Project member Dagmar Wernitznig will participate at “Citizenship Across Borders, New forms in a post-national world”  international conference, organized by Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University Syracuse, University Centre in Strasbourg University of Strasbourg and DRES Research Centre of French National Centre for Scientific Research. The event will be held at MISHA Salle de conférences, Strasbourg from 2oth to 21st October 2022.

 

ABSTRACT

Citizenship, Gender, and Post-War Transitions:

Historiographical Case Studies of ‘Alien’ Women

 

This paper attempts to explore the phase of early state building in post-Nazi Austria that was still under Allied occupation, based on women patients’ sheets of the Viennese Allgemeines Krankenhaus [General Hospital] (hereafter AKH) from approximately September 1945 to August 1948. Noticeably, during that era, the medical staff on the AKH psychiatric ward was confronted with waves of ‘alien’ women and girls, pouring into this clinic as traumatized refugees and displaced persons. By embedding these clinical protocols into a wider context of post-conflict migration and refugeedom, this contribution seeks to unpick policies of newly forming statehood that were geared towards the building of a ‘homogenous’ nation. Female refugees or displaced persons, who did not fit into the given profile of a ‘typical’ Austrian citizen, were either conveniently placed into the mental asylum—the only asylum they were granted—to conceal them or, alternatively, transferred beyond borders by means of psychiatric diagnoses. In both cases, clinical charts frequently turned into a meta-text for post-war politics, inducing and engineering a new beginning and a collective identity as Second Republic and hence a guilt-free country after seven years of Anschluss [annexation] that consisted of a purified and monolithic society without ‘un-Austrian elements,’ threatening to distort this impression.