Edmund Groag, tit. ao. Univ.-Prof., Dr. phil.

2.2.1873 – 19.8.1945
born in Prerau, Mähren | Přerov, Czech Republic died in Wien, Austria


Ehrung Titel Datierung Fakultät
Monument for Historians 2022 Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies

Edmund GROAG (born on February 2nd, 1873 in Prerau, Moravia/Austro-Hungarian Empire [Přerov/Czech Republic] as the son of Berthold Groag (train engineer) and his wife Charlotte, née Karpeles, died on August 19th, 1945 in Vienna) was private lecturer with the tile of an extraordinary professor for Roman History ("Roemische Geschichte") at the Philosophical School of the University of Vienna.

In the family of his mother, with whom he had a close relationship until her death in 1928, there are well-known rabbis among his grandfathers and great-grandfathers as well as two specialists in German studies, his uncle Gustav Karpeles (1848–1909), a renowned Heine researcher, and his granduncle Karl Adolph Buchheim (1828–1900), prince's educator in Victorian London. After he had graduated from high school ("k. k. Staatsgymnasium IV") in Vienna's 4th district, Rainergasse 39, in 1892, he began to study history and classical and ancient studies at the Philosophical School of the University of Vienna. He finished his studies in 1895 with the academic degree Dr. phil. (Ph.D.) (dissertation: "Zur Kritik von Tacitus’ Quellen in den Historien").

During his studies he had met Arthur Stein (1871–1950), a fellow student, with whom he cultivated a lifelong friendship and an intensive interchange of scientific ideas. Especially their teacher at the Department of archaeology and epigraphy, Eugen Bormann (1842–1917), supported the two young historians. They wrote their first articles about persons of the Roman Empire for the 1897 published 3rd volume of the ‚Realenzyklopaedie der Klassischen Altertumswissenschaft’ (RE), whereby Groag edited on the Roman senators. From 1896 to 1898 Groag was fellow at the seminar, received a travel grant for Rome in 1898/99 and after that worked as a librarian at the Department of archaeology and epigraphy. After he had converted from Jewish to Roman-Catholic religion on January 7th, 1901, he was engaged at the Imperial Library (today: Austrian National Library) in Vienna, working at first as a unpaid volunteer, from 1903 on as a unpaid and from 1905 on as a paid scientific labourer. In 1906 he became assistant, in 1909 assistant curator and in 1913 Curator of 2nd degree. In 1902 Groag was elected corresponding member of the Austrian Archaeological Institute ("Oesterreichisches Archaeologisches Institut"). Additionally Groag taught history, geography, Latin and Greek in high school courses for women and girls of the "Gesellschaft der Schwarzwald‘schen Schulanstalten" and the "Cottage-Lyzeum" between 1904 und 1913.

During World War I – in 1915 – the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences ("Koeniglich-Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften") in Berlin commissioned Groag and Stein to edit and publish the last volume of the four-volume "Prosopographia Imperii Romani" (= PIR) because of their relevant work for RE. In 1919 Groag was promoted lecturer ("Privatdozent") at the University of Vienna with the Post-doctoral thesis "Studien zur rowmischen Kaisergeschichte". In 1925 he received the title of an extraordinary Professor. Groag married Alberta Schaschek on January 8th, 1928. Besides his mainly unpaid career at the University he primarily worked at the Austrian National Library: He was appointed head of the cataloguing department of the collection of printed matter in 1921 and provisional head of the collection in 1923. In 1924 he received the title "Hofrat". Because of a conflict with the Director-General of the library, Josef Bick (1880–1952), Edmund Groag was removed from his position as head of the Collection of printed matter on July 3rd, 1931, retired temporarily in September 1932 and definitively in 1936. In 1933 he was appointed corresponding member of the German Society of Arts, Sciences and Humanities ("Deutsche Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften und Kuenste") in Prague/Czechoslovakia [Czech Republic] and full member of the German Institute of Archaeology ("Deutsches Archaeologisches Institut").

Edmund Groag – although Catholic – was persecuted in times of Nazism as a Jew lost his position and was thrown out of the university in 1938.

Also the long-lasting work for the PIR – Groag‘s and Stein’s lifework – couldn’t be continued. The academy in Berlin terminated the contracts of the two researchers in January 1939. In contrary to Stein Groag denied to hand over his collection of documents to the academy. His membership in the German Institute of Archaeology was also cancelled. The 3rd volume of the PIR was published in 1943 – the editors Stein and Groag were mentioned in the foreword, but their names were not allowed to appear on the cover of the publication. Because his wife was classified as "Aryan" by the Nazis, she and Edmund Groag could at first stay in their apartment in Vienna's 13th district, Feldmuehlgasse 15, but received orders to vacate from 1940 on. Only after he had asked the Academy of Sciences in Vienna for support several times, its executive board intervened successfully. From March 1942 on, Groag and his wife hosted intellectual meetings each Sunday – among the visitors also jurist and writer Robert Adam POLLAK as well as philosopher Karl RORETZ (1881–1967) and professor of Law Stephan BRASSLOFF (1875–1943), who both were also thrown out of the University of Vienna as Jews in 1938, and geographer and orientalist Hans von MZIK (1876–1961) and folklorist Gertrud HERZOG-HAUSER (1894–1953), who were removed for political reasons. In 1942 Edmund Groag's sister Paula and her husband were deported to the Riga Ghetto [Riga/Latvia]. His uncle Emil Karell as well as his fellow Arthur Stein and his wife were deported to Theresienstadt [Terezín/Czech Republic] in the same year. The Gestapo increased pressure on the Groag’s since the beginning of 1944 and sent orders to vacate the apartment – they could eventually stay in the apartment, even though they were only allowed to use one room as a result of compulsory quarterings beginning in November 1944.

After the liberation of Vienna by the Red Army Edmund Groag became sick and was brought to the Jewish hospital in Vienna 2nd district, Malzgasse 16 with high fever, where he died three days later, on August 19th, 1945. He was buried at a cemetery in Vienna 12th district ("Suedwestfriedhof"), ancient historian Prof. Josef Keil held the funeral speech.

At the request of his widow Alberta Groag, who had moved to Czechoslovakia in 1946, his mortal remains were exhumed and transported to Deutschbrod [Havlíčkův Brod/Tschechische Republik] in an urn in 1950.


Since 2009 he is remembered in the "Memorial Book for the Victims of National Socialism at the University of Vienna in 1938" (online).

Since 2022 his name is listed on the monument "When names shine | Monument to History Students and Teachers Expelled under National Socialism".

Archiv der Universität Wien, Rigorosenakt und -protokoll PHIL 916, Promotionsprotokoll PHIL II (1881–1905), 647, PHIL Personalakt 1796, Akademischer Senat GZ 680 ex 1937/38.
Gedenkbuch für die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus an der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
Freundlicher Hinweis von Dr. Klaus Wachtel, Berlin, 2013, und von Dr.in Monika Rauer, Wien 2019.

Katharina Kniefacz

Zuletzt aktualisiert am 04/02/24

  • Edmund Groag

    Courtesy: Archive of the University of Vienna, picture archive Signatur: 106.I.2726-58