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“The Sad Secrets of the Big City”: Prostitution and Other Moral Panics in Early Post-Imperial Vienna

  • Nancy M. Wingfield


So read some of the subheadings in a 14 June 1920 article in the Wiener Montags-Presse, analyzing prostitution in post-imperial Vienna. Many journalists—sometimes, even the same journalists—continued to employ the very vocabulary, “contagion,” “contamination,” and “filth,” in their postwar exposés that they had used in their prewar and wartime reports on prostitution in the Habsburg monarchy. Viennese officials in the newly founded German-Austria (Deutschösterreich) continued to consider tolerated prostitutes a “necessary evil,” arrest women they found engaging in clandestine prostitution, subject them to pelvic examinations for venereal disease (VD), and treat these women as operating outside the bounds of society. In fact, women who practiced prostitution were a long-entrenched part of the female working class. In matters of commercial sex, Austria-Hungary's defeat in the First World War did not constitute a decisive break with the past, but rather a juncture in long-term historical processes, as this analysis of post-imperial Vienna through 1923, when postwar inflation had been tamed, reveals.


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1 “Aus dem dunkelsten Wien, ” Wiener Montags-Presse, 14 June 1920, p. 3. Similar headlines appeared in other Viennese newspapers after the war. For example, “The Tourism Swamp,” “Almost No Control [of tolerated prostitutes],” “The Sick Youth of Vienna,” “The Contaminated Middle Class,” and “A Vice-Police Proposal” were some of the subheadings in “Wien im Zeichen der Prostitution,” in the weekly, Der Montag mit dem Sport-Montag, 7 Aug. 1922, p. 3.

2 Studies on the regulation of prostitution in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe include Bernheimer, Charles, Figures of Ill Repute: Representing Prostitution in Nineteenth-Century France (Durham, 1989); Bernstein, Laurie, Sonia's Daughters: Prostitutes and Their Regulation in Imperial Russia (Berkeley, 1995); Corbin, Alain, Les filles de noce: Misère sexuelle et prostitution aux 19 e et 20 e siècles (Paris, 1978); Evans, Richard J., “Prostitution, State and Society in Imperial Germany,” Past & Present 70 (Feb. 1976): 106–29; Gibson, Mary, Prostitution and the State in Italy, 1860–1915, 2nd ed. (Columbus, 1999); Jušek, Karin J., Auf der Suche nach der Verlorenen: Die Prostitutionsdebatten im Wien in der Jahrhundertwende (Vienna, 1994); Luddy, Maria, Prostitution and Irish Society, 1800–1940 (Cambridge, 2007); and Yvonne Svanström, “Policing Public Women: The Regulation of Prostitution in Stockholm, 1812–1880” (PhD diss., Stockholms universitet, 2000).

3 “Polizei-Direktions-Erlaß vom 5. April 1911,” S.A. 55 betreffend die polizeiliche Überwachung der Prostitution, Amtsblatt der k.k. Polizei-Direktion in Wien (1911): 5–14. Between the wars, Viennese vice police kept close track of how many prostitutes from each police district the police physicians examined. See Landespolizei Direktion Wien Archiv (LPDW), Normalien, 1923–1925, Polizeidirektion in Wien, Dekret, 5 Apr. 1923.

4 For the text of the law, see Alexander Löffler, Das Strafrecht, vol. 1: Die materiellen Strafgesetze (Mainz, 1918), paragraph 5, 317–18. The text can also be found in “Sammlung der für die Bekämpfung des Mädchenhandels in Betracht kommenden österreichischen Gesetze, Verordnungen und Erlässe” (Vienna, 1909), 12.

5 On the widely publicized trial of the infamous Viennese madam Regine Riehl for embezzlement, fraud, pandering, and other crimes associated with the operation of her tolerated brothel, see “The Riehl Trial,” in Nancy M. Wingfield, The World of Prostitution in Late Imperial Vienna (Oxford, 2017), 17–46.

6 Birgit Sauer, “Taxes, rights and regimentation: Discourses on prostitution in Austria,” in The Politics of Prostitution: Women's Movements, Democratic States and the Globalisation of Sex Commerce, ed. Joyce Outshoorn (Cambridge, 2004), 43.

