This project focuses on the living conditions of women and men of “half-Jewish” descent during the time of the Nazi regime in Vienna, who were protected through a non-Jewish parent. The mere existence of these people and how to categorize them challenged the doctrine of purity of National Socialist race ideology. The fact that the regime ultimately had to revert to religious denomination criteria in order to secure assumptions of race ideology illustrates the absurdities of National Socialist ideology.

In spite of the fact that Vienna had the highest Jewish population within the German speaking regions of the German Reich, there has been little research on this subject for the Austrian context. This project intends to help close this research gap and aims to position itself within international debates of Holocaust studies: Research on National Socialist rule within a tangible local environment as well as the concept of agency regarding contemporary protagonists have recently gained renewed interest among historians. This study follows Saul Friedländer and his concept of an integrated history, where the persecuted are taken seriously as individuals and where their perspective is taken into account as much as the actions of the perpetrators.

This habilitation project explores the experiences of “half-Jewish” women and men during the years of 1938-1945 in Vienna. Besides questions regarding identities of people who were considered “in between”, this project will also investigate aspects of inclusion and exclusion, group solidarity and gender.

Publications: Michaela Raggam-Blesch


Lead Researcher:
Michaela Raggam-Blesch

FWF / Elise Richter-Programm

Continuation of the project at the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Vienna: Link