Jews, Politics and Austria

A lecture series organised by the Austrian Cultural Forum London and the Leo Baeck Institute London.

29 March 2012, 7.00pm, Austrian Ambassador’s Residence

Professor Raphael Gross (LBI London)

Hans Kelsen – 20th Century Lawyer: Comeback not desired

‘The complexity of my condition: an Austrian, a Jew’. This diary entry by Arthur Schnitzler in 1913 serves as epigraph of our lecture series Jews, Politics and Austria organised jointly with the Austrian Cultural Forum London. The series introduces Jewish intellectuals, artists and scientists who, in the early years of the twentieth century, lived and worked in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and in the Republic of Austria.

The second lecture in this series will focus on the life and work of Hans Kelsen (1881-1973), one of the preeminent jurists of the 20th century. The fact that he was a Jew did not influence his legal writings and theories. Despite this his work often came under attack from anti-liberal, anti-democratic and anti-Semitic circles. Kelsen’s main practical legacy is as the inventor of the modern European model of the constitutional review – first used in the Austrian First Republic.  Other notable appointments included a professorship in Cologne in 1930 followed by a professorship at the German University in Prague from 1936-38.  In 1940 he emigrated to the United States where he later became Professor at the University of California, Berkley.

Professor Raphael Gross is Director of the Leo Baeck Institute London, the Jewish Museum Frankfurt and the Fritz Bauer Institute. He is also a Reader in History at Queen Mary, University of London, as well as honorary professor at the University of Frankfurt. His most recent publication was Anständig geblieben. Nationalsozialistische Moral, Frankfurt am Main 2012 (Fischer Taschenbuch).

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception hosted by the Austrian Ambassador Dr Emil Brix.

Entry is free but seating is limited. Please book by 22 March (nadja.weidmann@bmeia.gv.at). This lecture will be held at the Austrian Ambassador’s Residence, 18 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PX.