7 Specialists of the era were referring to a more limited number of diseases than those subsumed under the contemporary term “sexually transmitted infections.” VD meant syphilis or gonorrhea, and less often, soft chancre.

8 Britta McEwen, Sexual Knowledge: Feeling, Fact, and Social Reform in Vienna, 19001934 (New York, 2012), 4.

9 See Maura Hametz on maintaining regional liberties in formerly Habsburg regions to smooth transition to Italian sovereignty in Making Trieste Italian, 19181954 (Rochester, 2005), 18–19.

10 Gabriella Hauch, “‘… daß die Frau wirklich gleichberechtigt, gleichbefähigt ist’?! Frauenwahlrecht und ambivalente Geschlechterverhältnisse in der Ersten Republik,” in 1918–2018 Die Anfänge der Republik Österreich im internationalen Kontext, ed. Helmut Konrad (Vienna, 2018), 27. On Viennese interwar political history, see Anson Rabinbach's classic, The Crisis of Austrian Socialism: From Red Vienna to Civil War 19271934 (Chicago, 1983). More recently, see Judith Beniston, “Culture and Politics in Red Vienna: Introduction,” in “Culture and Politics in Red Vienna,” eds. Judith Beniston and Robert Vilain, special issue, Austrian Studies 14 (2006): 1–19; and Edward Timms, “School for Socialism: Karl Seitz and the Cultural Politics of Vienna,” in “Culture and Politics in Red Vienna,” eds. Judith Beniston and Robert Vilain, special issue, Austrian Studies 14 (2006): 37–59.

11 McEwen, Sexual Knowledge, 119.

12 Lex Veneris, issued on 1 Jan. 1919, embodied Sweden's interwar approach to prostitution, which Anna Lundberg argues was both progressive and regressive, in “Paying the Price of Citizenship: Gender and Social Policy on Venereal Disease in Stockholm, 1919–1944,” Social Science History 32, no. 2 (Summer 2008): 215–34. For new approaches to prostitution in Germany, see Victoria Harris, Selling Sex in the Third Reich (Oxford, 2010); and Julia Roos, Weimar through the Lens of Gender: Prostitution Reform, Woman's Emancipation, and Germany Democracy, 1919–33 (Ann Arbor, 2010). On prostitution elsewhere in interwar Europe, see for example, Stefan Slater, “Lady Astor and the Ladies of the Night: The Home Office, the Metropolitan Police and the Politics of the Street Offences Committee, 1927–28,” Law and History Review 30, no. 2 (May 2012): 533–73; Stefan Slater, “Prostitutes and popular history: notes on the ‘underworld’, 1918–1939,” Crime, Histoire & Sociétés/Crime, History & Societies 13, no. 1 (2009): 25–48; and relevant chapters in Julia Laite, Common Prostitutes and Ordinary Citizens: Commercial Sex in London, 18851960 (London, 2012), and Luddy, Prostitution and Irish Society.

13 Der Morgen, Wiener Montagblatt, 5 Jan. 1920, p. 6.

14 In addition to the Arbeiterinnen-Zeitung, which had addressed these issues before 1914, see for example discussion of VD in “Geschlechtskrankheiten,” Die Mutter, Halbmonatsschrift für alle Fragen der Schwangerschaft 2, no. 29 (1 Feb. 1926): 3–4; and“Die Bekämpfung der Geschlechtskrankheiten in Deutschland und in Österreich,” Die Österreicherin 1, no. 4 (1 Apr. 1928): 1.

15 Peter Baldwin, Contagion and the State in Europe, 1830–1930 (Cambridge, 1999), 455; Dagmar Herzog, Sexuality in Europe: A Twentieth-Century History (Cambridge, 2011), 47; Mary Louise Roberts, Civilization without Sex: Reconstructing Gender in Postwar France, 1917–1927 (Chicago, 1994); and Lutz D. H. Sauerteig, “Sex, Medicine, and Morality during the First World War,” in War, Medicine, and Modernity, eds. Roger Cooter et al. (Gloucestershire, 1998), 167.

