Arisierungskommission der Wiener Photographeninnung

Arisierungskommission der Wiener Photographeninnung


Aryanization commission of the Vienna photographers' guild

other name: Arisierungskommission der Wiener Photographenzunft

After parliament was abolished in 1933/34 and in the following years of Austrofascism, (illegal) members of the NSDAP infiltrated photographer associations, committees and representative organizations. At the same time, the number of Jewish photographers in professional decision-making bodies dwindled. Immediately after the annexation of Austria to the German Reich, the National Socialists active before 1938 in the committees of the Vienna photographers' guild took over leading positions in the guild. They formed an Aryanization commission to exclude Jewish photographers and started work on the basis of existing planning lists. These lists contained the names of the Jewish companies scheduled for liquidation or Aryanization. The commission was made up of an informal group of photographers within the guild consisting of the newly appointed decision-making bodies, committees and informants (Vertrauensmänner). In the following months they were to manage the Aryanization process. The commission was chaired by Egon Jelinek, the temporary guild master appointed after the annexation, who in October 1938 became regional master of the photography guild for the Ostmark. The committee consisted of the industrial photography Karl Rudolf Scherb, Silverius Frey, whom Jelinek replaced as guild master, and Josef A. Detoni, who in 1938 was to become secretary of the Ostmark regional guild. Also on the committee were Gustav Nohynek, who was to succeed Jelinek in 1940 as master of the guild, and Franz Brandstätter, who had been secretary of the guild since 1936. The informants were Roland Blumentritt, holder of the Blood Order, and Heinrich Schuhmann. The committee's tasks included selection of the businesses to be liquidated as a means, above all, of optimizing profits by reducing the amount of competition within the profession. At the same time, it was entitled to appeal or make suggestions to the higher-level Vermögensverkehrsstelle (Property Transaction Office) regarding suitable candidates for Aryanization, a right it made abundant use of. It forced Jewish photographers to give up their business licences and drew up protocols during the Aryanization processes to document the "attitudes of the Jews". Parallel to their functions in the Aryanization commission, the members functioned as treasurers during the Aryanizations and liquidation of businesses and as temporary administrators. Various sources report of their intimidation of Jewish photographers, violence, denunciation to the Gestapo and personally enrichment.

In 1938 there were around 700 registered photographers (excluding camera shops) in Vienna, many of whom worked from home on account of the enduring economic crisis. From April 1938 all of the liquidated and Aryanized businesses and those whose licence had been revoked were documented in the trade magazine Allgemeine photographische Zeitung published by Detoni. According to a list published in the magazine in July 1939, 39 Jewish businesses had been Aryanized and 145 liquidated. Valuable photo equipment and archives built up over decades disappeared as a result through theft and looting and the expropriation of assets. Of the members of the Aryanization commission, only Jelinek, Blumentritt and Nohynek were charged after 1945 before a Volksgericht under § 10 and § 11 of the Prohibition Act ("Illegality/qualified illegality"), § 3 ("Torture and maltreatment"), § 4 ("Violation of human rights and dignity") and § 6 and § 7 ("Illegal enrichment and denunciation") of the War Criminals Act. After serving prison sentences, they all continued to work as photographers.

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Kurzberichte, in: Allgemeine photographische Zeitung (1939) 7, 1, URL: (3.12.2020).

Joseph A. Detoni, Österreichisches-Photo-Adressbuch, Wien 1934–1937.


Archiv der Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, Gewerbeakt, Egon Jelinek.
Archiv der Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, Gewerbeakt, Roland Blumentritt.

OeStA/AdR, BKA, Zl. 210.199/12-2N/57, Egon Jelinek.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, FLD, 40774 Maximilian Birnbaum.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, Gewerbe, 1189, Franz Löwy.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, Gewerbe, 1306, Willi Pollak.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, Gewerbe, 4060, Nachim Chefez.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, Gewerbe, 4066, Oskar Weitzmann.
OeStA/AdR, Präsidentschaftskanzlei, Zl. 15601/55, Egon Jellinek.
OeStA/AdR, Präsidentschaftskanzlei, Zl. 1633/57, Egon Jellinek.
OeStA/AdR, ZNsZ, Gauakt 7.310, Gustav Nohynek.
OeStA/AdR, ZNsZ, Gauakt 12.296, Silverius Frey.
OeStA/AdR, ZNsZ, Gauakt 12.281, Maximilian Kretschek.
OeStA/AdR, ZNsZ, Gauakt 14.965, Josef A. Detoni.
OeStA/AdR, ZNsZ, Gauakt 59.101, Karl Scherb.

WStLA, Gauakten, A1, Personalakten des Gaues Wien, Josef A. Detoni.
WStLA, Volksgericht, A1, Vg 12 Vr 3617/47, Jelinek Egon.
WStLA, Volksgericht, A1, Vg 1h Vr 6587/47, Alfred Wenzl, Egon Jelinek, Gustav Nohynek.
WStLA, Volksgericht, A1, Vg 1 Vr 4635/45, Gustav Nohynek, Johann Poppovic.
WStLA, Volksgericht, A1, Vg Vr 2537/47, Gustav Nohynek, Johann Poppovic.
WStLA, Volksgericht, A1, Vg 1h Vr 6587/47, Alfred Wenzl, Egon Jelinek, Gustav Nohynek.
WStLA, Volksgericht, A1, Vg 5a Vr, 7275/48 Roland Blumentritt.