Preamble

Following the advent of the National Socialist regime in the year 1938, more than 2,700 mostly Jewish affiliates of the University of Vienna were dismissed and subsequently driven away and/or murdered - lecturers, students and administration employees. Furthermore, over 200 people were stripped of their academic titles.
In 2008, 70 years after the so-called "Anschluss" [annexation] and the pogroms of what came to be cynically called the "Kristallnacht" [Crystal Night], the University of Vienna commemorates this injustice and  ...

person

Isak Birnbaum recte Händler [Isaac Birnbaum]

  • Born: 01-21-1912
  • Faculty: Faculty of Medicine
  • Category: expelled student

Isak BIRNBAUM, recte HÄNDLER, born on January 21st, 1912 in Stanislau; Galicia/Austro-Hungaria [later Stanisławów/Poland, today: Iwano-Frankiwsk/Ukraine] (entitled residency ('heimatberechtigt') for Vienna/Austria, Citizenship: Austria), was the son of Josef (Abraham) Birnbaum, recte Händler (1876-1939, former clerk, salesman) and Fanny (Franziska) (1887-1939), who emigrated to Vienna in 1914. The family lived in Viennas' 17th district, Hernalser Hauptstraße 196/7.

Isak Birnbaum attended Bundesrealgymnasium in Viennas' 2nd district, Zirkusgasse 48, and graduated there ("Matura/Reifeprüfung") on July 5, 1933. Then he began his medical studies at the University of Vienna in 1933/34 and after one-and-a-half-year break (1935/36) he was enrolled finally in the fall term 1937/38 at the Medical School in the 3rd year of his studies (fall term 1937/38 was validated on February 8th, 1938).

He was forced to leave the university for racist reason and could not continue with his studies after the "Anschluss". He had to flee from Vienna.
Isak Händler could emigrate and had to leave his parents and his four siblings behind (a sister, emigrated to the Netherlands, being the only one to survive, all the others perished in the Shoah). Isak had planned with some pioneer friends to reach Finland, had his tickets to ship in to Helsingfors via Stettin and left Vienna on August 16, 1938. However that route was closed the day he arrived in Stettin but they could finally reach Sweden through Denmark. He had no chance to ever continue with his medical studies but there was an agreement with the Swedish Government whereby refugees planning to go to Israel as pioneers should work with Swedish farmers.
They were sent to various farms, meeting together at a club where they exchanged views and collected an allowance from the common kitty. In 1941, the group decided to make their way to Israel, via Russia and Persia. But Isak Händler stayed on in Sweden and got married to his Swedish wife Martha. He continued working on the farm, and they had two children, Lars Henrik (Lasse) and Kersti Anna Lena (1943).

After a few years he decided to prepare for Aliyah. The family moved to Uppsala, Martha took a job as a social worker and Isaac started learning farming at a University of Agricultural Sciences (Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, SLU) in Ultuna in southern Uppsala.

In 1962, he decided to give it up and move to Israel, join an Ulpan (school for the intensive study of Hebrew) and find a way to support his family in Israel. He studied at an Ulpan in Beersheba and on finishing the course moved to a kibbutz in the Jordan Valley. Life on the kibbutz did not seem to him suitable for Martha, so he moved back to Beersheba and found work in the building trade. In 1964 his non-jewish wife Martha arrived in Beersheba. The grown up children both studied and worked and stayed in Sweden.
Isaac Händler became a laboratory assistant in a large industrial enterprise and worked there from 1964 till 1977, when he retired. Their son had died in an accident (1971), their daughter had become a teacher of business administration and her son-in-law an agricultural engineer.

After retiring, Martha and Isaac Birnbaum both came back to Sweden about 1980.

He died in Uppsala/Sweden 1992, survived by his wife Martha, who died in 2006.

Lit.: information from his daughter Lena Hallsenius and his grandson Petter Berselius, Sweden 2017 and 2018; Puah Menczel-Ben-Tovim (Ed.), Leben und Wirken. Unser erzieherisches Werk. In memoriam Dr. Josef Schlomo Menczel 1903-1953, Jerusalem 1983 (J. S. Menczel Memorial Foundation), 208-209; Martha Birnbaum, Minnet av Isak Birnbaum, April 2000 (unpublished memoir manuscript in Swedish)

Herbert Posch


Dokumente

Nationale of Isak Birnbaum, recte Händler, fall term 1937/38 (1st form front), Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Isak Birnbaum, recte H...
Nationale of Isak Birnbaum, recte Händler, fall term 1937/38 (1st form back), Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Isak Birnbaum, recte H...
Isak Birnbaum with his wife Martha and the children Lena in Sweden, July 1943, © Lena HalsseniusIsak Birnbaum with his wife Martha ...
Isak Birnbaum as agricultural worker in Sweden, 1946, © Lena HalsseniusIsak Birnbaum as agricultural worke...
Isak Birnbaum in front of the University of Vienna, 1952, © Lena HalsseniusIsak Birnbaum in front of the Unive...
Isak Birnbaum at Ultuna University (for Agruculture) in Sweden, 1957, © Lena HalsseniusIsak Birnbaum at Ultuna University ...
Isak Birnbaum with his wife Martha and the children Lena and in Sweden, 1959, © Lena HalsseniusIsak Birnbaum with his wife Martha ...
Isak Birnbaum at the family grave in Vienna, Zentralfriedhof, 1960ies, © Lena HalsseniusIsak Birnbaum at the family grave i...
Isak and Martha Birnbaum in Ber Sheba, Israel, 1973, © Lena HalsseniusIsak and Martha Birnbaum in Ber She...
Isak and Martha Birnbaum, Sweden, 1992, © Lena HalsseniusIsak and Martha Birnbaum, Sweden, 1...



zuletzt aktualisiert am 27.05.2018

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