Austrian Refugee Social Scientists<sup>1</sup>

Christian Fleck

in In Defence of Learning

Published by British Academy

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264812
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754029 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Austrian Refugee Social Scientists1

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This chapter presents an overview of one sub-group of Nazi refugees: social scientists from Austria, and Vienna in particular. After a deft sketch of the constraints and opportunities for scholars, especially Jewish scholars, in 1930s Austria with its economic decline, political turmoil, and rampant anti-semitism, it compares the number of Jews in Vienna, the size of the educated class in the city, and the number of Austrian émigré and refugee social scientists with the equivalent figures for Germany. These statistics provide some explanation for the ‘disproportionally large group of former Austrians’ among the émigrés and refugee scholars in the 1930s. The chapter then illustrates the often lowly occupations of many later famous social scientists and the remarkable intellectual milieu they were part of in Vienna. The final section examines the personal and social factors that influenced their fate in exile. It concludes that, within the larger group of German-speaking refugee scholars, the Austrians who later became sociologists had characteristics that enabled them to succeed after their traumatic experiences.

Keywords: Nazi refugees; anti-semitism; intellectual milieu; social scientists; émigrés; Austrian scientists; Austria; Vienna

Chapter.  7303 words. 

Subjects: Migration Studies

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