16 Dagmar Herzog, Sexuality in Europe, 45; and citing a 1914 survey, Mirjam Triendl-Zadoff, Nächstes Jahr in Marienbad: Gegenwelten jüdischer Kulturen der Moderne (Göttingen, 2007), 108; see also discussion of Klotilde Baran in Wingfield, The World of Prostitution, 238–41. On male sexual behavior in prewar imperial Austria, see for example, discussion of a survey of male university students in Brünn/Brno, the provincial capital of Moravia, in J. Moudrá, “Otázka stejné morálky” [The question of the same morality], Ženský svět [Women's world] (20 May 1914): 13. See also assumptions about male sexual behavior in discussion of sex education in Roland Großberger, “Bericht aus Kliniken und Spitälern, Ueber die sexuele Aufklärung unserer Schuljugend,” Wiener Klinische Rundshau 35, nos. 9–10 (5 Mar. 1921): 35–37; and mention of student VD rates in E. [Ernst] Finger, “Die soziale Bedeutung und die Bekämpfung der Geschlechtskrankheiten,” Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 22, no. 69 (24 May 1919): 1071.

17 Maureen Healy, Vienna and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire (Cambridge, 2004), 250–51; LPWD, Stimmungsberichte 1915, K.k. Polizeidirektion in Wien, Zentralinspektoral der k.k. Sicherheitswache, 1 July 1915, mentions theft and damage caused by students and youth in Vienna's Fifteenth and Twentieth Districts; and Wiener Montags-Presse, 14 June 1920, p. 3, on rising youth criminality during wartime.

18 Österreichisches Staatsarchiv (ÖstA), Archiv der Republik (AdR), Bundesministerium für soziale Verwaltung/Volksgesundheit, Präsidium (BMfsV/Volksgesundheit Präs),Volksgesundheit, 1918, oes. Gesellschaft für Schulhygiene, 5 Aug. 1918 (no. 13).

19 See Britta McEwen, “Purity Redefined: Catholic Attitudes Towards Children's Sex Education in Austria, 1920–36,” in Shaping Sexual Knowledge: A Cultural History of Sex Education in Twentieth Century Europe, eds. Lutz D. H. Sauerteig and Roger Davidson (London, 2009), 173.

20 McEwen, Sexual Knowledge, 56–57.

21 On Tandler, see ibid., 26–35; and McEwen, “Welfare and Eugenics: Julius Tandler's Rassenhygienische Vision for Interwar Vienna,” Austrian History Yearbook 41 (2010): 170–90.

22 LPDW, Normalien, 1924–1925, Polizei-Direktion in Wien, Runderlass, 13 Feb. 1924.

23 Robert Gellately, “Denunciation as a Subject of Historical Research,” Historical Social Research 26, nos. 2–3 (2001): 16.

24 The prewar LPDW, PM files contain numerous denunciations of female turpitude. See the discussion in Wingfield, The World of Prostitution, 42, 162–63.

25 Gellately, “Denunciation,” 17. On wartime denunciation in the monarchy, see Pieter M. Judson, “Denunciation and Food Riots as State Building from Below,” in The Habsburg Empire (Cambridge, MA, 2016), 394–407; more generally on denunciation, see the special issue on “Practices of Denunciation in Modern European History, 1789–1989” of The Journal of Modern History 68, no. 4, (Dec. 1996). See for example, the denunciation of Julie Ludmila Kartus, allegedly a clandestine prostitute, whose specialty was “destroying marriages,” LPDW, Prostitution u. Mädchenhandel (PM), 1919, 684-19/104, 6 Mar. 1919.

26 LPDW, PM, 1919, Privatanzeige ueber Unzucht in der Nachbarschaft (1919), Polizeidirektion Wien, 28 Feb. 1919.

27 LPDW, PM, 1918, Kath. Malleczek to Löbliche Sitten-Polizei, 30 Nov. 1918.

28 LPDW, Prostitutionstatistik, 1879–1920; see also Wiener Montags-Presse, 14 June 1920, p. 3.

29 See Státní okresní archiv [State District Archive], Karlovy Vary, Archiv města Karlovy Vary [Karlovy Vary City Archive], Spisy [Writings] , B-XIV-188, Box 2, File: Evidence prostitutek, 1914–1922 [Prostitute Records, 1914–1922].

