Persecuted. Engaged. Married. Marriages of Convenience in Exile

Exhibition at Jüdisches Museum Wien
Exhibition architecture

Photo: Ouriel Morgensztern
Photo: Ouriel Morgensztern

The exhibition uses different spatial levels to narrate the biographies of thirteen women from Vienna as representatives of an unknown number of women persecuted during the Nazi era who resorted to a marriage of convenience as a survival strategy.
Every room in the exhibition is arranged around an empty central area. Along the walls are all of the biographies – of students, political activists, academics, dancers. The stories of the individual women are presented by showing their portrait and escape route on paper banners, and personal objects, documents, and videos on three overlapping, thin aluminum tables. These overlaps symbolize the fragility and interconnectedness of the three life segments – before, during, and after the marriage of convenience. The different names of the women also bear witness to the time of their persecution, exile, and – in the case of those who survived – the time after the marriage of convenience.
The walls themselves display themes of relevance to many of the women – fear of abuse and denunciation, or the money involved – often left unspoken and therefore placed between biographies. They are brought out into the open by means of personal quotations by the women.


Jüdisches Museum Wien

Planning period

May 2018

Gabu Heindl, Hannah Niemand

Morgensztern, wulz, GABU Heindl Architecture

Photo: wulz
Photo: wulz