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Yad Vashem This Month in Holocaust History
December 1939, An exhibition of clothing produced by the Jewish community in Vienna, Austria

December 1939

An exhibition of clothing produced by the Jewish community in Vienna, Austria

Appearing in the image are dresses and hats produced in vocational training courses of the Jewish community in Vienna, Austria. The exhibition was held in December 1939. The photograph was published as part of an album dedicated to vocational training prepared by the Jewish community of Vienna in November 1940. The program was a part of the Jewish efforts to train themselves in professions that would be relevant and useful in the countries to which they hoped to immigrate.

In March 1938, the period of the Anschluss (German annexation of Austria), approximately 185,000 Jews lived in Austria, about 170,000 living in Vienna. Immediately with the Anschluss the offices of the Jewish community and Zionist organizations were closed, the members of these institutions were imprisoned and sent to Dachau concentration camp, and the activities of the Jewish associations were forbidden. Approximately two months later the community leadership began to function again, with social assistance and emigration being its primary tasks.

In June 1938 the Jewish community board in Vienna established vocational training courses, intended to prepare the Jews for their emigration. In one year, more than 24,000 men and women participated in approximately 1,600 courses. The courses played an important role, both in terms of providing employment for unemployed Jews as well as repairing and restoring torn clothing and other products.

When the courses were closed in February 1941, more than 45,000 people had participated in them.

See here for more information on the Jews of Vienna.

Yad Vashem Photo Archives FA70/4