30 A survey of 568 of Vienna's 577 registered prostitutes revealed fifty-nine of them to be between the ages of fifty-one and sixty and eight to be between sixty-one and sixty-eight, “Die Prostitution in Wien,” Stichtag 1.10.1951. Eleven years later, 3 of Vienna's 520 registered prostitutes were more than fifty years old: fifty-six, sixty-five, and seventy-one, “Bericht über die Tätigkeit der beamten des Büros G.M. im Jahr 1962,” dated 9 Jan. 1963. Both are in LPDW, Prostitution, 1947–1962. John Irving included a fictional account of an older prostitute in post–World War II Vienna in The World According to Garp (Boston, 1978). In chapter 5, “In the City Where Marcus Aurelius Died,” the protagonist, eighteen-year-old T. S. Garp has a relationship with a First District prostitute old enough to be his mother.

31 On food and fuel shortages in Vienna, see Eve Blau, The Architecture of Red Vienna, 19191934 (Cambridge, MA, 1999), for example, pp. 1–2, 6, 9–10, 135.

32 On brothels remaining open until the wee hours during the early months of the war, see LPDW, Stimmensberichte aus der Kreigszeit I. 1914, K.k. Polizeidirektion in Wien, Zentralinsektorat der k.k. Sicherheitswache, 11 Mar. 1915. On earlier closing hours: LPDW, PM, 1918/1, Polizei-Berzirks-Kommissariat Stadt in Wien Sicherheitswache. Offenhalten v. Bordellen (sub.), 8 Dec. 1918; and Polizei-Direktion in Wien, Abt. für sittenpolizeilische Agenden, 9 Dec. 1918, Präsidium.

33 Johann Ude, Die Kulturschande Europas vor dem Schwurgericht (Graz, 1920), 16; and Wiener Montags-Journal, 13 Mar. 1922, p. 3.

34 Józef Macko, Prostytucja [Prostitution] (Warsaw, 1927), 124.

35 LPDW, Prostitution, 1921, handwritten letter, n.d. Herzl's calling card is attached.

36 Following the remarks of renowned psychiatrists and neurologists, serious “sex teachers” stressed harmlessness and enforceability of abstinence before marriage. They also cited the abstinence of clergy, sailors, and athletes in training. However, at least some specialists questioned whether sexual abstinence would work without deleterious effect on the physical and mental well-being of most young men, given the still limited knowledge of internal secretions and their subtle connection with sex gland activity. See Großberger, “Bericht aus Kliniken und Spitälern, Ueber die sexuele Aufklärung unserer Schuljugend,” 37. As Baldwin writes in Contagion and the State, 359, “copulatory orgasm” was considered not only a pleasure but also a necessity for mental and physical health.

37 Neues Montagblatt (Wiener Neueste Nachrichten), 30 May 1921, p. 4.

38 From a Viennese vice police report on an 11 Oct. 1919 raid, see LPDW, PM, 1919; for rising bread prices, see for example, Arbeiter-Zeitung, 1 Jan. 1919, p. 9; Fremden-Blatt, 16 Jan. 1919, p. 6; Volksblatt für Stadt und Land, 7 Dec. 1919, p. 3. On food prices, Charles S. Chiu, Women in the Shadows: Mileva Einstein-Marić, Margarete Jeanne Trakl, Lise Meitner, Milena Jesenská, and Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, trans. Edith Borchardt (New York, 2008), 133.

39 Arbeiter-Zeitung, 22 Nov. 1922, p. 6.

40 LPDW, Prostitution, 1921, 26/XIV-23; relevant correspondence in this file beginning 4 Mar. 1921, in this case, “Rudolfsheim” 12 Sept. 1922.

41 LPDW, Prostitution, 1921, 26/XIV-23, Relation, 24 Aug. 1922, Ortschulrat to Polizeidirektion Wien, 29 Nov. 1922.

42 LPDW, Prostitution, 1921, bez. Rat Zuckerman to Polizei-Direktion Wien, 3 July 1923.

43 Marie-Thérèse Nisot, La question eugénique dans les divers pays, vol. 2 (Brussels, 1929), 91. See also LPDW, PM, 1918/1 and 1919, which contain documents dated as late as 1920. According to J. C. Brunner, Illustrierte Sittengeschichte: Krieg und Geschlechtsleben (Frankfurt, 1922), 91, among 2,374 women arrested for clandestine prostitution in Vienna in 1919, 804 were minors and 373 were children; on numbers of women arrested for clandestine prostitution in Vienna, see for example, Franz Exner, Krieg und Kriminalität in Österreich (Vienna, 1927), 163.

