Dr. Karl Jellinek’s Post‐Anschluss Involvement
in the Palestine Office of Vienna and the Zionist Regional Association
for GermanAustria
— and the Context for his Actions

Dr. Karl Jellinek’s Palestine [Emigration] Office ID card,

The card “confirms that Karl is employed as a volunteer” (German: freiw.[illiger] Mitarbeiter) at the Palestine Office in Vienna.

Dated: June 21, 1938. Numbered: I/47.

Karl’s address: 15th District [of Vienna]. Mariahilfer Street 135.

Following Karl’s 'Dr.” title and full name are the letters: “R. A.,” the abbreviation for the German word which identifies the type of “Doctor” that Karl was: Rechtsanwalt (lawyer).

The name of the office is stamped at the bottom of the ID card in the Hebrew language: משרד ארץ ישראל (Office of the Land of Israel) and in the center of the purple, oval‐shaped stamp, the Hebrew name appears again, but with the addition of the Hebrew word וינה (Vienna). The names of the office in English and German are printed around the inside edge of the stamp.

Stamped in blue, (blurred) type, in the space below Karl’s address: Zionistischer Landesverband für Deutschösterreich (Zionist Regional Association for GermanAustria). It is likely that this stamp was added after Karl’s August entry into this Zionist association, as an additional meritorious and qualifying identifier.

Dr. Karl Jellinek’s membership card in the Zionist Regional Association for GermanAustria.

It is noteworthy that the association’s name incorporated the new reality of Austria having become German Austria.

Date of Entry: August 1, 1938.
Signed by the Finance Officer and the President, [Dr. Nach Suies ?]

On the reverse side: printed stamps and type indicating three membership fee payments of 50 Reichsmark each. An exception to the early Nazi mandate to the IKG, that prohibited all smaller Jewish organizations from collecting and keeping independent assets, was made for organizations that received money from outside the community. This regional Zionist association is likely to have been allowed to collect membership fees, at least for a limited time, because they received money from the World Zionist Organization.

On the stamps there are Stars of David, as well as the Hebrew words: ברית ציון איסטריה גרמנית (Alliance of Zion, German Austria)

Karl brought both of the above documents with him to the US and kept them stored, but not shared, during the rest of his life.


In the beginning of May 1938, the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde, Wien (aka IKG ‐ the [chief] Jewish communal organization of Vienna) and the Palästina ‐Amt, Wien (Palestine Office, Vienna) were reopened by Adolf Eichmann. The Palestine Office was a section of the IKG that dealt solely with Jewish emigration to British Mandate Palestine.

The assets, leaders and members of all of the eighty other Viennese Jewish organizations were compelled to be part of and under the supervision of the IKG. But the IKG became only a link in the increasingly constricted chain of Nazi command. The reopened IKG served as a useful intermediary for Eichmann, and was under his and other Nazi authorities’ direction and strict operating orders. The higher‐level Zentralstelle (Central Office for Jewish Emigration) that Eichmann established in August 1938, oversaw the IKG and the Palestine Office.

The March 1938 Anschluss unleashed five to seven weeks of pogrom ‐ like terror and lawlesssness against Jews in Vienna, that resulted in most Jews becoming desperate to escape Austria. From May 1938 until October 1941, there was a confluence of this urgent goal held by the Jewish Community (the IKG) and by the Nazi regime, namely, the mass Jewish emigration from Austria. The Nazis realized that forcing the Jewish community to cooperate and collaborate under their administration led to smoother, faster expulsion of the Jews, thereby rendering Austria “judenrein” — empty of Jews. The Jewish Community’s forced cooperation with the Nazi regime helped the Community get approximately 136,000 people, about 2/3 of Austrian Jewry, out of Austria, and into fifty different countries, on six continents. Karl, his wife, Kreindel and their infant daughter, Michaela, were among those able to flee. The following pages in this same website section, provide key information, as well as documentary evidence of their escape from Austria and into the USA: Karl’s correspondence with the family’s affidavit sponsor and with the US Consulate, as well as Karl and Kreindel’s Nazi‐issued passports.

When Karl, as a long‐time, dedicated Zionist, volunteered at the Palästina‐Amt, Wien, he may have helped with their newspaper, library or any of the other following activities: the processing of Emigration Registration Questionnaires, the coordination of preparations for emigration, including Hebrew language courses, Hachsharah (Hebrew word for agricultural training for farming in Palestine), securing of and fundraising for prospective emigrants’ train and ship tickets, Nazi‐required flight taxes, exit permits, tax office certifications and more.

Tragically however, the Jewish community’s “choiceless choice” of initial cooperation with and obedience to Nazi orders, led to their later coerced cooperation with the Nazis’ deceptive and evil orders to assist with Jewish deportations. For a particularly compelling and poignant account of the process of deterioration of the IKG ‐ Vienna’s role from rescue to involvement in the Jewish community’s destruction, see The Jews of Nazi Vienna, 1938 ‐ 1945: Rescue and Destruction by Ilana F. Offenberger, listed in this website’s Sources’ sub‐section: “. . . Historical Narratives of Particular Relevance . . .” The following books, listed in the Books sub‐section of Sources, provide more detailed information about Jewish emigration to Palestine during the pre‐war period: On the Eve: The Jews of Europe Before the Second World War by Bernard Wasserstein, and Nazi Germany and the Jews, Volume 1: The Years of Persecution, 1933 ‐ 1939 by Saul Friedländer.