Elfriede Therese Pichler (Dubois)
Elfriede Therese PICHLER (nee POLLITZER, married DUBOIS), born on March 28th, 1916 in Vienna/Austria (entitled residency ('heimatberechtigt') for Vienna/Austria, Citizenship: Austria), daughter of Leopold Pollitzer (born on June 11th, 1873, craftsman, leather goods manufacturer) and his wife Valerie nee Singer (born 1882), lived in Vienna 6th district, Mollardgasse 38.
Especially her mother early supported her education and her wish to learn French and Greek besides school. On June 15th, 1934 Elfriede Pollitzer converted from Jewish to Roman-Catholic religion and changed her name from 'Pollitzer' to 'Pichler'
only a few months later, on December 12th, 1934.
After Elfriede Pichler had graduated from high school ('Realgymnasium') in Vienna 6th district in July 1935
, she began to study at the Philosophical School of the University of Vienna in fall term 1935/36, with an emphasis on Latin and French, after two terms also on aesthetics and general philosophy.
During her studies she was in close contact to her fellow students Harald Erhardt
and Ernst Friedrich Kollmann
. She spent the fall term 1937/38 at the University of Strasbourg/France.
She was enrolled finally in spring term 1938 in the 3rd year of her studies (in spring term 1938 she was allowed to continue her studies in the context of the Numerus clausus of Jewish Students until the end of the term).
Her dissertation was completed by the end of 1938, but she was not allowed to finish her studies at the University of Vienna anymore. She received recommendations from two teachers of the University of Vienna, Eduard Castle – whose daughter Reinhild she had taught in French – and Gertrud Herzog-Hauser
(both written in April 1939).
She later described the feeling, when she was forced to leave the university, as "heartbroken" – she kept a postcard of the University of Vienna beside her bed for many years and stayed in contact with former fellow students.
Her mother organised the possibility to enter Great Britain as a 'trainee nurse'), so Elfriede Pichler emigrated in May 1939 on her own.
Only a short time before her emigration she had begun to learn English. Her parents and some further relatives perished in the shoah.
From June 1939 on she worked as a trainee nurse in Salisbury until the British government banned all 'aliens' from health care and medical services in June 1940 ('alien restrictions'). Then she worked as a maid and as a nurse – first for an old woman in London, later on in a hospital in Leichester.
In 1941 Elfriede Pichler met some Quakers, who provided her with a grant (and accommodation) to resume her university studies in French. Just in October 1941 she began to study at the University of Birmingham, which was traditionally connected to the Quakers. She was graduated B.A. (Honours in French First Class) after six terms in 1943. In 1945 she was graduated 'M.A.' with a thesis about Léon Bloy, which was awarded the 'Constance Naden Medal prize for the best M.A. of the year', translated to English and published as a book. Besides she worked as a teacher for German and French in secondary schools from 1943 to 1946.
With a travel grant by the University of Birmingham she went to Paris/France for the academic year 1946/47, where she began to work on a thesis for a 'Doctorat d'Université', and after that received a position as an assistant lecturer in French at the University of Sheffield in 1947. From fall 1948 on, she was lecturer for French at the University of Durham, King’s College, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
She stayed at this university (since 1960 University of Newcastle) until her retirement in 1978.
In France she also met her husband Pierre Dubois, married in 1948 and had a son, Dominique (born 1949).
She received the british citizenship.
More than a decade after she had been expelled from the University of Vienna, Elfriede Dubois resumed the work on her dissertation project, which she had began in 1937, and succeeded in finishing her studies in 1952 with her final thesis (Dissertation): 'Der Begriff l'art abstrait als stiltheoretische Kategorie in der französischen Kunstkritik.' in Philosophy/Psychology/Pedagogy (doctoral advisors: Kainz, Meister).
In 1964 she was appointed senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle. Apart from language work and her special subjects – seventeenth-century and twentieth-century literature – she taught French literature and also directed post-graduate theses (Ph.D. und M.Litt.).
