Bettauer, Hugo

Tagged: Author

(1872-1925) Austrian author, who emigrated to the US and became an American citizen in 1899, lived in New York for 12 years, then returned to Vienna. His sf novel, Die Stadt ohne Juden: Ein Roman von Ubermorgen (1922; trans Salomea Neumark Brainin as The City Without Jews: A Novel of our Time 1926), posits a Near Future Austria which has banned all Jews. The tale focuses on the resulting devastation of the financial and cultural life of Vienna, its self-immolation in poisonous mediocrity; and ends with a triumphant repeal of the racist initiative. Bettauer tells his tale in a tone of light, almost absurdist Satire – Christian businessmen in Alpine breeches greeting each other with loud shouts of "Hail!" – that makes it clear he thought the premise was so ridiculous that to air it was to dispel it. He never learned how wrong he was, as a "Nordic" activist murdered him in 1925, believing him to be a traitor to Kultur. Which of course he was. [JC]

Hugo Bettauer

born Baden bei Wien, near Vienna, Austria: 18 August 1872

died Vienna, Austria: 26 March 1925

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