Destroyed research in Nazi Vienna: The tragic fate of the Institute for Experimental Biology in Austria


Abstract


Relative to its size, no scientific institute was hit harder by National Socialism than Vienna’s Institute for Experimental Biology (Biologische Versuchsanstalt, BVA). Of the 33 collaborators before March 1938, 18 were expelled immediately after the «Anschluss» for racist reasons. Among them were two of the three founders and sponsors, zoologist Hans Przibram and botanist Leopold von Portheim. Seven members of the BVA were killed in the Holocaust, including Przibram. The building was destroyed by fire during the last days of the war. Afterwards the Institute remained forgotten and suppressed. It took more than 75 years after Austria’s annexation, before the Academy of Sciences – from 1914 to 1945 owner of the BVA – acknowledged the tragic history of the Institute.


Keywords


National Socialism; history of biology; Vienna; Hans Przibram; Holocaust

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