Category Archives: Uncategorized

Toilet Culture

As late as 1985, the Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard has his misanthropic character Reger,  in the novel Old Masters, declare that “Vienna has no toilet culture. Its toilets are scandalous. Even in the most famous hotels in the city, scandalous … Continue reading

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The Gray-Haired Romantic

From his books and articles, from the praise of others, I could make out what a dedicated professional my great-grandfather Dr. Wettendorfer had been. But how little I knew about his personal life. On July 16, 1906, the 25th jubilee … Continue reading

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A Medical Man of Letters

It was a long journey for a little book. To view the only copy in the U.S. of Alexander Wettendorfer’s Causes and Prevention of Consumption of the Lungs: A Popular Treatment for the Educated of All Classes, I traveled back … Continue reading

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A Spa Doctor in Baden bei Wien

All my mother told me about Alexander Wettendorfer, her maternal grandfather, was that he had been a spa doctor in Baden, the health resort close to Vienna. In her family, he had become persona non grata when, late in life, … Continue reading

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Lost Worlds of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Today, the word “refugee” has gone out of fashion, and yet it is still a handy term distinguishing  immigrants seeking political “refuge,” from those driven to leave their countries for a better life. My parents were “refugees” from Hitler when … Continue reading

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