Luithlen, Victor Joseph Paul

Victor Luithlen

Porträt, Schwarz-Weiß-Foto

20 May 1901 Vienna – 14 November 1987 Vienna

also Viktor Luithlen

Victor Luithlen, son of an official in the Ministry of Trade and Transport, obtained a doctorate in music at the University of Vienna in 1927 with a work on Johannes Brahms. After several years as an amanuensis (secretary) in the library and archive of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (The Society of Friends of Music) in Vienna, he joined the Kunsthistorisches Museum in November 1938, where the collection of historic musical instruments had been separated from the sculpture and applied art collection and put on display in Palais Pallavicini with the inventory of the Gesellschaft für Musikfreunde. In the service of Nazi propaganda, he organized regular concerts and also performed on the piano himself. He was a member of the Reichsmusikkammer (Reich Chamber of Music) and the Reichsbund Deutscher Beamter (Reich Federation of German Civil Servants). Several documents from the Nazi era (political assessments, CVs) state that Luithlen applied to join the NSDAP in 1938. He was given NSDAP membership number 9,477.302 in January 1941 but no membership card. In 1942 he travelled to Paris on behalf of his superior Fritz Dworschak and the Generalreferat für Kunstförderung, Staatstheater, Museen und Volksbildung (General Office for the Advancement of Art, State Theatre, Museums and Culture) at the Reichstatthalterei in Vienna to acquire academic books, musical instruments and coins. In March 1945 he replaced Gert Adriani as depot manager in Lauffen. Exempt from military service on health grounds, he was regarded throughout the war as indispensable on account of his expert knowledge and "involvement in confidential Reich matters" (salvaging of art works). At the end of 1945 he stated before the Sonderkommission I. Instanz at the Staatsamt für Volksaufklärung, für Unterricht und Erziehung und für Kultusangelegenheiten (Special Commission of the State Office for Popular Enlightenment, Schools, Education and Cultural Affairs) that his application to join the NSDAP had been backdated for strategic reasons. The judgment in December 1945 took account of this argumentation and classified him as a minor offender, which meant that under the terms of the early cancellation of the atonement by minor offenders provided for in the National Socialist Act (BGBl. 99/1948) of April 1948, he suffered no further financial or professional restrictions. He worked until 1947 in Bad Ischl supervising the return transport of the museum objects stored in Salzbergwerk Lauffen before returning to Vienna and working for the Kunsthistorisches Museum. In 1952 he was appointed head and in 1958 director of the Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, where he remained until mid-1967. A recognized musicologist, he was involved in 1950 in the redesign and reopening of the house in Salzburg where Mozart was born. In 1960 he was elected president of the newly established International Committee of Museums and Collections of Instruments and Music (CIMCIM), and in 1965 its honorary president. In 1977 he was awarded the österreichisches Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst I. Klasse (Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art 1st class).

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Alexander Rausch,  Luithlen, Victor, in: Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon online, URL: (3.12.2020).

Stephan Turmalin, Die Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente des Kunsthistorischen Museums in Wien während der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus, Wien 2018.

Literaturarchiv der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, Viktor Luithlen, in: Verzeichnis der künstlerischen, wissenschaftlichen und kulturpolitischen Nachlässe in Österreich, URL: (3.12.2020).

Publications by the person / institution

Victor Luithlen, Studie zu Johannes Brahms' Werken in Variationenform, Dissertation Universität Wien 1927.
Victor Luithlen, Führer durch die Sonderschau. Klaviere aus fünf Jahrhunderten, Wien 1939.
Victor Luithlen, Saiteninstrumente. Klaviere, Streichinstrumente, Zupfinstrumente, Wien 1941.
Victor Luithlen, Alte Musikinstrumente. Die Sammlung des Kunsthistorischen Museums in der Neuen Burg zu Wien, Wien 1954.

Karl Geiringer/Hedwig Kraus/Victor Luithlen, Johannes Brahms. Zentenar-Ausstellung der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien, Wien 1933.


KHM-Archiv, I 109, Sonderbestand Senat 7 (Sonderkommission), Verhandlungsschrift Viktor Luithlen, 18.12.1945; III 1047, PA Viktor Luithlen; III 2116 Parte Victor Luithlen; IV 40, NL Viktor Luithlen.

OeStA/AdR, UWK, BMU, Personalakten, 3/103, Viktor Luithlen.
OeStA/AdR, ZNsZ, Gauakt 76052, Viktor Luithlen.

WStLA, Gauakten, A1-'Gauakten', Personalakten des Gaues Wien, Zl. 218033, Viktor Luithlen.