Date of Graduation

Fall 2023


Master of Arts in History



Committee Chair

Sarah Panzer


The return movement of Jewish Holocaust survivors to Austria after the Second World War has so far primarily been studied under the primacy of the country’s collective refusal to address its complicity in the crimes of Nazi Germany. It has been assumed that Jewish returnees did not actively confront former Nazi perpetrators and profiteers of the regime when they came back to Vienna after 1945 because Austria shielded itself from culpability for Nazi crimes under the “First Victim” myth. However, by drawing on a theoretical framework of a history of emotions, the following thesis demonstrates that Jewish survivors in postwar Vienna used revenge and revenge fantasies as a coping mechanism to grapple with trauma and the fact that a majority of perpetrators did not have to face punishment for the crimes they had committed against Jews. Through the discussion of two interviews with Holocaust survivors and their respective experiences in Vienna after the war, the following thesis shows that revenge played an important role in Jewish returnees’ reclaiming of their home and confrontations with perpetrators in Austria’s Second Republic.


Holocaust survivors, Jewish revenge, 20th century Austria, Vienna, the Second World War, Nazism

Subject Categories

European History | Holocaust and Genocide Studies | Jewish Studies


© Anna Celina Guenter

Available for download on Tuesday, December 01, 2026

Open Access