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Memorial Book About Jewish Lawyers from Austria

1843 Jewish lawyers were registered in 1938 as Austrian Bar members in 1938, out of a total number of 2541 lawyers.

On October 1st 1938, most of the Jewish lawyers were disbarred, for one reason only- They had no Aryan blood.

The Austrian Bar Association honored the Jewish lawyers who were deprived of their profession during the NS regime, by publishing a memorial book. The book was presented on 8-11-2010, on evening of the Pogrom night that happened in 1938. The title of the book is "Advocaten 38"

The memorial project started thanks to the initiative of Dr. Alix Frank-Tomasser ,a lawyer from Vienna who visited Israel two years ago and brought with her a list of the disbarred Jewish lawyers. Her enthusiasm gave life to the continuing efforts of the Israel Bar association to honor the Austrian Jewish lawyers who were expelled from the profession and lost their means of existence within one day.

Since that visit, a team of Israeli lawyers and the Austrian Bar, who appointed the historian, Ms. Barbara Sauer revealed the fate of every Austrian Jewish lawyer that was registered in Austria in 1938. The fact that 1843 out of 2541 lawyers in Austria were Jewish and therefore disbarred, emphasizes the importance of tracing their path and destiny before and after the Anschlus.

On March 13th 1938 there have been 2.541 lawyers registered as members of the Austrian bar association - on December 31st there were only 598 left. All those excluded lawyers, were victims of the national-socialistic regime. On January 1st 1938 there have been registered 506 associates, on December 31st 1938 there were only 76 associates in the register of the Austrian bar association - 430 names were deleted.

The fate of one of those many, Desider Friedman, emphasizes the tragedy.

Desider Friedmann, was a famous lawyer at that time. He was president of the Jewish Community in Vienna since 1932. He was born in 1880 in Boskovice (Czech Republic) and moved to Austria, where he studied and worked as a lawyer. Since his early adolescence he was a Zionist and he always stood up for the rights of the Jewish citizens of Austria. Thanks to his commitment social, cultural and education programs have been developed. He was arrested on the day of the Anschlus -18-3-1938 and deported to Dachau. From there he was sent to the concentration camp in Buchenwald . He was set free in April 1939. He refused to cooperate with Eichmann and therefore was deported together with his wife to Terezin on 12.10.1944 , then to Auscwitz were he was he murdered. His two daughters survived and were able to reach Palestine.

Joel Levi was one of those who started the project and assisted in the process of publishing the memorial book.

Article by Joel Levi about the book

German Article about the book, published in the Austrian Jewish community journal, November, 2010


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