Pinsteps. The monument to Robert Stolz
Places to visit in Vienna. Languages: ru, he, en

In 1896, at the age of 16, Robert Stolz graduated from the Vienna Conservatory. Within a year, he became the opera concertmaster at the City Theater in Graz, then the conductor in Marburg, followed by Drava, and in 1902, at the city theater in Salzburg. During World War I, Stolz served in the Austrian Imperial Army as a conductor. After the war, facing a widespread crisis, Stolz decided to venture into a "fail-safe" venture and opened the variety theater "Max und Moritz." Later, he would describe this venture as "the biggest fiasco in my entire career," and, fleeing from creditors, Stolz moved to Berlin in 1924. Two years later, in 1926, he returned to Vienna.

After the National Socialists came to power in 1933, R. Stolz secretly transported several Jews and politically persecuted individuals to Austria in his limousine. In total, he made 21 trips. In 1938, after the Anschluss, Stolz managed to reach Paris via Zurich. Before fleeing Vienna, Stolz's fourth wife, a certain Lilli, leaving him, took all the valuables and documents. Finding himself in Paris penniless, Stolz was arrested by the French police on November 30, 1939, and interned in the "Colombe" camp as a "hostile foreigner." He was aided by a chance encounter with the nineteen-year-old daughter of a French banker, Yvonne Louise Ulrich, who was studying law in Paris. She collected several thousand francs as a bribe for the composer's release.

In 1940, Stolz emigrated to New York, where he spent the entire war. On August 28, 1941, Stolz was stripped of German citizenship, and his property was confiscated. On October 30, 1946, Robert and the French girl who saved his life, now his wife Anzi Stolz, returned to Vienna. They became the first civilians allowed to fly from the US to Austria. They had visas numbered 1 and 2. A ceremonial reception was organized in their honor at Vienna International Airport, attended by the mayor of Vienna, Theodor Körner.

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Evgeny Praisman
Vienna. The Ringstrasse.

A leisurely stroll through the historic part of the city unfolds a tapestry of enchanting landmarks. The city park, adorned with the melodies of Strauss and Schubert, leads to the venerable city gates named after Luger and Mozart. The narrative of "Ah, My Sweet Augustine" echoes through time, while the oldest church in the city stands as a testament to bygone eras. The tales of Theodor Herzl, the anchor clocks, the Jewish quarter, the square where it all began, the longest narrow alley, the Estergazi restaurant, and Andersen's house weave together seamlessly.

Wander down Graben Street, passing by the plague column and fountains, where the stories of homes, people, words, legends, and traditions blend harmoniously. Amidst it all, relish the charm of restaurants, cafes, wines, and coziness that add an extra layer of warmth to this rich tapestry of history and culture.

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Evgeny Praisman (author)
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