The Kraus—Bekessy Controversy: in Interwar Vienna
After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, Vienna experienced a period of political turmoil and social deprivation. The economic depression deprived thousands of people of a regular income and of hard-earned savings, but it also provided unprecedented opportunities for self-enrichment for a new generation of speculators and entrepreneurs. These ‘sharks’ (Haifische, as Kraus called them) cashed in on the inflationary spiral through shrewd investments in shares, foreign currency and real estate. The most notorious figure was Camillo Castiglioni, a banker of Jewish descent who was born in Trieste. But Castiglioni would never have become such a dominant figure in Austrian public life if he had not been supported by an equally influential figure, the newspaper magnate Emmerich Bekessy.
KeywordsMigration Depression Income Assimilation Expense
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