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

Kurt Geiger

  • Born: 03-11-1915
  • Faculty: Faculty of Medicine
  • Category: expelled student

Kurt GEIGER was born on March 11th, 1915 in Vienna/Austria (entitled residency ('heimatberechtigt') for Vienna/Austria, Citizenship: Austria) as son of Eugen/Jenoe Geiger (merchant, drapery business) and his wife Elsa (née Glaser), and lived in Vienna's 9th district, Grundlgasse 5/3 (corner to Alserbachstrasse 39). He graduated from high school ("Bundesgymnasium Wien 9, Wasagasse") in 1933 and enrolled in fall term 1933/34 at the Medical School of the University of Vienna. He was enrolled finally in the spring term 1938 in the 5th year of his studies (Leaving Certificate ("Abgangszeugnis") was issued on May 18th, 1938).

He was forced to leave the university for racist reason and without a chance to graduate or continue his nearly finished medical studies. He had to flee from Vienna and Austria under National-Socialist regime and married Czech-born Olga Trenschina, née Hochwald, in Vienna on May 19th, 1938. Fleeing from Hitler's anti-Semitism, they reached Melbourne/Australia on August 31st, 1938; Kurt's mother, who remained in Austria, was deported to Hungary, later to Auschwitz/Poland and was killed there. His brother Julius could emigrate to Great Britain.

In Australia Kurt Geiger could not afford to continue and finish his medical studies under the conditions of emigration and became a very successful businessman in shoes and bags. He leased a small shop in Collins Street; in October he set up K. O. Geiger Pty Ltd and began to sell imported handbags. For the first two years he also worked as a window-dresser for a jeweller while Olga ran the shop. Realizing the benefit of selling matching handbags and shoes, in 1941 the Geigers established Mascot Shoes Pty Ltd, opening their first store in Degraves Street. They had three daughters and were naturalized on June 22nd, 1944.

In 1945 he returned from a trip through Britain and North America, learning more about the trade and selling shoes on commission with a licence from a large English company. He bought a shoe factory in 1951 and improved both its machinery and craftmanship. Three years later he owned seven outlets; by 1957 he had five hundred employees.

A man of good taste, groomed and fashionably dressed in English suits, Geiger was chairman (1959-60) of the Museum of Modern Art of Australia, head of an appeal (1961) for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and a director of the National Theatre of Australia Ltd. He was also a member of the Victoria Racing and the Victoria Amateur Turf clubs.

In 1955 Geiger Holdings Pty Ltd and its subsidiaries had merged with Melbourne's oldest retail draper, Hicks Atkinson Pty Ltd and Geiger was appointed managing director. In 1958 Reid Murray Holdings Ltd made a successful takeover and Geiger became a director of Reid Murray. From 1960 he sold most of his R.M.H. shares (and those of his wife), provoking a confrontation with the company's chairman, Robert Reid, which led to Geiger's resignation from the board in April 1962.

The Geigers left Australia for Great Britain in September 1963, shortly before the collapse of the Reid Murray organization. In April 1964 they opened a shoe salon in New Bond Street, London. Olga returned to Melbourne in 1967 and set up her own handbag shop in Collins Street but died soon after on March 9th, 1969 at Toorak.

At the register office, Westminster, London, on August 31st, 1971 Geiger married Irmgard Steinberg, a consultant but died only one year later on August 8th, 1972 at Westminster.

His cousins were Matthias and Dr. Josef Geroe. The latter, a jurist, was deported to Dachau concentration camp in 1938 and was arrested for ten months, in 1942 he was deprived of his doctoral degree by the University of Vienna. In 1945 he became the first state secretary of justice in Austria after the end of NS-regime, president of the Austrian Football Federation and president of the Austrian Olympic Committee.


Lit.: Archive of the University of Vienna/MED Nationale 1933-1938; information from his great cousin Dr.med. Josephine Schwarz-Geroe, Vienna and his daughter Susie Picton, Great Britain, 02/2019; Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 14, 1996.


Herbert Posch


Dokumente

Nationale of Kurt Geiger, spring termn 1938 (1st form front), Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Kurt Geiger, spring te...
Nationale of Kurt Geiger, spring termn 1938 (1st form front), Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Kurt Geiger, spring te...
Nationale of Kurt Geiger, fall term 1937/38 (1st form front), Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Kurt Geiger, fall term...
Nationale of Kurt Geiger, fall term 1937/38 (1st form front), Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Kurt Geiger, fall term...
Kurt and Olga Geiger, 1960s, © Susie Picton, GBKurt and Olga Geiger, 1960s, © Sus...
Kurt and daughter Olga Geiger, 1960s, © Susie Picton, GBKurt and daughter Olga Geiger, 1960...



zuletzt aktualisiert am 21.05.2019

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