Short Chronicle of Gramatneusiedl, Marienthal, and Neu-Reisenberg

»Marienthal« (Valley of Mary) is the name of a factory and a workers’ settlement; it is not the name of an administrative unit. The factory and nearly all of its workers’ settlements belonged to the community of Gramatneusiedl. The workers’ Neugebäude boarding-house, parts of the plant for bleaching and textile finishing, and seventeen private houses in the south of the factory’s grounds belong to the settlement Neu-Reisenberg (community of Reisenberg).

about 1100

Establishment of the settlement of Gramatneusiedl, first mentioned in a document as »Gezenniusidelen« (New Settlement of Gezo) and »Hademniusidelen« (New Settlement of Hadmar) in 1120. Until about 1520, in the possession of some noble families (e.g. Laaer, Ebersdorfer, Ladendorfer), of the Viennese patrician family Tirna, and beginning in 1398 also of the Metropolitan Chapter (Viennese cathedral chapter) of Saint Stephan.


Consecration of the Saints Peter and Paul chapel (built in 1399), which was later often rebuilt and eventually enlarged into the church of today. The church of Gramatneusiedl is a branch of the nearby parish of Moosbrunn until the end of 1949.


Exclusive possession of the dominion of Gramatneusiedl by the Metropolitan Chapter of Saint Stephen in Vienna, except period from 1621 to 1668 (Bonacina, since 1642 Hartmann V prince of Liechtenstein).


Devastation of the village by Turkish troops as part of their siege of Vienna.


Culmination of the Reformation in Gramatneusiedl: a large part of the population became Protestants.


Once more devastation of the village by Turkish troops during their second siege of Vienna.


Devastation of the village by revolting Hungarians, the kurutz troops.


Ignaz Osmann (1730–1778) has the wooden Laden-mill pulled down and has a new one built out of stone.


Foundation of the school of Gramatneusiedl.

about 1773

Ignaz Osmann establishes a second mill, the Therese-mill, between 1771 and 1774.


The first Marienthal textile factory: The pensioned police director and imperial and royal councillor Leopold Pausinger (1763–1848) buys the Therese-mill and makes his partner, the Carinthian inventor Franz Xaver Wurm (1786–1860), director of the newly-installed flax-spinning mill, »Marienthal« (name first mentioned in a document of January, 1823). The factory started in 1823 and was shutdown for economic reasons in 1827. In 1823, 19 workers, in 1827, about 120.


The second Marienthal textile factory: The banker and Jewish philanthropist Hermann Todesco (1791–1844) buys the closed factory of Leopold Pausinger and Franz Xaver Wurm and has it pulled down. In its place, he has a new factory building built in 1833: the Imperial and Royally-Privileged Marienthal Cotton-Spinning Mill and Woolens-Manufacturing Factory (later known as »Altgebäude«, or Old Building; pulled down in 2008). In 1835, about 360 workers, in 1843, only 140.


Foundation of the factory’s school in Marienthal (liquidated in 1885).


Resident farmers buy the dominion of Gramatneusiedl at an auction; as a result the farmers of Gramatneusiedl become free long before the peasant emancipation in Austria (1848).


Opening of the nursery »Kinderbewahranstalt« (an early kind of kindergarten) in Marienthal, sponsored by Hermann Todesco and built in 1844 (taken over by the parish of Moosbrunn in 1931, closed in 1970, pulled down in 1992).


The third Marienthal textile factory: Maximilian Todesco (1813–1890) takes over the factory; he buys the Laden-mill in 1846 and has it pulled down. In its place, he has a new factory built: a spinning mill and a carding mill (1847–1850; burned down in 1945) as well as a weaving mill (1855; burned down in 1945). In 1858 about 1,000 workers. He also built a boarding-house for his workers (Neugebäude, or New Building; 1846), while the Altgebäude was transformed into a boarding-house in 1845 (pulled down in 2008): start of the Marienthal workers' settlement.


Opening of the railway line Vienna – Bruck an der Leitha. In addition, establishment of a shed, a repair station for trains, and a steam house in Gramatneusiedl. In 1900 about 75 employees. Emergence of an autonomous and independent proletariat with nearly no relations to that of Marienthal.


