What is informed citizenship

Ephrussi family head Victor de Waal receives Austrian citizenship

About a year ago, de Waal, who fled Vienna from the Nazi regime as a child, expressed his wish to regain Austrian citizenship. The formalities have now been successfully completed, said Mayor Ludwig.

Victor de Waal, who had to flee Vienna from the Nazi regime with his family as a child, is now an Austrian citizen. Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPĂ–) announced this on Friday. De Waal - then 90 years old - came to Vienna for the first family reunion after the expulsion in November 2019. At that time, he had expressed a wish to regain citizenship.

The basis for the decision is the regulation that has been in force since the previous year, according to which descendants of victims of the Nazi regime with foreign citizenship also receive Austrian citizenship via so-called notification. In Vienna, the municipal department 35 is responsible for this and has already made positive decisions in 950 cases, as it was called today. Among them is now also Victor de Waal.

Family reunion in Vienna

He was received in November 2019 by Mayor Ludwig together with numerous members of the extensive Ephrussi family in the Vienna City Hall. The occasion at that time was the opening of the exhibition "Die Ephrussis. A journey through time" in the Jewish Museum, which was dedicated to the history of the family who once lived in the Palais Ephrussi on the Ringstrasse.

The family reunion in the town hall was led by Victor de Waal, who had played in the Viennese Palais Ephrussi as a child. He grew up in Switzerland, with a Dutch passport, and knows Vienna from visiting his grandparents. Victor de Waal is the father of Edmund de Waal, the author of the book "The hare with the amber eyes. The hidden legacy of the Ephrussi family". During the visit, Victor de Waal expressed his wish to obtain Austrian citizenship, reported the mayor. In a letter, Ludwig informed Victor de Waal personally that all formalities have now been successfully completed, it said.

Important family

The Ephrussis are considered to be one of the most important European-Jewish families of the 19th and 20th centuries. They originally came from Odessa, Russia. The Ephrussis were successful grain traders and financial entrepreneurs who were also active in Vienna from the middle of the 19th century. In the 1870s, Ignaz Ephrussi had a Ringstrasse Palais planned by the architect Theophil Hansen built - today at Universitätsring 14.

In 1872 he was knighted by Emperor Franz Joseph I. After the "Anschluss" of Austria in 1938, however, the palace was immediately "Aryanized" and the family expelled. Furniture and works of art from the palace were stolen. As early as 1945, the Ephrussi family sought restitution. According to the city, many of these procedures have not yet been completed.