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Mark Lewis

Research Fellow (10/2016-06/2017)


The History of the Vienna Political Police. Continuities and Discontinuities, 1914–1945


LEWIS 02This research project investigates continuities and discontinuities in the operations and mind-set of the Vienna political police through four political eras: during the First World War, in the First Republic, in the ‘Ständestaat’ the so-called Corporative State 1934–1938, and during the Nazi period. Four hypotheses are here proposed: 1) the police bureaucracy was at first politically subordinate to the state and later became an independent power centre with few legal restrictions; 2) the police started with certain concepts of ‘suspicious people’ and ‘state enemies’ and subsequently expanded these in each era; 3) their cultural prejudices against Slavs, Jews, Roma, and women increased during these eras; and 4) their cultural practices of technical expertise and thorough investigation were replaced by a dependence on political reliability and the use of violence. This project intends to create a database of the social background and the activities of Vienna Gestapo members to examine these hypotheses.


Mark Lewis is Associate Professor of European History at the City University of New York - College of Staten Island. His research interests include the history of international criminal law and the history of the political police in Central Europe and the Balkans. He is the author of The Birth of the New Justice: The Internationalization of Crime and Punishment, 1919-1950, Oxford 2016.

July 2024
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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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