Establishment of a sick-room and in 1851 of a health insurance for the workers of the Marienthal textile factory.


Establishment of a post office in Gramatneusiedl.


Eduard von Todesco (1814–1887) and Moritz von Todesco (1816–1873) take over the factory.


Amalgamation of the Marienthal factory with the cotton-spinning mill in Trumau (founded in 1838) into the incorporated company Marienthal and Trumau Incorporated Spinning Mill Company, later called Trumau and Marienthal Incorporated Company of Spinning Mills, Weaving Mills, and Plants for Bleaching, Textile Finishing, Dyeing, and Printing. Majority shareholders are the families Todesco and Miller zu Aichholz. Steady enlargement of the factory: plants for cleaning (1866; burned down in 1945), bleaching and textile finishing (1869; nearly completely pulled down in 1931), dyeing (1881; pulled down in 1930), printing (1882; pulled down in 1930), and washing (1887; pulled down in 1930).


Establishment of the house for the workers’ co-operative society, the Consumers’ Association by the Marienthal textile factory (pulled down in 2008; reconstructed as a Marienthal museum in 2008/09).


Establishment of the old factory hospital with baths and a Turkish bath by the Marienthal textile factory.


Establishment of the director’s house, called Herrenhaus, or Manor-House, by the Marienthal textile factory.


Opening of the Hermann Todesco monument in the Herrengarten park, or Manor-Garden. The park had seat benches, a little lake, a music pavilion with an adjoining bowling-alley (built in 1894, pulled down in 1931), a bathing hut at the File-river, and eventually even a tennis court. Later opened to the workers of the Marienthal textile factory, the park was dissolved in 1930.


Establishment of the »traiteurie« (factory restaurant) with a dance and theatre room (built in 1881; pulled down in 2004) by the Marienthal textile factory.


Establishment of the Marienthal workers’ settlement, now revitalized.


about 1875

Development of the settlement Neu-Reisenberg (community of Reisenberg), which also added to what is called Marienthal. With its shops, tradesmen, and inns, Neu-Reisenberg became the pleasure and shopping center of Marienthal.


Establishment of the new factory hospital with a pharmacy and baths, showers and a Turkish bath as well as an own mortuary by the Marienthal textile factory (boarding-house of the community of Gramatneusiedl since 1931).


Establishment of the workers’ Hinterbrühl boarding-house, a barrack built with brick, by the Marienthal textile factory (pulled down in 1985).


Establishment of the three artisans’ Dr. Löw-Gasse boarding-houses (one more in 1907, called Stahl-House) by the Marienthal textile factory (one building pulled down in 2006).


Foundation of the Agricultural Corporation of Gramatneusiedl, the most successful enterprise of the community since the 1930s until 1962.


»K(aiserlich) k(önigliches) Barackenlager« (imperial and royal hutment), belonging to the communities of Gramatneusiedl, Mitterndorf an der Fischa, and Moosbrunn; one of the doctors was Jakob Moreno Levy (later Jacob Levy Moreno; i.e. Iakov Moreno Levy; 1889–1974), psychiatrist and psychologist, founder of sociometry, psychodrama, and group psychotherapy.


Establishment of a Montessori kindergarten (Montessoriheim; liquidated in 1929, pulled down in 2005).


The Austrian Textile Works Mautner Incorporation of Isidor Mautner (1852–1930) and his son Stephan Mautner (1877–1944) becomes the only share owner of the Trumau and Marienthal Incorporated Company.


Establishment of the Marienthal Workers Club (closed in 1977, pulled down in 1989; today there is the Gramatneusiedl Community Center) and erection of the Home of the Children’s Friends (burned down in 1945).


 Establishment of the employees’ Mautner-Haus boarding-house and of the workers’ barracks settlement, four wooden huts on the area near the Am Feilbach street (later called Stahl's barracks; pulled down 1960 and 2000), by the Marienthal textile factory.


Shutdown of the Marienthal textile factory mainly because of the economic depression. Highest level of employment was in 1929: 1,200 male and female workers and 90 employees.


Between November 1931 and May 1932, field research for the Marienthal study, »Marienthal. The Sociography of an Unemployed Community«, published by S. Hirzel in Leipzig in 1933.


