Which British people converted to Nazism

History of Argentinierstrasse 13

Robbery and Nazi persecution at Argentinierstrasse 13

Das Haus Argentinierstrasse 13, 1976, photographer: unknown. Source: Photo archive of the Federal Monuments Office.

Since 2018, the Vienna branch of the Mauthausen Memorial has been located at Argentinierstraße 13 in the fourth district of Vienna.

Immediately after Austria's "annexation" to Nazi Germany in March 1938, the persecution of people with different political views and those who were not regarded as part of the "national community" began. National Socialism also had serious consequences for the house at Argentinierstrasse 13 and those people who were connected to it. Among them are victims and, to varying degrees, perpetrators and profiteers.



A bourgeois residential palace as "enemy property"

The social democrat Emil Reich was a co-founder of the Ottakring Volksheim, which opened in 1901, and was the first adult education center, and an important promoter of the popular education system that was flourishing at the time. Photographer: C. Saitz, Vienna-Döbling. Source: Archive of the University of Vienna, 106.I.1028. Numerous bourgeois residential palaces were built on the Wieden in the 19th century. The one at Argentinierstrasse 13 was designed in 1880 by architect Leopold Theyer in the style of the German Renaissance.

At the time of the “Anschluss”, the university professor, sociologist and popular educator Emil Reich was the owner of the house. Although he had converted to the Protestant faith, Reich was considered a Jew by the National Socialists. He died in Vienna in December 1940. He bequeathed the house on Argentinierstrasse to his two nephews. Since these were British citizens, it could not be "Aryanized". However, it was classified as "hostile property" and an administrator was used. It was not until 1951 that Emil Reich's heirs were entered in the land register as the legal owners of the house at Argentinierstrasse 13.






Persecution of residents of Argentinierstrasse 13

At least five residents of the house were categorized as Jewish according to the National Socialist race laws and persecuted. Max Neustadtl, social democrat and property manager, was initially able to flee to France with his family. After the invasion of German troops, the family was imprisoned in 1942. Max Neustadtl was deported to the Sobibor extermination camp in 1943 and murdered. His son Rudolf Gustav managed to escape to Palestine via Spain. Helene Neustadtl, the wife of Max Neustadtl, experienced the liberation in France and traveled after her son. Hilda Schabel managed to escape to Cuba. Her stepson, a member of the SS, took possession of her property. After divorcing his “Aryan” wife, the textile entrepreneur Hans Groedel went into exile in Canada, where he committed suicide.

The owner of the in-house tropical fruit wholesaler Eugen Lang fled to the USA with his wife Helene.

Wedding photo of Hans Leopold Freiherr von Groedel and Baroness Marie Christine (née Freiin von Callenberg), February 19, 1924. Robbed of his great fortune and driven out, he committed suicide on February 19, 1945 in exile. Photo: Atelier d'Ora, Vienna. Wiener Salonblatt, March 29, 1924. Source: ANNO / Austrian National Library.

Confirmation of receipt for the identity cards of the International Refugee Organization (IRO) for Helene Neustadtl and her son Rudolf Gustav. This aid organization also supported returned refugees in Vienna. After her liberation, Helene traveled to her son in Palestine. In 1948 they returned to Austria. Source: Arolsen Archives, IRO “Care and Maintenance” program, CM / 1 files from Austria, 1698000.
















Supporters of National Socialism at Argentinierstrasse 13

Heinrich Rüdegger had been a member of the NSDAP since 1932. Before 1938 he was arrested several times as an illegal National Socialist and sentenced to two years in prison for activities for the party. After the “Anschluss” he became a member of the Greater German Reichstag and worked as an “Ariseur”.

Heinrich Rüdegger's name was on the first Austrian war criminals list, which was published in December 1945 by the Commission for the Preparation of War Crimes Trials. Österreichische Volksstimme, December 4, 1945. Source: ANNO / Austrian National Library.

After the liberation of Austria, the US Army arrested him as a high-ranking NSDAP member in September 1945. However, legal proceedings resulted in an acquittal.
Johann Tisch had been a member of the NSDAP since 1930 and joined the SA in 1932. He succeeded Max Neustadtl as property manager and lived in the house until 1970.
Nothing is documented about the role of the other residents during National Socialism.

From 1938 the “Fachgruppe Holzhandel” had its seat at Argentinierstrasse 13. This institution was involved in the “Aryanization” of companies in the timber industry.