Johann JELLINEK was born in Schumitz, Moravia (in Austria-Hungary at the time, later Czechoslovakia and now the Czech Republic) on April 12, 1875. He was Jewish and the son of Salomon Jellinek and Anna Taus who were innkeepers in Schumitz. Johann studied medicine in Vienna and specialized in dermatology, urology, and venereal diseases.
He began practicing in Salzburg in March 1907, and after July 1909 he had his residence and his medical practice on the second floor of the Danube Insurance Co. building at 1 Dreifaltigkeitsgasse (also 2 Platzl). The Salzburg business directory in 1938 recorded him as:
Dr. Johann JELLINEK, Medical Councilor, retired secondary physician [that is assistant chief of service] and former medical assistant at the [Vienna] General Hospital, specialist for dermatology, urinary and venereal diseases and cosmetics, x-ray diathermy, high altitude sun and also light and sound treatment.
Dr. JELLINEK, was awarded the title of Medical Councilor by the President of Austria in 1930. He was the only Jewish doctor in Salzburg so he was especially sought out by Jewish patients, including the famous Jewish author Stefan Zweig who lived at number 5 Kapuzinerberg. In the spring of 1924 his wife Friderike was away in Abbazia when he wrote to her about his illness and praised his Salzburg doctor:
I haven’t written a word to you about being confined to bed for seven days, it was pretty bad and I couldn’t write: stomach flu with all its unpleasant symptoms left me pretty miserable at times.
Alfred [his brother from Vienna] came for a day and was so satisfied with the doctor’s treatment (Dr. Jellinek, who is very capable) that he gave up the original plan to take me to Vienna. But I will have to keep to a strict diet for a long time …
The Zweig and JELLINEK families were friends from then on as is demonstrated by their dinners together in the Münchnerhof Hotel at 3 Dreifaltigkeitsgasse.
Dr. JELLINEK’s wife Gisela was born in Vienna on September 19, 1877. She was the daughter of Philipp Mandl and Theresa Rosenfeld – both of whom were buried in the Jewish section of the Vienna Central Cemetery. On April 7, 1907 the Jellinek’s son Kurt was born in Salzburg. Kurt attended the academic high school in Salzburg and then studied medicine in Vinna like his father.
Dr. Kurt Jellinek was a hospital doctor in Vienna and in 1936 he opened a practice at 36 Linzer Bundesstraße – in a working class and railroader section of Salzburg-Gnigl. He married Maria Gascho from Bavaria who was a Lutheran.
The Jellinek family had local citizenship rights in the city of Salzburg since 1917. In 1932 Gisela Jellinek acquired the house at 23 Lasserstraße, not far from the synagogue in Salzburg.
In 1938 the two Jewish doctors in Salzburg were forced to close their practices. The 32 year old doctor Kurt JELLINEK and his wife Maria had been living in his mother’s property at 23 Lasserstraße since March 1939 when they acquired the visas and affidavits that allowed them to move to the United States. They sailed from Genoa to New York and arrived on November 9, 1939.
They settled in Middleborough (Middleboro), Massachusetts, where Kurt and Mary continued to get mail from Vienna until the US and Germany went to war in December 1941.
In May 1938 Dr. Johann and Gisela JELLINEK were forced to turn their apartment and consulting rooms at 1 Dreifaltigkeitsgasse over to the Alpine Land District Leadership of the Nazi’s Reichskriegerbund. Until the spring of 1942 they lived at 61 Lange Gasse in Vienna’s 8th District. Then they lived at 8 Haasgasse in the 2nd District – in a »collection apartment« where Jews were housed prior to deportation to concentration or extermination camps.
Papers found in Dr. JELLINEK’s estate indicate that in 1941 the couple had prepared to leave on a train to the Far East, one that never left because of the war that followed Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union (»RR ticket Berlin – Shanghai, 28.000 Marks, Jewish Community Account D, paid March 17, 1941«).
On July 28, 1942, as their deportation became imminent, Johann wrote to his children in Middleboro:
As we will be sent from Vienna to someplace in Bohemia, probably Theresienstadt on the Elbe, in the coming weeks, I have to [tell] you …
On September 10, 1942 prisoners # 837 & 838, Dr. Johann and Gisela Jellinek were shipped to the Theresienstadt concentration camp on »Transport 40 Train 513«. The 68 year old husband died there on March 20, 1943, as did his 66 year old wife on August 9, 1943.
After the liberation of Austria survivors informed their son Kurt was about the deaths of his parents:
Sadly, at this time your father became ill with another disease that made an operation necessary. But a transfer to the local hospital wasn’t possible because of the aforementioned reason. So your father died a natural death in March 1943. Afterwards Herr Vogel saw your mother a few times; she was greatly weakened by the harsh conditions; there was little heat or food at that time.
In addition the death of your father was certainly a hard blow for her. She often spoke about you …
As Herr Vogel said, your mother died peacefully and gently in her sleep. That was in May [actually in August] 1943. It is very sad that such lovely people as your parents experienced such a totally different old age from their previous lives. They deserved better days.
Dr. Kurt JELLINEK never regained the stolen property of his parents – nor was there any restitution for the house at 23 Lasserstrasse that was »aryanized« in 1939.1 He died in Middleborough in 1977 and his wife Mary died in East Dennis, Massachusetts in 1998.
The Jellinek papers are in the manuscript collection of the Vienna Library. We thank them for giving us permission to cite them here.
1 In 1932 Gisela Jellinek acquired the house from David Rosenfeld, who lived there with his family. In 1944 David and Stefanie Rosenfeld, who had last lived in Trieste, were murdered in Auschwitz. Other victims of the Nazis also lived at 23 Lasserstraße, though they weren’t Jewish: in 1941 Anna Steinwender was murdered in the Hartheim killing center for the handicapped and Otto Schneider was murdered in the Buchenwald concentration camp.
In 1939 the building at 23 Lasserstraße was »aryanized« from Maria Scheuba, the wife of a medical doctor, and there was never any restitution (property registry Salzburg-Schallmoos EZ 262).
Research: Lisa Macheiner
Translation: Stan Nadel
Laid 28.08.2008 at Salzburg, Platzl 2