The Austrian Heritage Collection (AHC) at the Leo Baeck Institutes in the USA and in Israel currently encompasses the life stories of more than 700 people. This makes the AHC not only one of the largest collections about the history of Austrian-Jewish emigration to the USA and Israel, but also one of the largest collections of exile history generally.
Over the coming years, significant parts of the AHC collection will be processed, augmented with biographical materials (photos, documents, etc.), and made available to an interested audience on the website of the Austrian Heritage Archive free of charge.
The Austrian Heritage Archive (AHA) collects video and audio interviews with Jewish Austrian emigrés who fled to the USA or Palestine/Israel during the National Socialist period or immediately afterwards.
In 1938 there were around 200,000 Jewish people living in Austria. Of those, 30,000 people were able to reach the USA and 15,000 fled to Israel. The USA and Israel are among the main places of exile for the persecuted and displaced Jews of Austria.
The interviews are presented in their edited form and are accompanied by biographical documents and materials. In this way, the Austrian Heritage Archive is able to offer a resource to academics and anybody else with an interest in history to look in more depth at the life stories of the people featured.
The interviews were conducted by young Austrians over the past 25 years and collected and archived in the Leo Baeck Institute New York and the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem as part of the Austrian Heritage Collection.
By the end of 2022, forty interviews will be placed online and an app will be created for smartphones and tablets.