THE NESTROYHOF INITIATIVE – The Struggle to Renew an International Center of Jewish Culture and Creativity in Contemporary Vienna


by Warren Rosenzweig, Artistic Director of the Jewish Theater of Austria

I. Re-establishing the Theater in the Nestroyhof
II. Fin-de-Siècle Architect Oskar Marmorek
III. The Cultural History of the Nestroyhof
IV. “Aryanization” in 1940 and Again in 1951 – Stolen Not Just Once but Twice
V. The Theater Today – Preservation & Desecration
VI. The Nestroyhof Initiative
VII. Vienna in the 21st Century: Renewal or Renewed Destruction?
VIII. Footnotes


I. Re-establishing the Theater in the Nestroyhof


The initiative to reestablish the international Jewish theater in the Nestroyhof presents a unique opportunity to restore a heritage site of major significance in a city whose contemporary greatness is largely inspired by the cultural history that the neglected landmark embodies.

Of equal importance, the initiative signals hope for the future of diversity and responsibility in Austria, while its success can contribute to Gentile-Jewish reconciliation.

Go to Part II
Nestroyhof drawing by
Oskar Marmorek, ca. 1898
Nestroyhof portal, 1900
Main hall at the Theater Reklame in the Nestroyhof, ca.1900
Nestroyplatz, 1908
Scene from Abisch Meisels Auf nach Tel Aviv, 1927; photo: Meisels Collection, JMW/Archiv, Vienna
Scene from Abisch Meisels Auf nach Tel Aviv, 1927; photo: Meisels Collection, JMW/Archiv, Vienna
Clara Meisels in the Yiddish production of Strindberg´s The Father, ca. 1930; photo: Collection Ruth Schneider
The ensemble of the Jüdische Künstlerspiele in the Nestroyhof in the 1931/32 season
The main lobby in the Nestroyhof today; photo by Juri Tscharyiski © 2003
The gallery in the main lobby today; photo by Juri Tscharyiski © 2003
Main hall gallery, left off the stage; photo: JTA, 2004
Main hall gallery, looking to the stage; photo © 2004 Jewish Theater of Austria
Detail gallery rail above the stage right; photo by Juri Tscharyiski
Main hall, looking to the stage, photo by Juri Tscharyiski, 2004
Detail Stage hall; photo by Juri Tscharyiski © 2004
Basement fresco detail; © 2004 Jewish Theater of Austria
Basement fresco detail; photo © 2004 Jewish Theater of Austria
Basement column; photo © 2004 Jewish Theater of Austria
Basement column; photo © 2004 Jewish Theater of Austria
Basement wall detail since June 2004; photo © 2004 Jewish Theater of Austria
Basement wall detail since June 2004; photo © 2004 Jewish Theater of Austria
Basement wall detail since June 2004; photo © 2004 Jewish Theater of Austria
Grafik von T-Arts; Foto © 2004 Jüdisches Theater Austria © 2004
Fotos: Lucas Elzea, Juri Tscharyiski, JMW/Archiv, Illustrierte Neue Welt, 2005
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