Valentin (Valti) Josef Rosenfeld
|Death:||Died in London, England|
|Occupation:||Attorney, Goethe scholar, Hakoah Swimming Club|
|Managed by:||Randy Schoenberg|
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About Valentin (Valti) Josef Rosenfeld
From: Victor Ross <VRoss90717@aol.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 10:46:57 EST
b. 1886, Vienna; d. 1970 London. I don't know when he became a lawyer; he
was in practice with his more famous father (Viktor R.) before 1910. He
served in the
Austrian Army during WWI, as captain in the artillery, on the Italian Front,
an activity he much preferred to lawyering, which he did only to please his
father. His real interests were music and engineering. He took lessons in
composition with Alban Berg and moved in the high-octane circles of the
Viennese cultural elite. In 1911 he married his cousin and fathered four children,
only one of whom survived him. His post-WWI career as a lawyer was always
precarious; he had become identified with the Austrian left, acting as witness
in Bela Kun's trial and as counsel for the defence in the Reichspalast
affair. Yet his political convictions were not strong; he was much more engaged
in Zionism of which he was a fervent advocate, and an active director of the
Sportklub Hakoah, whose swimming section he led for many years.
His modest political engagement notwithstanding, he was taken into
protective custody ("Schutzhaft") following the 1934 uprising and kept in prison
for a few months without charge or trial. After his release, his practice in
the Wipplingerstrasse pretty well collapsed and he had to let his house in
Hietzing and move into more modest accommodation.
In 1938 he escaped on the last train leaving Vienna before the Nazis
marched in; he saw them from his compartment as they crossed the border. In
London he joined his wife from whom he was separated but who helped him to get
started. To his great relief, he never had to do any more legal work and
devoted himself to helping members of the Hakoah to leave Austria and find refuge
wherever, mainly in South America. When war broke out, he started work for
the Jewish National Fund by day, and as air raid warden by night. In this
way he managed to avoid internment as an enemy alien, the fate of so many of
After the war, he started a small commercial art studio with a fellow
refugee lawyer (from Czechoslovakia) and indulged in his hobby of collecting
rare gramophone records and listening to opera. He became a regular visitor to
Bayreuth, a friend of the Wagner family, and an honorary citizen of Bayreuth.
If you send me your address, I shall try to find a photo to send you.
More information about my father is contained in an excellent catalogue of
Rosenfeld memorabilia compiled by Georg Fritsch, the bookseller in the
Schoenlaterngasse. He also has a copy of the book of the correspondence between ~Eva
Rosenfeld and ~Anna Freud, which contains a good photo of my father.
According to the publication on the Memorial Book of the victims of National Socialism at the University of Vienna in 1938 Valentin Rosenfeld graduated at the Law School at the University of Vienna on February 4th, 1910 . "...he was deprived of his academic degree on July 22nd, 1943 with the racist argument, that he as a Jew was not considered dignified an academic degree of a German university ('eines akademischen Grades einer deutschen Hochschule unwürdig'). It took 12 years since the deprivation - and a very long time since the end of Nazism - until the regranting of the doctorate took finally place on May 15th, 1955."
"When the Nazis annexed Austria, one of the first names on their most-wanted list was Dr Valentin Rosenfeld, president of the Hakoah swimming section. Rosenfeld, along with Zsigo Wertheimer, evaded arrest and, from their base in London, began to arrange for the club's athletes and their families to leave Vienna. "I was only 17," Trude Hirschler, who swam breaststroke, remembers. "Hakoah approached my parents and offered to send us on an illegal ship. No one knew where we were going or if we would arrive." It took a month for them to reach Palestine. Wertheimer helped others to obtain forged documents, stamps and visas; Rosenfeld got Greta Stanton a scholarship at Cambridge: having lived through Kristallnacht and the sending of thousands of Viennese Jews to Dachau, she was on a ship to Britain when war broke out. "Together they saved all the swimmers," Judith Deutsch says. "It was amazing." http://gu.com/p/xegd6/sfb
Valentin (Valti) Josef Rosenfeld's Timeline
March 2, 1886
August 2, 1912