The Setting of the Pearl: Vienna Under Hitler

In This Review

The Setting of the Pearl: Vienna Under Hitler

By Thomas Weyr
Oxford University Press, 2005
384 pp. $30.00
Purchase

Weyr is a half-Jew who was born in Vienna but had to flee his native city after the Anschluss. His book mixes memoir with a history of Vienna, not only under Hitler but also in the years before and after. The Viennese are to this day reluctant to speak about the events of those depressing years: the vacillations of the archbishop, the persecution of the Jews, the initial enthusiasm for Hitler, the weakness of the Austrian resistance. All of this is well known, but Weyr's retelling is incisive. It is the chapters that deal directly with Vienna under German rule that are most interesting. But in his last section -- which covers 1945 to the present -- Weyr states that "the city has learned to merchandise its past with a blatant hucksterism that Madison Avenue might envy."