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  ...


Rita Smrčka (Krause)

  • Born: 07-09-1913
  • Faculty: Faculty of Medicine
  • Category: expelled student

Rita SMRCKA (married KRAUSE), born on July 9th, 1913 in Vienna/Austria (entitled residency ('heimatberechtigt') for Vienna/Austria, Citizenship: Austria), daughter of Julius Smrcka (independent gentleman) and Olga Smrcka, lived in Wien 3, Hintere Zollamtsstraße 11/8.
After she had graduated from high school (Akademischen Gymnasium in Wien 1, Beethovenplatz 1) in 1932, she began to study at the Medical School of the University of Vienna.
She was enrolled finally in the fall term 1937/38 at the Medical School in the 5th year of her studies (Leaving Certificate ('Abgangszeugnis') was issued on July 18th, 1938). She succeeded in finishing her studies and graduated on October 31st, 1938, but only with the discriminating ceremony of a 'Nichtarierpromotion', which included at the same time that she was banned from her profession.

On Dezember 26th, 1938, she wrote a letter to unknown Samuel X. Radbill, pediatrician in Philadelphia, whom she told of her emergency situation and begged fot help in emigrating from Austria:

"Dear Sir:
I beg your pardon if I apply to you in my distress, although I am a stranger to you.
I am 25 years of age, Jewess, born in Vienna, physician, unmarried. I am not able to continue my profession and I have no other possibilitys to exist here. Infortunately I have no relations nor friends abroad who could help me.
In my desperate situation, I had the audacious idia [sic!] to write to a stranger whose address I found by chance.
I love my profession exceedingly and it is my ardent desire to continue it.
Are you able and would you be willing to aid me?
Your succour would consist in garanteeing my living but I assure you that I shall endeavor to don’t be by no means a charge for you. Besides my profession I am perfect in baby-nursing, applied-art, English and French language so that I am able to earn my living in one or an other way.
I beg your pardon and please, don’t be annoyed if it is just you whom I importune with my desire.
With my most cordial thanks in advance, I am yours very truly and respectfully,
Dr. Rita Smrcka"

(Letter by Rita Smrcka to Samuel X Radbill, December 26th, 1938; Samuel X. Radbill Collection, Historical Medical Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia)

Radbill did not succeed in helping her to emigrate. From 1939 on she had to relocate frequently and lived in Wien 3, Gaertnergasse 6/3/10, 1941 in Wien 4, Geusaugasse 7/3 and in Wien 9, Burggasse 25/28 and finally 1942 in Wien 9, Scheuchgasse 24/9. In September 1942 she was deported to Theresienstadt [Terezín/Czech Republic], in October 1944 to Auschwitz [Oswiecim/Poland], where she was appointed camp doctor. In the same month she was deported to Hainichen, a satellite camp of the concentration camp Flossenbuerg (Prisoner No. 53266), together with over 300 other Jewish Women, who were used as forced laborers in arms production for the Framo-GmbH. Together with another female doctor Smrcka took medical attendance on the prisoners. This position may have helped her survive the camp. In Hainichen she experienced the liberation of the camp by the Red Army in April 1945.

After a short stay in Theresienstadt she returned to Vienna. In August 1947 her son Bernhard Franz was born. Her husband Dr. Walter Emil Bernd Krause (1910-2007) had worked as assistant professor at the Anatomical Department of the University of Vienna from 1934 until his dismissal in 1938, had been arrested for two years for "race defilement" ("Rassenschande") because of his relationship to Rita Smrcka in 1940 and – after serving in the German Wehrmacht – got in American war imprisonment. From August 1946 the family lived in Wien 9, Tendlergasse 15/3/33.

