“This is how they cook in Vienna!”: More than mouth-stealing

The list was also “Aryan” by the Nazis. “Rothschild omelette” and “Jaffa cake” were dropped in 1938 in the new edition of the popular cookbook “So Chefs in Vienna!”. What has also been changed: the author’s name, because Alice Auerbach is Jewish. After the “annexation” of Austria to the German Reich, she was forced to renounce all rights. Instead, an author named Rudolf Roach is claimed to be the intellectual originator of the largely identical work. After the war, Alice Auerbach tried in vain to take back the copyright from the German-Swiss publishing house Ernst Reinhardt.

Granddaughter Karina Auerbach researched the history of the cookbook

That didn’t change until well after her death in 1983. After historian Karina Auerbach, Alice’s granddaughter, researched the story and published it in “Das Buch Alice” (Ullstein) in 2020, Ernst-Reinhardt Verlag apologized and printed “a symbol, not a symbol” for sale a remake of 100 copies”, as Karina Auerbach explains in the TV documentary “The Book of Alice.” The original author’s name finally returned to the title of the book and the rights were transferred to Karina and a second granddaughter living in the USA.

Andrea Oster’s ZDF/Arte film offers “a kind of happy ending,” says Karina Auerbach, and thus goes beyond the well-known content of the hit nonfiction book, which has been translated into five languages. Here, granddaughter, author, and historian is a mix of TV presenter, scientist, and personally caring relatives, whose followers viewers love to follow. Understandably, she doesn’t shy away from paying tribute to the undoubtedly impressive grandmother, who founded a cooking school as a single mother in the 1920s and was still a guest on American cooking shows at age 95. The play, which claims the camera was involved from the start of the research, seems questionable. To some extent in light of the book that was published two years ago.

Apart from that, Andrea Oster tells a special family story, which also draws attention to an aspect of the Nazi dictatorship that has not been adequately researched. Their terror consisted not only of stealing materials but also the intellectual property of their victims. In the film, Karina Auerbach talks to Berlin medical historian Peter Voswinkel, who has researched another case: writer and physician Josef Lobel wrote “The Knorr Dictionary of Health” in 1930. Ten years later, the encyclopedia appeared under a different name, although “identical” by 98 percent” (Foswinkel). Moreover, the “handbook” became a “manual”. Josef Lobel committed suicide in Prague in May 1942.

Alice Auerbach published her “many trips into the absurd,” says Karina’s granddaughter, starting in Old Vienna, which can be seen here in some of the film’s footage. Alice Auerbach, née Meyer, grew up in the posh suburb of Dobling, in the family of a textile businessman. While her sister Helen is allowed to study, a marriage befitting her status is planned for Alice. She has two sons by Maximilian Auerbach, but due to the early death of her husband, she had to build her post-war presence. Alice Auerbach, who would like to play in the association “World-famous Austrian Textiles” (Karina Auerbach), founded a cooking school, held lectures and “cooking shows” and in 1935 was a bestseller “How to cook in Vienna!”.

She survived the Holocaust because she found work as a cook for an eccentric lady at Grantham Castle in England and could leave Vienna in time. During the war, she ran a children’s home that housed 24 Jewish girls from Austria and Germany. In 1946 she immigrated to the United States. Three years later, she visited her hometown of Vienna again – and saw her cookbook in a library there. Author: Rudolf Roach, whose identity remains unclear to this day. In the years that followed, Alice Auerbach wrote 18 letters to the Swiss publisher Hermann Jungk. First, the publisher announced that there were no more documents from that time. After the book was published, Karina Auerbach received the letters after all. “The publisher suddenly finds his archive,” comments sarcastically.

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