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Nikolaus Hagen: Gender and the Nazi Persecution of ‘Mixed Marriages’. The Cases of the Perlhefter and Loewit Siblings

Mittwoch, 27. November 2019, 16:00 - 17:30

1010 Vienna, Rabensteig 3, Research Lounge, 3rd Floor


VWI invites the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Vienna


event hagen 27112019 In 1939, roughly 20.000 marriages in the German Reich were considered ‘mixed marriages’ as a consequence of the Nuremberg Laws, due to one of the spouses declared ‘Jewish’. Although those deemed Jewish within such marriages were generally subject to the same persecution as other Jews, there was a precarious degree of ‘protection’, taking into consideration the non-Jewish spouses and families. However, the legal norms and the practical measures, which these couples were subject to, were manifold and complicated in nature and thus provided a degree of despotic arbitrariness, bringing about many individually and regionally differentiated experiences and consequences of persecution, including deportation and murder. These multifold experiences of persecution were gendered – an aspect often neglected. In this presentation, I will address such gendered experiences of persecution, taking biographical examples from early research on the Tyrol and Vorarlberg regions. Comparing and analysing the experiences of two pairs of siblings and their families – Anna and Max Perlhefter from Feldkirch and Olga and Karl Loewit from Innsbruck –, I will outline the challenges and potential insights of this research approach.


Commented by Michaela Raggam-Blesch

Nikolaus Hagen is Fortunoff Fellow at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust-Studies and Lecturer at the University College of Teacher Education Vorarlberg. He holds a PhD in Contemporary History from the University of Innsbruck. Previously, he was EHRI-Fellow at Arolsen Archives, Assistant Curator at the Jewish Museum Munich and Research Assistant at the University of Innsbruck.

Michaela Raggam-Blesch is a historian at the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Vienna and recipient of the Elise Richter postdoc grant from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) with a research project on intermarried families surviving the Nazi regime in Vienna. Selected Publications: Topographie der Shoah. Gedächtnisorte des zerstörten jüdischen Wien, together with Dieter J. Hecht, Eleonore Lappin-Eppel, Vienna 2018; „Privileged“ under Nazi-rule: The Fate of Three Intermarried Families in Vienna, in: Journal of Genocide Research, Volume 21, 3 (2019); and Survival of a Peculiar Remnant. The Jewish Population of Vienna During the Last Years of the War, in: Dapim. Studies on the Holocaust 29 (2015).

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