'The complexity of my condition: an Austrian, a Jew'. This diary entry by Arthur Schnitzler in 1913 serves as epigraph of our lecture series Jews, Politics and Austria organised together with the Leo Baeck Institute. The series introduces Jewish intellectuals, artists and scientists who, in the early years of the twentieth century, lived and worked in the Austro-Hungarian empire and in the Republic of Austria. In such troubled times how did living under various political systems –the Austrian monarchy, the republic and finally austrofascism – influence their thinking and their work? How did they react to the loss of authority, the longing for cultural homogeneity and the multifarious forms of violence they experienced and which new concepts did they develop in response?
The second lecture in this series will focus on the life and work of Hans Kelsen (1881-1973), one of the preeminent jurists of the 20th century. The fact that he was a Jew did not influence his legal writings and theories. Despite this his work often came under attack from anti-liberal, anti-democratic and anti-Semitic circles. Kelsen’s main practical legacy is as the inventor of the modern European model of the constitutional review – first used in the Austrian First Republic. Other notable appointments included a professorship in Cologne in 1930 followed by a professorship at the German University in Prague from 1936-38. In 1940 he emigrated to the United States where he later became Professor at the University of California, Berkley.
Professor Raphael Gross is Director of the Jewish Museum Frankfurt, the Fritz Bauer Institute and the Leo Baeck Institute London. He is also a Reader in History at Queen Mary, University of London, as well as honorary professor at the University of Frankfurt. His most recent publication was Anständig geblieben. Nationalsozialistische Moral, Frankfurt am Main 2012 (Fischer Taschenbuch).
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