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  ...


Hans (John H.) Mehl

  • Born: 02-17-1913
  • Faculty: Faculty of Law
  • Category: expelled student

Dr. iur. Hans Felix (John H.) MEHL, born on February 17th, 1913 in Vienna (entitled residency ('heimatberechtigt') for Vienna/Austria, Citizenship: Austria), son of Bernhard Mehl (private civil servant, insurance technician, 1871-1945) and Charlotte Mehl, née. Steiner (1876-1939), lived in Vienna's 18th district, Wallrissstrasse 129.
After his high school-leaving examination/Matura, he had studied law at the School of Law of the University of Vienna until 1936, obtaining his doctorate ("Dr. iur.") on May 13th, 1937. In the following term he also took up the study of political science and in the fall term 1937/38 he was in the 1st year of political science studies at the Faculty of Law.

In 1938, after the takeover of power of National-Socialism he was forced to quit his studies for racist reason and to leave the University of Vienna.

Hans Mehl was arrested in Vienna in 1938 and deported to the Dachau concentration camp on June 24th, 1938, and further to the Buchenwald concentration camp on September 22nd, 1938. However, with the help of the Quaker organization, family and close friends who had emigrated to the U.S. earlier, he managed to obtain exit papers for the U.S. and was released from the concentration camp in February 1939 on the condition that he leave the country within four weeks. His visa was issued in Vienna on March 15th, 1939, so he was able to travel to Vlissingen/Netherlands, and then leave for the U.S. on April 8th, 1939, via Antwerp/Belgium, on the SS Westernland, arriving in New York City, NY, on April 19th, 1939.

His mother had already died in Vienna in 1939 and his father Bernhard Mehl did not manage to escape from Austria in time: he was deported on February 15th, 1941 from Vienna's 1st district, Gonzagagasse 13/10 to Opole near Lublin/Poland and soon after on to the extermination camp Belzech or Sobibor and was murdered.

When Hans Mehl mustered into the U.S. Army in October 1940, he was living at 86 Addington Road, Brookline, Norfolk, Massachusetts and working at the Tri Mount Clothing Factory in Roxford, Suffolk, Massachusetts. He served in the US Army Air Corps as a Private from March to November 1941, then as a Staff Sergeant from January 1942 to January 1943.
He was naturalized and became U.S. citizen on June 13th, 1942, as John Hans Mehl, then stationed at Lowry Fields (Lowry Air Force Base), Denver, Colorado. He was in Officer Candidate School from October 1942 to January 1943. From January 1943 to March 1946, he served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps.

From March 1944 to the end of the war, he was posted in Europe, in the intelligence services, interrogating prisoners of war.

After the war, he was based back in Vienna/Austria, first with the military, then as a civilian with the occupation forces until August 1949. In 1947 he received a certificate of commendation for his work during that period on the Quadripartite Air Disarmament Commission and in helping re-establish civil aviation in Austria. In Vienna he met Eleanore Pracher (b. 1925 in Vienna/Austria) and they married on August 5th, 1947, at the Vienna-Mariahilf Registry Office, witnessed by U.S. vice-consul in Vienna, Joseph R. Jacyno.

His older sister Lily Mehl (b. February 14th, 1905 in Vienna) was able to move to Sweden before the war in a marriage of convenience (she married on March 13th, 1939 in Civil Office in Vienna-Leopoldstadt) - but she died in 1947 (drowned).

After returning to the USA in August 1949, John H. Mehl was employed in the Defense Research Division at the Library of Congress from October 1949 until his retirement in 1973. John H. and Eleonore P. Mehl lived at 907 Symphony Circle, 22180 Vienna, Virginia/USA and in February 1952 their son Charles Mehl was born.

John H. Mehl died at the age of 73 on August 6th, 1986 in Falls Church, Fairfax, Virgina/USA and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Lit.: Archive of the University of Vienna/enrollment forms ("Nationale") IUR 1937-1938; graduation registry ("Promotionsprotokoll") IUR 1924-1939, Nr. 5067; Austrian Stae Archives (OeStA)/ AdR/ E-uReang/ VVSt/ VA/ 6809 (Bernhard Mehl, property notices Vienna 1938) POSCH/INGRISCH/DRESSEL 2008, 436, information from his son Charles Mehl, USA, 06/2021;

Herbert Posch


Nationale of Hans Mehl, fall term 1937/38 (1st form front),  Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Hans Mehl, fall term 1...
Nationale of Hans Mehl, fall term 1937/38 (1st form back),  Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Hans Mehl, fall term 1...
doctoral diploma 1937, (c) Charles Mehldoctoral diploma 1937, (c) Charles ...
John Hans Mehl, 1947, © Charles MehlJohn Hans Mehl, 1947, © Charles Me...
John Hans Mehl, Commandation for reestablishment of civil aviation in Austria 1947, © Charles MehlJohn Hans Mehl, Commandation for re...

zuletzt aktualisiert am 08.06.2021

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