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  ...

Felix Terner

  • Born: 02-26-1899
  • Faculty: Faculty of Medicine
  • Category: deprivation of academic degree

Felix TERNER (born on February 26th, 1899 in Vienna), son of Dr. Josef Terner (k.k. Postal Secretary, born April 7, 1859, died October 30, 1906 Kaltenleutgeben, Lower Austria/Austria-Hungary) and Anna Terner, née Losch (born July 15, 1868 Czernovitz, Galicia/Austria-Hungary [Cherniwzi/Ukraine], died December 24, 1940 Vienna), had graduated at the Medical School at the University of Vienna  on June 2nd, 1926 with the academic degree "Dr. med." (M.D). After his studies he became a dentist (oral surgeon) remained single and lived in Vienna's 18th district, Riglergasse 5/3, together with his mother where he also practiced.

After the "Anschluss" in 1938, he had to flee Vienna for racist reasons and managed to emigrate to the USA in August 1938. His mother, already 70 years old, stayed in Vienna and died two years later in 1940 in the Jewish retirement home in the Seegasse. Already in March 1939, all of his property that remained in Austria had been confiscated and expropriated for the benefit of the German Reich, and the rest was confiscated by the Gestapo in April 1941. Felix Terner was also expatriated - the expatriation was announced by the German Reich on July 23, 1941 in the Deutsche Reichsanzeiger - and he became "stateless".

He was deprived of his academic degree on April 1st, 1943 with the racist argument, that he as a Jew was not considered dignified an academic degree of a German university ('eines akademischen Grades einer deutschen Hochschule unwuerdig').  

Around 1943, he lived in Barcelona, Spain, and traveled from there on January 5, 1946, via Bilbao on the Spanish steamship SS Marques de Comillas to New York, NY USA (US visa issued in Barcelona on December 7, 1945) with the official reason and goal for the trip: to visit his cousin Hedy Werfel in Louisville, Kentucky. His cousin later lived in San Francisco, California, and remained his central contact person for the authorities in the United States. After arrival in the USA he applied for American citizenship. In any case, he lived in New York, NY, in 1951 and - after the obligatory five-year period - became a U.S. citizen in August 1951.

It took 12 years since the deprivation – and a very long time since the end of Nazism – until the regranting of the doctorate took finally place on May 15th, 1955 (the deprevation was declared "void from the beginning") - but without informing him fro.

In 1963 he submitted an informal application for restitution to the New Assistance Fund in Austria, but he did not pursue it further - the form sent to him was never completed and returned.

Felix Terner was elected "lifetime member" of the New York State Medical Society in 1971 and died in New York/USA in the 1970ies - when and where exactly could not be verified with certainty until now.

In 2005 a "dormant account and securities account" in Switzerland was restituted to relatives.

Lit.: Archive of the University of Vienna/graduation registry ("Promotionsprotokoll") MED 1922–1931 Nr. 757, Rectorate GZ 118 ex 1941/42 ONr. 183, 185, 193, Rectorate GZ 561 ex 1944/45 ONr. 15;Austrian State Archive (OeStA)/AdR/EuReang/VVSt/VA 16522 (Anna Terner), OeStA/AdR/EuReang/VVSt/VA Wien/16523 (Felix Terner); OeStA/AdR/ E-uReang/FLD 13197; Vienna City Archive WrStLA/ 745 N, Bezirk: 1 (Dr. Felix Terner); "Deutscher Reichsanzeiger" Nr. 86 from April 13, 1942; New York State Journal of Medicine (Vol. 71), 1971, 75; POSCH 2009, 484; REITER-ZATLOUKAL/SAUER 2021;;; passenger-database Ellis Island; Claims Resolution Tribunal 2005; information from Dr. Babrara Sauer, Vienna 05/2020.

Herbert Posch


Communique about depromotion of Felix Terner from April 1st, 1943, © Archive of the University of ViennaCommunique about depromotion of Fel...
Decision of depromotion of Felix Terner, University of Vienna, February 26th, 1943, © Archive of the University of ViennaDecision of depromotion of Felix Te...
Communique about depromotion of Felix Terner in the "Deutsche Reichsanzeiger" from April 13th, 1943, © Archive of the University of ViennaCommunique about depromotion of Fel...

zuletzt aktualisiert am 02.01.2021

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