44 LPDW, PM, 1918/1 and/ 1918/2.

45 LPDW, PM, 1917, Referat, 22 Dec. 1916.

46 Arbeiter-Zeitung, 22 Nov. 1922, p. 6. Other sources mention disease rates dropping only in the mid-1920s. Copies of the “Entwurf einen Gesetzes, betreffend die Verhütung und Bekampfung übertragbarer Geschlechtkrankheiten,” signed Walldorf, 19 May 1922, LPDW, Schober Archiv, were sent to the Chancellor as well as the ministries of education, health, justice, and the interior.

47 See Reichspost, 12 Nov. 1927, p. 17, referring to the Weimar law as representing great progress in defending women and children.

48 Arbeiter-Zeitung, 22 Nov. 1922, p. 6.

49 Wiener Montags-Journal, 14 June 1920, p. 3; Wiener Montags-Journal, 9 Aug. 1921, p. 3; and LPDW, PM, 1919, arrest date 1 Apr. 1919.

50 Arbeiter-Zeitung, 21 Sept. 1919, p. 9.

51 LPDW, PM, 1917, “Referat”; and Neue Freie Presse, 12 Oct. 1916, p. 11. On postwar female fashion and presence in public, see Katharina Maria Motyl, “Bodies That Shimmer: An Embodied History of Vienna's New Women, 1893–1931” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2017), 21–22 and 76–77. The literature on “new women” in Europe is enormous, see Motyl, 21, note 84.

52 See numerous examples in LPDW, PM, 1919.

53 LPDW, PM, 1918/1, 28 Dec. 1918, to Wohlgeboren Herrn Josef Chowanetz, Inspektor der Südbahn in St. Peter Krain. See also LPDW, PM, 1919, 2640-19/104, Trneny, Josefine, Aufgreifung, 17 Sept. 1919.

54 There are numerous examples in LPWD, 1918/2, see letter to das Bezirksgericht Ottakring!, 30 Oct. 1920. In 1937, the Nazis defined prostitutes as asocial, see Harris, Selling Sex in the Third Reich, 14.

55 The LPDW's postwar files on prostitution contain a variety of material on this issue. For this case, 1919, to die k.k. Polizeidirektion in Wien, 21 May 1919.

56 Reichspost, 8 June 1922, p. 8.

57 LPDW, Prostitution,1919, 633-19/104, Direktion des Kaiser Franz Josef-Spitales in Wien to the Polizeidirektion Wien, 23 Apr., 2 May, and 31 July 1919. To insure faster identification of those infected, prostitutes were to be instructed to identify themselves at the time of their appearance at the hospital, just as they were to carry their legitimated photograph with them when they appeared before the authorities and institutions. Normalien, 1924, Polizeidirektion in Wien, S.A. 49/2 Dienstzettel, (signed) Schober, 19 Feb. 1924.

58 Der Montag, 9 Dec. 1918, p. 4.

59 LPDW, PM, 1918/1, Meldung!, 28 Dec. 1918.

60 This was the case across Habsburg Central Europe. See for example, LPDW, PM, 1919, 2663-19/104 Schub-Paß, 11 Dec. 1923, and the prostitute repatriated to Galicia on a Heimkehrerzug (returnee train) on 27 July 1919, Derzhavnyi arkhiv Chernivetskoi oblasti [State Archive of the Chernivtsi region], Dyrektsia Politsii misti Chernivtsi [Police directorate of the city of Chernivtsi], 10/1/1468 (1918), doc. 64, 15 Oct. 1919. European governments also employed the economic situation to control who remained in new and newly expanded countries. See the case of the Moravian-born Rosa Klínek, a brothel keeper in Trieste, whose son was not permitted to remain in Italy, owing to the desire to employ locals in the Julian Alps, where the unemployment rate was high in Borut Klabjan, Češkoslovaška na Jadranu. Čehi in Slovaki ter njihove povezave s Trstom in Primorsko od začetka 20. stoletja do druge svetovne vojne [Czechoslovakia on the Adriatic. Czechs and Slovaks and their connections with Trieste and the Slovene Littoral from the beginning of the 20th century to the Second World War] (Koper, 2007), 187.

