The Israelitisches Blindeninstitut (Jewish Institute for the Blind) founded on the initiative of the doctor, writer, secretary and archivist of the Vienna Jewish Community (IKG Wien) Ludwig August Frankl (1810–1894) started classes in 1873. The Viennese banker Jonas Königswarter financed the institute, and Anselm Rothschild, Friedrich Schey and Zacharias Königswarter were among the many other prominent personalities who donated substantial amounts. A three-storey building designed by Wilhelm Stiassny was built at Hohe Warte 32 in the 19th district with dormitories for twenty girls and thirty boys, classrooms, a gymnasium, bath, laundry, basket-weaving and rope-making workshops and a braille printing shop. During its lifetime it was regarded internationally as one of the most progressive institutes of its type.
After the annexation of Austria to the German Reich in March 1938, the Stillhaltekommissar für Vereine, Organisationen und Verbände (Liquidation Commissar for Associations, Organizations and Societies) started proceedings to liquidate the institute and on 15 May 1939 ordered that the property owned by the association be transferred to the Aufbaufonds Vermögensverwertungsgesellschaft mbH. The supporting association was allowed to continue to exist on condition that it changed its name to Jüdische Blindenanstalt, Taubstummen- und Krüppelhilfe Hohe Warte (Jewish Blind Institute, Mute and Cripple Aid). In January 1941, the city of Vienna acquired the site from this association and leased it to the IKG, which was obliged to use the building exclusively as an old people's home for "non-Aryan wards with a special section for blind, mute and crippled Jews". If alternative accommodation was found for the wards, the city of Vienna demanded that the property be evacuated immediately. In October 1941 there were 117 blind occupants aged between ten years and over eighty, most of whom were deported to Theresienstadt. Thereafter, the Hohe Warte was put under the control of the Vienna Reichgau as a "social women's school". SS-Hauptsturmführer Alois Brunner ordered that the surplus inventory be valuated and sold on the spot. In April 1943 Department G, Building, sent the keystone certificate from 1871 as well as plans and documents to the Städtische Sammlungen Wien. In May 1943 a bust of Ludwig August Frankl, which had stood in front of the building, was also added.
In 1946, the city of Vienna as owner of the property rented the site to the Federal Police Department in Vienna, which installed Döbling police station, which is still there today. Following a decision by the Restitution Commission, the site and building was returned to the IKG, which sold it to the city of Vienna.
On 2 October 2003, the Vienna Restitution Commission decided unanimously that the objects in the Wien Museum formerly owned by the Verein Israelitisches Blindeninstitut Hohe Warte in Wien should be returned to the IKG as legal successor of the institute.