Until the end of October the Frauenmuseum Hittisau in Austria is showing the exhibition persecuted / engaged / married. Jewish Women’s Marriages of Convenience in Exile.
In March 1938, a race against time begins for Austrian Jews. Some Viennese Jewish women save themselves through a marriage of convenience with a foreign citizen.
The exhibition at the Women’s Museum Hittisau traces the lives and different fates of twelve Austrian Jewish women.
These marriages are made pro forma, out of solidarity or for payment, in order to get to a country where Jews are not (yet) persecuted. Women who are already in exile enter into marriages of convenience to avoid statelessness or to obtain a work permit.
Twelve women’s fates, including Stella Kadmon, Hilda Monte and Alma Rosé, tell of the different life stories and the opportunities and risks of a marriage of convenience as a survival strategy – with different outcomes. Only a few women will later tell about their situations.
In Vienna in 1938, it is a matter of life and death for Austrian Jews. A marriage of convenience can save lives in times of need but comes with many risks. The women who choose this path are courageous and fearless. Mostly coming from educated, assimilated and middle-class families, they explicitly seek men with foreign citizenship.
Some women are still known to the general public to this day. The stories of many others only became visible through scientific research or thanks to family records.
To accompany the exhibition persecuted/engaged/married. Jewish Women’s Marriages of Convenience in Exile a bilingual catalogue with numerous illustrations will be published in April 2022. Cost 27.00 € excl. shipping.