61 ÖStA, AdR, BMfsV/Volksgesundheit Präs, 1918, Der Deutsche Volksrat für Wien und Niederösterreich to Staatsamt für Gesundheitswesen in Wien, 28 Nov. 1918; and the response to Deutsche Volksrat für Wien und Niederösterreich, 18 Dec. 1918.

62 LPDW, Normalien, 1920, 1921, 1922, Police-Direktion in Wien, 5 Oct. 1920.

63 See Claude Quétel, History of Syphilis, trans. Judith Braddock and Brian Pike (Baltimore, 1990), especially 140–43; and Bernstein's description of mercury's unpleasant side effects in Sonia's Daughters, 66–67. For discussions of fin-de-siècle advances in the study of VDs, see Baldwin, Contagion and the State, 374–75; and Manfred Vasold, Grippe, Pest und Cholera. Eine Geschichte der Seuchen in Europa (Stuttgart, 2008), 231. While the length of hospital stays for syphilis dropped from about 30 days to 19.5 days between 1908 and 1910, the treatment remained expensive and sometimes lasted much longer. German chemist Arthur Eichengrün developed Protargol salve, a compound of albumin and silver, a version of which was used for gonorrhea beginning in 1897; sulfonamide became available after the mid-1930s. On the politics of treating VD in Germany, where many advances in treating VD, most importantly Salvasan and Neosalvasan, occurred, see Lutz D. H. Sauerteig, “‘The Fatherland Is in Danger, Save the Fatherland!’: Venereal Disease, Sexuality and Gender in Imperial and Weimar Germany,” in Sex, Sin and Suffering: Venereal Disease in European Society since 1870, eds. Roger Davidson and Lesley A. Hall (London, 2001), 76–92. See comments on early postwar developments in the treatment of syphilis in Neues Wiener Journal, 15 Mar. 1921, p. 13; also McEwen, Sexual Knowledge, 14–15, 38.

64 By the war's second year, Habsburg military officials were concerned about the danger soldiers posed by spreading VD while on leave, and later, about prisoners of war returning to the monarchy with VD. See for example, Der Tag, 25 Nov. 1918, p. 4; and Ionela Zaharia, “For God and/or emperor: Habsburg Romanian military chaplains and wartime propaganda in camps for returning POWs,” European Review of History: Revue européenne d'histoire 24, no. 2 (2017): 292.

65 ÖStA/AdR, Bundesministerium für soziale Verwaltung/Volksgesundheit, Präsidium (BMfsV/Volksgesundheit Präs) Niederösterreichische Landesregierung to N.Ö. Staatsamt für Volksgesundheit in Wien, 9 Dec. 1918.

66 LPDW, Prostitution, 1921, 2409-21/104, correspondence.

67 Weinberger lecture at “Der International Polizeikongreß in Wien (3. bis 7. Sept 1923),” Stenographisches Protokoll der Verhandlungen (Vienna, 1923), 119–22; and Neues Wiener Tagblatt, 4 Sept. 1923, 27; Neues 8-Uhr Blatt, 4 Sept. 1923, 2. Weinberger had declared himself opposed to vice police control of prostitution in a discussion the previous August, according to Der Montag mit dem Sport-Montag, 7 Aug. 1922, p. 3.

68 “International Polizeikongreß,” 123.

69 According to Siobhán Hearne, although VD rates had steadily risen from the early 1900s, and this concerned officials and physicians in 1917, Russian authorities did not collect VD statistics during the Civil War period into the early 1920s. The government criminalized the transmission of VD in 1926 and there were anti-VD campaigns during the 1920s. The rate of disease among Black Sea sailors rose between 1916 and 1926; see Siobhán Hearne, “The ‘black spot’ on the Crimea: venereal disease in the Black Sea fleet in the 1920s,” Social History 42, no. 2 (2017): 181–204. On anti-VD campaigns, see Frances L. Bernstein, “Envisioning Health in Revolutionary Russia: The Politics of Gender in Sexual-Enlightenment Posters of the 1920s,” Russian Review 57, no. 2 (Apr. 1998): 191–217. See also Eric Naiman, Sex in Public: The Early Incarnation of Soviet Ideology (Princeton, 1997).

