Popper, Georg

Georg Popper


26 November 1883 Vienna – 17 June 1959 Washington D. C.


after flight to the USA: George E. Popper


Georg Popper graduated in mechanical engineering from the Technische Hochschule in Vienna in 1907. He worked afterwards as a patent lawyer and later as a partner in the company H. Palm, which traded on commission. From 1921 to 1938 he lived in the house of his brother Stefan Maximilian Popper at Alszeile 101 in Vienna's 17th district. A prospective entitlement to this property was entered for Popper in the land registry. After the Nazis came to power, the NSDAP Neuwaldegg local group, "Kreisamt" IX, and the Dornbach local group of the Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt (NSV) (National Socialist People's Welfare) had their headquarters in the Popper villa. On 20 June 1938 the Austrian Patent Office withdrew the licence of Georg Popper and twelve other Jewish patent lawyers. The H. Palm company was liquidated the same year. In his asset declaration, Popper listed furniture, carpets, silverware and a number of pictures and an extensive ethnographic collection consisting of weapons, ritual, household and lighting objects and clothing from Asia, Africa and Australia, supplemented by comparable European objects, including woodcuts, pictures, sketches and transparencies. After Popper had been interned for some weeks in early 1939 at the Landesgericht für Strafsachen (provincial court for criminal matters) in Vienna, he fled shortly after his release to the USA and lived from 1942 in Washington D. C. He became US citizen and changed his name to George E. Popper.

During the provenance research at the Weltmuseum Wien it was established that some of Popper's collection had been transferred during the Nazi era to the Museum für Völkerkunde. In 1939, the Gestapo had assigned numerous ethnographic objects and forty-seven books and multi-volume publications against payment of 400 Reichsmarks to the museum. The ninety-four objects were not inventoried until years later. Two asset expropriation reports by the museum in 1946 indicate that Kreisamt IX of the NSV in Kalvarienberggasse in the 17th district had given the ethnographic objects to the Gestapo after they had "probably been expropriated during various house clearances". The Österreichisches Museum für Volkskunde (Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art) in Vienna had also received objects from Popper's collection from the NSV Hernals. As neither a first name or an address was listed, it was not until several asset declarations under the name Popper in the Austrian State Archives had been investigated and research carried out on the organization structure of the NSV in Vienna that the objects in the two museums were definitively attributed to Georg Popper. The Art Restitution Advisory Board recommended the restitution of the objects and books from the Weltmuseum Wien in 2009 and from the Volkskundemuseum in 2016. The heir has now been identified.

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Beschluss des Kunstrückgabebeirats, Georg Popper, 24.6.2009, URL: www.provenienzforschung.gv.at/beiratsbeschluesse/Popper_Georg_2009-06-24.pdf (23.11.2020).
Beschluss des Kunstrückgabebeirats, Georg Popper, 15.1.2016, URL: www.provenienzforschung.gv.at/beiratsbeschluesse/Popper_Georg_2016-01-15.pdf (23.11.2020).

Gabriele Anderl, Georg Popper und Stefan Maximilian Popper, in: Evelyn Adunka/Gabriele Anderl, Jüdisches Leben in der Wiener Vorstadt. Ottakring und Hernals, Neuauflage Wien 2020, 186–191.

Gabriele Anderl, Provenienzforschung am Museum für Völkerkunde in Wien, in: Archiv für Völkerkunde 59–60 (2009) (erschienen 2012), 1–58.


BDA-Archiv, Restitutionsmaterialien, K. 4/2, Wiener Museen, N– V, Mappe Museum für Volkskunde.

OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, FLD, Zl. 10.089, Georg Popper.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, Hilfsfonds, Zl. 21.177, Georg Popper.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, VA 5.789, Georg Popper.

Weltmuseum Wien, Archiv, Direktionsakten, D 39 / 431 a, b, c; D 39 / 101 b, 102 a.
Weltmuseum Wien, Inventarbände, Post XII / 1939 (Ing. Georg Popper).
Weltmuseum Wien, Inventarbände der Bibliothek, 1940.

WStLA, Handbibliothek, Handbuch Reichsgau Wien, 1941: Kreisamtsleitungen und Ortsgruppen der NSV in Wien.
WStLA, M. Abt. 119, A 41, VEAV, J 1594 und J 699, 1. Bez., NSV Hernals Museum für Völkerkunde.