Opening of the Reisenberg-Marienthal railway station as conspicuous sign of development from an industrial village to a commuter village.


Opening by Walter Prade of a vicuna-spinning mill in the former spinning mill of the Marienthal textile factory; 1933 about 35, since 1934 about 40 workers.


Opening by Kurt Sonnenschein (1906–195?) of a weaving mill and a plant for textile finishing in the former Marienthal weaving mill of the Marienthal textile factory; 1934 about 40, 1935 about 70 to 100, and 1938 about 130 workers.


Annexation of the community of Gramatneusiedl into the city of Vienna by the National Socialists in 1938; only the Marienthal settlement Neu-Reisenberg remains at gau Lower Danube until 1945.


»Aryanizing«, that means robbery, of Sonnenschein’s factory. New owner is since April 1939 the German Fritz Ries (1907–1977), later well known as »king of aryanizing«, then beginning in September, 1940 the German Adolf Ahlers (1899–1968). Shutdown because of the war in 1943, except a little plant for sewing (closed at the end of 1944).


Transfer of the Agricultural Corporation of Gramatneusiedl to the area of the former factory of Walter Prade, using the buildings as stores for grain and as a repair station for agricultural machines.


Liquidation of the Trumau and Marienthal Incorporated Company of Spinning Mills, Weaving Mills, and Plants for Bleaching, Textile Finishing, Dyeing, and Printing.


Installation of a supply house for airplane components of the Wiener Neustadt Airplane Works, Incorporation in a building of the Agricultural Corporation of Gramatneusiedl on the former factory area.


In the night before the liberation of Gramatneusiedl by the Red Army, soldiers of the German Wehrmacht (army) burn down nearly all buildings of the former Marienthal textile factory.


Reopening of the Marienthal textile factory of Kurt Sonnenschein, who gets back his factory officially very late, in about 1953.


The Viennese Justinian Karolyi takes over the Sonnenschein factory.


Final shutdown of the Marienthal textile factory.


In the former director’s house, called Herrenhaus (Manor-House), then beginning in 1962 in the former dance and theatre room a little plant for sewing was opened by Justinian Karolyi (first about 50, at least about 25 workers). The owners changed quickly: Manon, Incorporation 1960 to 1961, Felina Bodice Factories, Vienna 1961 to 1969, Chamella Knitting and Ready-made Clothes 1969 to 1973, and Bally, Viennese Shoe Incorporation 1973 to 1975. Shutdown of the last Marienthal textile enterprise on February 16, 1975.


Opening of the Para Chemical Laboratory (today Evonik Para-Chemie, Incorporation) on a part of the grounds of the former Marienthal textile factory, producing acrylic glass. Today it is the most important industrial enterprise of Gramatneusiedl (2010 about 180 workers).


Transforming of the Agricultural Corporation of Gramatneusiedl into the Raiffeisen-Lagerhaus, Gramatneusiedl branch (1991 about 120 workers).


Film shooting of »In the Meantime Midday Comes Round…«, a film by Karin Brandauer (1945–1992), initiated by the Marienthal study; premiere ORF (Austrian television), May 1, 1988.


Revitalization of the Marienthal workers’ settlement in the Hauptstraße.


Unveiling of a commemorative tablet for Marie Jahoda (1907–2001) at the house at Hauptstraße 52.


Conference of the Research Committee on the History of Sociology of the »International Sociological Association« (ISA), May 20–23, with the exhibition »Looking Backward to Marienthal«.


Opening of this website on Marienthal and the Marienthal study, which was developed by Reinhard Müller since 2002.


Shooting of the documentary film »Marienthal. The Sociography of an Unemployed Community. As the Great Depression of the '30s dragged down a village into the abyss … and what future generations can learn from it« by Günter Kaindlstorfer (b. 1963); premiere 3sat, May 13, 2009.


Opening of the Marienthal museum in Gramatneusiedl.

More information you will find in the book »Marienthal. Das Dorf – Die Arbeitslosen – Die Studie« and in the illustrated book »Mythos Marienthal. Blicke auf die Fabrik, die Arbeiterkultur und die Arbeitslosen«.

© Reinhard Müller
Status: October 2011