, Austro-Hungarian, and Hapsburg territory cultural life from the eighteenth century to the present. The association holds an annual conference and publishes the quarterly Journal of Austrian Studies.

Robert Dassanowsky

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Office of Science and Technology

This office provides an interface between Austria and North America in the areas of science, research, and research policy. It publishes the free online magazine bridges.

Philipp Marxgut, Director
3524 International Court NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: (202) 895-6700
Fax: (202) 895-6750


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Austrian Cultural Institute Forum New York

Part of the cultural affairs section of the Austrian Consulate General, the institute is responsible for cultural and scientific relations between Austria and the United States. It maintains a reference library specializing in Austrian history, art, and folklore and organizes lectures and panel discussions as well as educational exchanges.

11 East 52nd Street
New York, New York 10022
Phone: (212) 319-5300
Fax: (212) 644-8660

Dietrich W. Botstiber Institute for Austrian American Studies (BIAAS)

The institute promotes an understanding of the relationship between the United States and Austria through two Fulbright-Botstiber visiting professorships, one in Austria and the other in the United States, jointly sponsored with the Austrian-American Educational Commission. BIAAS also offers an annual fellowship in Austrian American studies; provides grants for work; and sponsors programs in the fields of history, politics, economics, law, literature, poetry, music, and translations.

Carlie Numi, Deputy Administrator
200 E. State Street, Suite 306-A
Media, Pennsylvania 19063
Phone: (610) 566-3375
Fax: (610) 566-3376

Center for Austrian Studies

Located at the University of Minnesota, the center conducts research on Austrian history and publishes a newsletter, three times annually, as well as the Austrian History Yearbook.

Klaas van der Sanden, Interim Director
University of Minnesota
314 Social Sciences Building
267 19th Avenue S
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455
Phone: (612) 624-9811
Fax: (612) 626-9004

German-American Heritage Museum of the USA

The museum tells the story of all Americans of German-speaking ancestry and their role in shaping the United States. The museum collects, records, preserves, and exhibits artifacts related to the history and legacy of German, Swiss, Austrian, and Slovakian Americans.

Bern E. Deichmann, President
719 Sixth Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
Phone: (202) 467-5000
Fax: (202) 467-5440

Neue Galerie New York, Museum for German and Austrian Art

The museum is devoted to early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design, displayed on two exhibition floors. The second-floor galleries are dedicated to fine and decorative arts from Vienna circa 1900.

Renée Price, Director
1048 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10028
Phone: (212) 628-6200
Fax: (212) 628-8824


Boernstein, Henry. Memoirs of a Nobody. Edited and translated by Steven Rowan. Detroit: Wayne University Press, 1997.

Goldner, Franz. Austrian Emigration 1938 to 1945. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1979.

Good, David F., and Ruth Wodak, eds. From World War to Waldheim: Culture and Politics in Austria and the United States. New York: Berghahn Books, 1999.

Perloff, Marjorie. The Vienna Paradox. New York: New Directions, 2004.

Spalek, John, Adrienne Ash, and Sandra Hawrylchak.

Guide to Archival Materials of German-Speaking Emigrants to the U.S. after 1933. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1978.

Spaulding, E. Wilder. The Quiet Invaders: The Story of the Austrian Impact upon America. Vienna: Österreichische Bundesverlag, 1968.

Stadler, Friedrich, and Peter Weibel, eds.Vertreibung der Vernunft: The Cultural Exodus from Austria. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1995.

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|CX3273300025