News & Events

SYMPOSIUM: Post World War I Relief Aid in Austria & Central Europe

13 September 2021

This year, 2019, marks a hundred years since World War I left Austria and other Central European countries devastated. Austria in particular suffered from the lack of food and fuel leading to widespread child malnutrition. 78% of all Austrian children under 15, and 92% of those in Vienna, were affected.

The American Relief Administration provided on average 300,000 hot meals a day to school children over a period of several years. Over 200,000 children were sent to Switzerland, the Netherlands and Scandinavia to escape the famine in Austria.

Yet these, as well as a multitude of other international aid efforts from this period, have almost completely disappeared from the collective Austrian consciousness, despite the fact that there are an estimated one million descendants of children who benefited from this relief program. Historians and scholars from Stanford and Oxford, as well as from Austria and other Central European countries, will highlight these extraordinary multinational efforts over one and a half days.

September 26, 2019: 10:00am – 6:00pm
September 27, 2019: Morning

Austrian Academy of Sciences
Great Hall
Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2
1010 Vienna

Jointly organized by:

The American Austrian Foundation (AAF)
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation

with additional funding from the Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies


Keynote Speaker

Leon Botstein
President, Bard College and Chairman Central European University
The Relevance of the Great Humanitarian Actions Post World War I Seen through a Contemporary Lens

Guest of Honor

Eric Wakin
Deputy Director, Hoover Institution, Stanford University


Presenters in alphabetic order:

Franz Adlgasser
Austrian Academy of Sciences
The American Relief Administration and Austria – Aspects of its Work

Nikolay Bogomazov
St. Petersburg State University
“Food Barrier Against Bolshevism”: American Relief Administration Supplies to Russian Anti-Bolsheviks and Baltic States in 1919

Mary Cox
University of Oxford
Hunger in War and Peace 1914-1924

Tibor Glant
University of Debrecen
At the Crossroads of Politics and Relief: The American Red Cross in Hungary, 1919-1922

Dieter Hecht
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Jewish Relief Organisations for Jewish Children in Vienna after World War I

Barbora Jakobyová
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Post World War I Relief in Czechoslovakia: The Case of Czechoslovak Child Care

Friederike Kind-Kovács
Central European University
Not just for a Summer: The Moral Dilemma of International Children’s Trains

George H. Nash
South Hadley, Massachusetts
Master of Emergencies: Herbert Hoover and Humanitarian Relief of Austria after World War I

Jenny Öhman
Uddevalla, Sweden
Austrian Children sent to Sweden

Bertrand M. Patenaude
Stanford University
Deliverance: America’s Role in the Emergence of the New Central Europe

Ursula Prokop
Margaret Stonborough-Wittgenstein and American Food Aid to Vienna

Renate Schreiber
Swedish Aid after the First World War in Vienna

Ulrich Schwarz-Gräber
Institute of Rural History, St. Pölten
Starving Countryside. The Work of the American Relief Administration in Vienna’s Hinterlands


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