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  • Forgery 1941

    The Wedding of Johann Michael Strauss in 1762

    Cathedral Parish of St Stephen’s, Marriage Register Volume 60, fol. 210v:

    Testim(onium) baptismi ostendit et iterum recepit. Sponsus in tribus denunciat(ionibus) dispensatus ab a(dmodum) r(everendissimo) P(atre) Kampmiller; Sponsa authoritate ordinaria; deposito utriumque libertatis juramento, cop(ulati) sunt 11. Febr.
    Der ehrbare Johann Michael Strauß, Bedienter bey titl. Excell. H(errn) Feldmarschall Grafen von Roggendorff, ein getauffter Jud, ledig, zu Ofen gebürtig, des Wolf Strauß und Theresá ux(oris), beyden jüdisch (durchgestrichen: gestorbenen) abgelebten, ehe(liche)r Sohn;
    Mit der ehr- und tugendsamen Rosalia Buschinin, zu Gföll in U(nter-) ö(sterreich) gebürtig, des Johann Georg Buschini, eines gewesten Jägers, und Evae Rosinae ux(oris) ehelichen Tochter.
    Testes: Adam Martin Mohr, ein Cattonformstecher im groß(en) Eisenhutischen Haus beym Arsenal, und Leonard Griffeneder, Bedienter bey titl. H(errn) Grafen Reinhardt von Starhemberg.


    Latin text:  He showed the baptismal certificate and then took it again himself.  The bridegroom was dipsensed from the threefold publication of the banns by the very reverend Father Kampmiller, the bride with the permission of the ordinariate [i.e. the archbishop].  After both had sworn that they were still single, they were married on 11 February.

    German text:  The worthy Johann Michael Strauss, in service with His Excellency Field Marshal Count von Roggendorf, a baptised Jew, single, born in Ofen, legitimate son of Wolf Strauss and his spouse Theresia, both Jewish (deleted:  dead) deceased;
    To the worthy and virtuous Rosalia Buschin, born at Gföll in Lower Austria, legitimate daughter of Johann Georg Buschin, formerly a hunter, and Eva Rosina.
    Witnesses:  Adam Martin Mohr, a calico form cutter in the Great Eisenhut House by the Arsenal, and Leonard Griffeneder, in service with Count Reinhardt von Starhemberg.


    The story of the forgery in 1941 of the entry for the marriage of Johann Michael Strauss to Rosalia Buschin 

    (Source:  Hanns Jäger-Sunstenau:  Johann Strauss:  the Waltz King and his Dynasty;  Family History, Documents [available in German only] published by Verlag Jugend und Volk, Vienna, 1965, pp. 86-7)

    Marriage register no. 60 (1761 – 1762) of the Cathedral Parish Office of St Stephen’s was officially removed from there and handed over to the Reichssippenamt (authority dealing with  matters of nationality and race) in Berlin, the capital of the Reich.  There the entire book was recorded page-by-page on microfilm and a copy was produced on thick photographic paper, which was then bound in four volumes.  The first volume was provided with a first page headed ‘description’, and in the bottom left corner an endorsement was attached authenticating the copy and bearing the official seal of the Reichssippenamt.  It reads, ‘The agreement of the photcopy overleaf with the original submitted is hereby certified.’

    The original and the copies were returned to Vienna.  The former was locked away in a safe in the Haus- Hof- und Staatsarchiv (archive of documents relating to official affairs), and the latter were handed over to the cathedral parish of St Stephen’s to be filed in the appropriate place in the series of marriage registers.  The added first page now had the parish seal stamped alongside that of the Reichssippenamt.  Anyone familiar with the subject who took hold of the copy and glanced through it would have immediately realised what was involved.  That is to say:  if he had at some time transcribed the entry for the Strauss marriage, he would now, on looking for it on the reverse of sheet 210, ascertain that there had been a major alteration.    The copy, in which page 210verso  had been fraudulenty numbered in Berlin as 211, did not include the Strauss entry, whose place had been filled by moving up the next entry, relating to Johann Georg Rupprecht, a master cobbler, so that this now followed immediately on the preceding entry, relating to Franz de Dux, an army lieutenant.  If our researcher then looked for the name Strauss on page 361 of the index, he would get another surprise.  The previously existing reference to sheet 210 was no longer there:  its place had been taken by an upper-case dash, which would only make sense to someone in the know, since it came from a mask used in producing the microfilm.  In doing this, the forgers had made use of the circumstance that in the case of the index they did not need to delete the whole name (as they had had to in the case of the marriage entry on sheet 210), but had merely had to delete the number 210, since the name itself could remain thanks to fact that it was followed by a first reference to sheet 51, and the Strauss whose marriage was recorded there was not related to the famous family of musicians.

    Hence the desired aim had been achieved:  the troublesome Strauss entry had been removed from the sight of any curious persons and Strauss music, ‘which is so German’, as the Nazi paper Der Stürmer put it, could continue to be broadcast by all radio stations in the Reich.  In order to achieve this noble end there was, in terms of the opinion of the day, nothing wrong in perpetrating the minor forgery of a document.  And there is incontrovertible evidence of this in the endorsement bearing the official seal that certifies that the copy is identical with the original. Shortly after Austria was liberated, the Cathedral Parish Office reclaimed the orginal volume from the Haus- Hof- und Staatsarchiv, preserving alongside it the copy in order to bear witness to an action typical of those who ran the ‘thousand-year Third Reich’.

    Transaltion: Leigh Bailey