INTRODUCTION: THE SETTING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leopoldine & Ignaz Sobotka (my great-grandparents)

 

This social and economic history blog looks at various aspects of the lives of ordinary people in Vienna; their different backgrounds, their lifestyles, their occupations and pastimes. It deliberately chooses “common people”, not artists, not industrialists, not high bourgeoisie or nobility. My family constitutes the template on which the blog is based and the different chapters are linked to the destiny of one of those “common people” that were members of my family and are representative of the lives of many of their contemporaries. The chapters analyse from a social and economic history point of view various aspects of life of indigenous Viennese, of immigrants and emigrants.

The German philosopher Walter Benjamin wrote in 1940, “It is more difficult to honour the memory of the nameless than that of the famous. The historical reconstruction is dedicated to the memory of the nameless.” And furthermore, “History is not just the history of those who triumph, who dominate and who survive, but most of all the history of the suffering of the world…..It’s what history is based on: those anonymous people without name and without memory.”

Their four daughters: Käthe, Lola (my grandmother), Agi, Mitzi