1. At present, the main hall does not contain a fixed stage. The use of the premises as a supermarket in the final decades of the 20th Century has left its mark on the internal architecture. For example, the original parquet flooring was removed and replaced with industrial floor tiles. Several doors and sections of masonry dating from the 1970s also remain, while the original stage, a stairway, and large sections of the gallery have been destroyed. At present, the space is used mainly for non-traditional performances. (Photo: Copyright © 2011 by TACE)

2. Until 1938, when the Theater Reklame was closed by the Gestapo, the Nestroy Halls were a popular center of domestic and international Jewish theater. Much of the original architecture of the indoor courtyard theater was inadvertently preserved when it was converted in the 1970s into a supermarket. The Jewish Theater of Austria, founded in 1999, campaigned for years for the restoration of the magnificent Judendstil theater and for clarification concerning the ownership of the building, which had permanently changed hands when it was seized by the Nazis during the Second World War. (Photo: postcard, ca. 1918, photographer unknown; private collection of Album Verlag, Vienna)

3. This picture was taken around 1905 when the Café Reklame served the entertainment and culinary interests of a privileged clientele in the main hall, which was later renamed the Theater Reklame.

4. The main portal, circa 1900. The richly decorated, main entrance with its elaborate glass arch showing a relief portrait of the great Austrian playwright, actor, and opera singer Johann Nestroy, was destroyed in 1945.

5. The original interior of the hall in the basement where the popular Sphinx dance bar was in operation from 1907 to 1938 has not survived. Fragments of wall paintings, showing stylized floral and Egyptian motifs remain, including the pyramids at Giza and a ceiling mural depicting the sun with its yellow rays that span from wall to wall. (Photo: Copyright © 2011 by TACE)

6. The main lobby of the building announces the theater housed in its courtyard. The semi-circular balcony, glass ceiling, mosaic flooring, and most decorative details are still intact and in good condition, but the original doors, including the portal that once led to the theater lobby, are no longer extant. Also missing is the translucent section at the center of the rotunda floor, which once served to channel natural light directly into the subterranean hall. (Photo: Copyright © 2011 by TACE)

7. The theater from the gallery level. Left: interior windows looking onto the gallery were installed in 2001, when the narrow airspace between the original glass ceiling and the suspended ceiling of the former supermarket below the gallery revealed a wealth of original architectural detail. Decades ago, the balcony boxes on both sides were walled in to create rentable premises on the second floor of the building. (Photo captured from a QuickTime VR by Lucas Elzea; Copyright © 2004 Jewish Theater of Austria)

8. Architect Oskar Marmorek′s drawing of the main façade of the building, 1900. The decorative elements and window design demonstrate the strong influence of the Vienna Secession that now dominated Marmorek’s style. Neither the ground floor with the shop window and decoratively 
highlighted main entrance, nor the attic storey with a bulky glazed dormer window in the mansard roof, which was crowned on each corner with sculptures of winged sphinxes, survived the end of the Second World War.

9. Until 1938, Vienna boasted an active Jewish theater scene that reflected and critically examined Jewish experience in all its diversity while monitoring topical political themes, including the rapid rise of antisemitism. The Jewish Theater of Austria is the first initiative of its kind in Austria since 1938 and one of few in Europe today. Like the Jüdische Künstlerspiele that performed at the Theater Reklame in the Nestroyhof, its work examines Jewish and intercultural life as important aspects of Austrian and European culture. (Photo: Copyright © 2011 by TACE)

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