While her husband could continue his work at the Anatomical Department of the University of Vienna in 1946, committed especially in the resumption of the teaching after the war, got his Habilitation in 1949 and later became university professor of topographical anatomy, Rita Krause passed the "Physikatspruefung" (medical officer's qualification exam) in 1946 and began to work at the Vienna health office. She completed a training for tropical medicine in Tuebingen/Germany and worked as a public medical officer and medical practitioner. She became a member of the Austrian Society for Tropical Medicine and Parasitology in 1968 (later also board member and finally honorary member), rendered great service to the vaccination program in Vienna, published about vaccination and tropical medicine and worked at the public health department in Wien 1, Gonzagagasse, until her retirement. She also was an extraordinary member of the 'Oberster Sanitaetsrat' (committee in public health services), of the International Society of neural therapy after Huneke and of the Society of Vienna physicians. She was awarded the Decoration of Honor for Services to the city of Vienna in Gold.

Dr. Rita Krause died on November 8th, 2004, in the age of 91 years in Vienna and was buried at the central cemetery (Zentralfriedhof) in Vienna.

Lit.: information by Dr. Christine Kanzler, Vienna, 2013; Database of the Austrian Biographical Dictionary (Project 'the fate of Jewish physicians in Vienna'); 400 Jahre Akademisches Gymnasium 1953, 45; Pascal CZIBORRA, KZ Flossenbürg. Gedenkbuch der Frauen; Bielefeld 2007 [Database of prisoners, concentration camp Flossenbuerg];Pascal CZIBORRA, Frauen im KZ. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der historischen Forschung am Beispiel des KZ Flossenbürg und seiner Außenlager, Bielefeld 2010, 63 (note 278); FREIDENREICH 2002, 138; Friedhoefe Wien/Search for deceased people (Rita Krause); Katharina KNIEFACZ, Rita Smrčka Krause, in: Ilse Korotin (Hg.), Wissenschafterinnen in und aus Österreich. Leben – Werk – Wirken, Band 2, Wien 2017; Marlene NOWOTNY, "Ich wünsche Ihnen viel Glück im Ausland!", in:, 24.07.2015OeGTP-Nachrichten 4/2005, 3; Rebecca ONION, A Plea for Help From Nazi-Occupied Austria, in: The Vault, 2013; Courtney SMERZ, Samuel X Radbill collection, 2010; Johann WILDE, Obituary Walter Krause, 2007; Wer ist Wer 1951 (Walter Krause); KNIEFACZ/POSCH 2017c.

Katharina Kniefacz


Rita Smrcka (later married: Krause), student-ID 1932, (c) Dr. Isabelle Krause, ViennaRita Smrcka (later married: Krause)...
Nationale of Rita Smrcka, fall term 1937/38 (1st form front), Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Rita Smrcka, fall term...
Nationale of Rita Smrcka, fall term 1937/38 (1st form back), Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Rita Smrcka, fall term...
Nationale of Rita Smrcka, fall term 1937/38 (2nd form front), Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Rita Smrcka, fall term...
Nationale of Rita Smrcka, fall term 1937/38 (2nd form back), Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Rita Smrcka, fall term...
Rita Smrcka, 'Nichtarierpromotion' on October 31st 1938, 4167 'Promotionsprotokoll' Medical School 1929-1942, Photo: Herbert Posch, (c) Archiv Universität WienRita Smrcka, 'Nichtarierpromotion' ...
Rita Krause (nee Smrcka), Identity-card for Displaced Person, 1946, (c) Dr. Isabelle Krause, ViennaRita Krause (nee Smrcka), Identity-...
Rita Smrcka-Krause, 1947, (c) Dr. Isabelle Krause, ViennaRita Smrcka-Krause, 1947, (c) Dr. I...
Rita Smrcka-Krause, Certificate of times of internment from the Organization of Austrian Inmates of Concentrationcamps ("KZ-Verband"), Vienna 1947, (c) Dr. Isabelle Krause, ViennaRita Smrcka-Krause, Certificate of ...
Rita Smrcka-Krause, about 1950, (c) Dr. Isabelle Krause, ViennaRita Smrcka-Krause, about 1950, (c)...

zuletzt aktualisiert am 18.03.2018

Do you have questions or comments to this person?

Send Feedback: