Reichmann, Alois, Buch- und Antiquariatshandlung

Buch- und Antiquariatshandlung Alois Reichmann


Alois Reichmann from Bohemia founded Buch- und Antiquariatshandlung Alois Reichmann in 1896 with his wife Emilie, née Löwy, at Wiedner Hauptstraße 18–20 in Vienna's 4th district. The company specialized in nature study, art and intellectual subjects and old prints and quickly developed into one of the largest antiques dealerships in Vienna with an inventory of around 400,000 books. In 1927 their son Felix Reichmann became a partner in the company and managed after the death of Alois Reichmann on 27 September 1936 together with his mother Emilie Reichmann.

After the annexation of Austria to the National Socialist German Reich, the Reichmann family was persecuted by the Nazis because of their Jewish origins. Karl Günther, who had worked in the company since 1922, denounced his boss Felix Reichmann and another employee Hans Edelmann, who had been with the company since 1929, to the Gestapo. Edelmann was arrested and Felix Reichmann was deported to Dachau in March 1938, from where he was transferred to Buchenwald in February 1939. Karl Günther, since 1934 a member of the NSDAP, became temporary administrator of the company in April 1938. He arranged the immediate transfer and sale of valuable books and had the remainder inspected by the Gestapo. The confiscated books included Judaica, socialist and psychoanalytical literature. The Vermögensverkehrsstelle (Property Transaction Office) gave Johannes Katzler permission to Aryanize the company on 26 October 1938 for a purchase price of 27,350 Reichsmarks. Günther ceased to be temporary administrator on 2 December 1938, and the Alois Reichmann company was deleted from the register of companies on 18 November 1940. Katzler moved the expropriated stocks of the booksellers Richard Lányi, Moritz Perles, Josef Kende, Max Breitenstein, Carl Wilhelm Stern and Heinrich Saar to Alois Reichmann's warehouse. Felix Reichmann fled to the USA after being released from Buchenwald, while Emilie Reichmann went to Britain. On release from protective custody, Hans Edelmann managed to get to Britain, where he was interned and then transferred to Australia and again interned. His wife Helene, who was not a Jew according to the National Socialist definition, remained in Vienna but was banned from working.

After the war, the police department in Wieden secured the bookstore, and it was reopened in September 1945. From October 1945 it was under public administration by Elvira Grosz, daughter of the deceased Josef Kende, and Otto Kerry, a long-standing employee of Reichmann. On 12 October 1946, Hans Edelmann, who had returned from Australia and had been authorized by Reichmann to manage the company, replaced Kerry as public administrator. Edelmann and Grosz examined the remaining stocks in an attempt to identify their former books but had little success because the books from the various Aryanized businesses had not been marked and because a large number had been mislaid or sold. The lists compiled after 1945 contain only a small number of the books originally belonging to Reichmann, Stern, Perles, Lányi and the others and restituted to their heirs. Günther was convicted of denunciation (Section 7 War Criminals Act) by the Vienna Volksgericht on 7 June 1947 and sentenced to imprisonment for three and a half years. He was released in January 1949. The Aryanization of the Reichmann company was the object of the Volksgericht trial of Katzler, leading to a sentence of eighteen months' imprisonment and the forfeiture of his assets, on account, among other things, of illegal enrichment (Section 6 War Criminals Act). Emilie Reichmann, who returned to Vienna from Britain in 1949, had already applied in September 1947 under the Second Restitution Act for restitution of the company and its inventory, but she died on 21 July 1950 before the case was settled. By a decision of the Finanzlandesdirektion für Wien, Niederösterreich und das Burgenland (Regional Tax Office for Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland) of 26 April 1951, Buchhandlung Alois Reichmann was restituted to Felix Reichmann, his sister Lisbeth, married Danbury, and Hans Edelmann. Hans Edelmann and his son were to continue to run the business at the location where it was originally founded in 1896.

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Katja Bertz, "Arisierung" im österreichischen Buchhandel. Auf den Spuren der Buchhandlungen Richard Lányi, Alois Reichmann, Josef Kende, Moritz Perles, M. Breitenstein, Heinrich Saar und Dr. Carl Wilhelm Stern, Diplomarbeit Universität Wien 2009.

Sigrid Buchhas, Der österreichische Buchhandel im Nationalsozialismus. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Buchhandels unter besonderer Berücksichtigung Wiens, Diplomarbeit Universität Wien 1993.


OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, FLD, 15063-18/51, Emilie Reichmann.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, FLD, 19685, Emilie Reichmann.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, Hilfsfonds, Abgeltungsfonds 8710, Emilie Reichmann.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, Hilfsfonds, Abgeltungsfonds 8709, Felix Reichmann.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt. VA 2339, Alois Reichmann.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, VA 43035, Emilie Reichmann.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, VA 30250, Felix Reichmann.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt, Statistik 1890, Alois Reichmann
OeStA/AdR, ZNsZ, Gauakt 50484, Johannes Katzler.

WStLA, Handelsregister Wien, MA 8, A13, 75a, Alois Reichmann, Buchhandlung.
WStLA, M.Abt. 119, A 25, ÖVA, Handel, Gewerbe 1945-1950-142 Alois Reichmann.
WStLA, M.Abt. 119, A41 – VEAV 6, 4. Bez., Felix Reichmann.
WStLA, Volksgericht, A1, Vg 1e Vr 7370/46, Karl Günther.
WStLA, Volksgericht, A1, Vg Vr 5194/46, Johannes Katzler.