In 1970 Elfrieda Dubois also completed her studies in Paris, which she had begun in 1946, and obtained the degree of 'Docteur 'es lettres' with a 'mention très honorable' with a thesis on 'Rapin, l'homme et L'oeuvre'.
With that, she had by then completed three further degrees in three different languages in three different countries.
Because of the successful completion of the doctorate at the University of Paris, she was appointed to a personal readership at the University of Newcastle in 1973. She retired in 1978, but continued research: She gave her last paper at the age of 84 and wrote her last book review at the age of 89 years."Although much of her output was inspired by the Roman Catholic faith to which she had converted as a teenager, she was remarkably wide-ranging in both writing and teaching, and had a firm command of many areas of French literature which fell way beyond her specialist fields, most particularly of French writing in the twentieth century. The diversity of her interests is perhaps most apparent in her various articles and conference papers, which extend from the reception of French writing and thinking in England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, through Baroque landscapes and the sublime to Léon Bloy and Paul Claudel. She was also responsible for several years for the seventeenth-century article in the Year’s Work published by the French Studies journal. Linguistically, she was entirely at home in English, French and German; and her prose classes were an exemplary exercise in grammatical rigour and stylistic finesse."
She spent her retirement in Oxford and the Parisian suburb of Chatou. Her husband Pierre Dubois taught Philosophy at Paris-X (Nanterre) and died in 1988.
Elfrieda Dubois died at the age of 97 on October 24th, 2013, in Great Britain.
Lit.: information by her son Dominique Dubois, 2013/14; Obituary by her son Dominique Dubois, Alumni remembered, University of Birmingham, 2013; Obituary by Prof. Màire Cross: "The story of Dr Dubois 1916-2013: A shining example of dedication to French Studies", The Alumni Association, Newcastle University, 2014; Katharina KNIEFACZ u. Herbert POSCH, Elfriede Pichler Dubois, in: Ilse Korotin (Hg.), Wissenschafterinnen in und aus Österreich. Leben – Werk – Wirken, Band 2, Wien 2017; Marlene NOWOTNY, Vertrieben und dann erfolgreich, in: science.orf.at, 14.08.2015; Richard PARISH, In Memoriam: Dr. Elfrieda Dubois, in: Seventeenth-Century French Studies 36/2 (2014), 172-173; KNIEFACZ/POSCH 2017b; KNIEFACZ/POSCH 2017c.
Katharina Kniefacz and Herbert Posch
 Archiv der Universität Wien (AUW), Philosophische Fakultät, Nationale Wintersemester 1935/36 bis Sommersemester 1937.
 Auskunft ihres Sohnes Dominique Dubois 2013.
 AUW, Philosophische Fakultät, Rigorosenprotokoll (RP) Nr. 18.333 v. 1952.
 AUW, Nationale, u. Philosophische Fakultät, Rigorosenakt (RA) Nr. 18.333 v. 1952, CV.
 AUW, Nationale 1937; Privatarchiv Dominique Dubois, GB, Nachlass v. Elfrieda Dubois, Empfehlungsschreiben von Eduard Castle, April 1939.
 Nachlass, Empfehlungsschreiben von Gertrud Herzog-Hauser, April 1939.
 Auskunft von Dominique Dubois 2013.
 Abmeldung von Wien nach England am 25. Mai 1939; Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv (WStLA), Historische Meldeunterlagen, Auskunft vom 26. 3. 2014.
 Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes (DÖW), Datenbank Namentliche Erfassung der österreichischen Holocaustopfer [http://www.doew.at/personensuche].
 Auskunft von Dominique Dubois 2013
 Richard PARISH, In Memoriam: Dr. Elfrieda Dubois, in: Seventeenth-Century French Studies 36/2 (2014), 172-173; AUW, RP, RA: CV; Nachlass: CV (ca. 1973).
 AUW, RA: CV; Nachlass: CV (ca. 1973).
 Nachlass: CV (ca. 1973).
 Nachlass: CV (ca. 1973).
 Auskunft von Dominique Dubois 2013.
 Auskunft von Dominique Dubois 2013/14.