70 For laws on prostitution/VD in interwar Central and Eastern Europe, see Milena Lenderová, Chytila patrola … aneb prostituce za Rakouska i republiky [The patrol caught her … or the prostitution in Austria and the republic] (Prague, 2002), 13, 51–59, 209–10; and Victoria Harris, “Prostitution in Berlin and Hamburg,” in Trafficking in Women (19241926): The Paul Kinsie Reports for the League of Nations, vol. 2, ed. United Nations Publication (New York, 2017), 75–76; for post-revolutionary Russia, where selling sex had been decriminalized in 1917, see Siobhán Hearne, “Liberation and authoritarianism in the early Soviet campaign to ‘struggle with prostitution,’” in Liberation to Tyranny: The Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution, eds. Lara Douds, James Harris, and Peter Whitewood (London: I.B. Tauris, forthcoming). Hearne notes that the number of prostitutes in Petersburg almost doubled between 1920 and the end of 1922, from 17,000 to 32,000, 3.

71 Sigmund's university students included renowned venereologist Ernst Finger, who practiced in both late imperial and interwar Vienna, played a leading role in revising prostitution regulations following the Riehl trial.

72 Neues Wiener Journal, 27 Oct. 1924, p. 5; and 29 Nov. 1927, p. 5. An article from Volkspost (15 Apr. 1932), 13, comments on vice police still raiding hotels.

73 LPDW, Normalien, 1923–1925, Polizeidirektion in Wien, Dienstzettel, 1 May 1925.

74 On female migration and concerns about sex trafficking before World War I, see Stauter-Halsted, Keely, The Devil's Chain: Prostitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland (Ithaca, 2015), 145–48, 150–56, and 158–67; and Wingfield, The World of Prostitution, 187–90; on migration from the monarchy's eastern provinces more generally, see Zahra, Tahra, The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World (New York, 2017).

75 “1921 International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children, as Amended by the 1947 Protocol,” amended by the Protocol signed at Lake Success, New York on 12 Nov. 1947. Albert Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein was the Austrian plenipotentiary.

76 “Polizeikongreß in Wien,” 123.

77 Neues Montagblatt (Wiener Neueste Nachrichten), 30 May 1921, p. 4.

78 On other routes of traffickers and their Habsburg victims, see for example, Fuhrmann, Malte, “‘Western Perversions’ at the Threshold of Felicity: The European Prostitutes of Galata-Pera (1870–1915),” History and Anthropology 21, no. 2 (June 2010): 159–72.

79 See “Zum Ausmaß des Frauenhandels in Österreich,” in Jürgen Nautz, “Frauenhandel in Österreich 1918–1938: Projektbericht,” 7–9, See also Neues Wiener Abendblatt, 2 Sept. 1923, p. 27; and Neues Wiener Journal, 26 Nov. 1921, p. 6.

80 “Die Erscheinungstage der Neuefilmneuheiten,” Neue Kino-Rundschau 132 (13 Sept. 1919): 74.

81 Considered by some contemporaries to be a “sex film,” Hyäne der Lust, was meant to run in Graz, but police had it pulled after jeering protesters interrupted its showing, “Jagd nach dem Kino,” Neue Kino-Rundschau 156 (28 Feb. 1920): 7. It was also withdrawn from cinemas elsewhere in the former monarchy for offending the moral and religious feelings of local audiences; “Sehr geehrte Versammlung,” Neue Kino-Rundschau 45 (13 Dec. 1919): 8.

82 Reichspost, 3 Apr. 1920, p. 3.

83 Neues Wiener Journal, 22 Feb. 1934, p. 10.

84 Moch, Leslie Page, Moving Europeans: Migration in Western Europe since 1650, 2nd ed. (Bloomington, 2003), 161–65.

85 The 22 Feb. 1934 exposé on trafficking in Europe in Neues Wiener Journal, p. 10, confirmed that trafficking cases remained limited in Austria. At the world congress on trafficking the next April, Austrian legislation of defense of children was designated “exemplary.” Neues Wiener Journal, 5 Apr. 1934, p. 9.

“The Sad Secrets of the Big City”: Prostitution and Other Moral Panics in Early Post-Imperial Vienna

  • Nancy M. Wingfield


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