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Return to Vienna

Return to Vienna

There’s so much to report about my recent trip to Vienna, hosted by the Jewish Welcome Service, and so little time to do it right now as I prepare to leave for a book tour. But I won’t bury the lede. I’m thinking very seriously of returning to Vienna next year for a much longer time — a minimum of three months, the length of a tourist visa. If I can get a work or study visa for some of the projects I have in mind, I’d like to stay even longer.

And do I even have to tell you (I guess I do, because a few people already have asked)? OF COURSE I’LL BRING MADELEINE.

I’m also planning to apply for dual citizenship. As someone whose parents were both born in the city and forced by the Nazis to leave — or, rather, forced to try to get out by hook or crook or be sent to their deaths — I am likely entitled to Austrian citizenship.

Heinestrasse 37, my father’s house. The door (see below) is next to the Tabak

My father lived in 14a, which is now occupied by the Coello family. I’m not sure about the “a” because there is no longer a “b.”

I can’t think of a better time to consider that contingency. Wouldn’t it be ironic to have to flee to Austria because of the political situation in the U.S.?

All this to say there’s a high likelihood that there will be plenty of reporting about Vienna in my future. And yours.

A Few Things that happened on this trip to Vienna

  • I stayed at the superb Hotel Stefanie, the oldest hotel in Vienna though it’s as spiffing as if it were new.
  • I ate lots of pastry and went on a fruitless (pun intended) search for marzipan candy. See the picture in the corner of this post? This was put on Facebook by my new blogger friend Nino Loss of Schibboleth fame after I returned from Vienna. I thought that was cruel but I admit it did have an inspirational effect.

Buying me a piece of strudel mit schlag went a long way to compensating for a lack of marzipan

 

  • I drank lots of beer.
  • I ate schnitzel and goulasch.

  • I met some relatives I knew I had and a possible relative I thought I might have; made several new friends; and met a few old friends, including one for the first time.
  • I found my father’s house (see earlier photos) at the Archive of the Jewish Community, Vienna, and discovered my grandmother’s birth name was Malvina, not Mathilde as I had always thought. My sister, who was named Tilda after her maternal grandmother, should probably be grateful.
  • I’m pretty sure I found the site of the Cafe Victoria, which OSK (the Other Siegmund Kornmehl) owned. 
  • I went to the University of Vienna Medical School to meet with the head of the psychology department.
  • I contemplated my connection with Vienna.

These are all teasers, yes. I promise more details soon (which may be August).

Speaking of teasers, I forgot to mention that I found out the fate of a mystery member of my family before I went to Vienna. Stay tuned….  

Opening Up to Elijah: A Passover Story

Opening Up to Elijah: A Passover Story

Call me a seder skeptic. I’m fond of the Passover story, its message of exile and redemption. I especially like the ritual of saving a place at the table and a glass of wine for the prophet Elijah. Like Santa Claus, he is required to visit millions of homes in a single night. Opening the door for him to comeContinue Reading »

Grief, Food, & Nudity: A Story About My Mother & My New Book

Not long after my father died, I went to Martinique with my mother. I remember three things about that trip.  My mother’s grief. The profiteroles. And the topless beach. Grief, food, and nudity My mother was in a raw stage of mourning, subject to fits of literal wailing. But no one in my family was everContinue Reading »

Of Chutzpah, Kickstarter, and Keeping a Low Profile

Of Chutzpah, Kickstarter, and Keeping a Low Profile

When I was growing up, my mother always implied that my sister and I should keep a low profile. We were supposed to excel in school, sure, but not to stand out because otherwise “they” would find us, even though we grew up in America, even though “they” found everyone they wanted to find inContinue Reading »

A New Journey

A New Journey

Dear Freud’s Butcherites Friends of Freud’s Butcher, As you may have noticed — at least I hope so — I haven’t been around much lately. The short version of the reason: I’m not a very good multitasker. For many years, I’ve had a travel memoir on my back burner. And I finally decided to finish itContinue Reading »

Of Genealogies and Possibilities: A New Year’s Musing

Of Genealogies and Possibilities: A New Year’s Musing

Happy 2015. It’s that time of year when all the possibilities seem to open up. January 1 is an arbitrary date, of course, but who doesn’t want to believe in fresh starts, in learning from our experiences, even if those experiences sometimes seem arbitrary too? I ended last year on a sad note, with the accidental death of aContinue Reading »

In Memoriam, Jean Phillips, 1953-2014

In Memoriam, Jean Phillips, 1953-2014

This page is for those who knew and loved Jean to post pictures and remembrances, long or short. Feel free to post text remembrances in the comments section here. Edie Jarolim, Tucson, AZ I’ve met many wonderful people through this blog. I never know when a relative I didn’t know I had or someone with information about Freud or rolledContinue Reading »

If Freud Celebrated Sukkot

If Freud Celebrated Sukkot

Jews around the world recently celebrated Sukkot, a joyous holiday that follows five days after the very solemn Yom Kippur; it has its roots as a harvest/agricultural festival. I won’t attempt to explain it in detail here; if you want to read all about it, including a discussion of how to pronounce it, here’s a linkContinue Reading »

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Sigmund Freud, Including His Eyeglass Prescription

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Sigmund Freud, Including His Eyeglass Prescription

I’d be hard pressed to guess how many pages have been devoted to the life and times of Sigmund Freud. Hundreds of thousands? Millions? I’ve contributed more than a hundred here alone. But there are still a few things about the father of psychoanalysis that most people don’t know, 75 years after his death, details about hisContinue Reading »

And the Memoir Contest Winner Is…

And the Memoir Contest Winner Is…

First of all, thanks to all of you who participated in the win-a-great-memoir contest. Short and long, the family stories posted in the comments were great. I urge you to read all the them if you didn’t when you posted your own story or if you’re just checking in now. And the winner, chosen by Random.org,Continue Reading »