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Friedrich Katz

Essays zu Leben und Wirken eines transnationalen Historikers - Essays on the Life and Work of a Transnational Historian


Edited By Martina Kaller, David Mayer and Berthold Molden

Die in diesem Band versammelten Essays sind dem Historiker und Lateinamerikanisten Friedrich Katz (1927-2010) gewidmet. Sie fußen auf einem Symposium, das im Herbst 2011 zu seinen Ehren in Wien abgehalten wurde, und vereinen unterschiedliche Perspektiven auf sein Leben und Werk. Friedrich Katz war einer der großen Sozialhistoriker zur lateinamerikanischen Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts. Seine Arbeiten zur Mexikanischen Revolution zählen zu den grundlegenden Werken über dieses Thema. Er verstand es, in quellenkritischer Tiefe die Besonderheiten Mexikos in die Weltgeschichte einzuschreiben. Andererseits verschlug eben diese Weltgeschichte ihn selbst als Kind von Wien über Berlin, Paris und New York nach Mexiko, nach 1945 wieder nach Wien und Ostberlin und schließlich nach Chicago.
The essays collected in this volume are dedicated to the historian and Latin Americanist Friedrich Katz (1927-2010). They are based on a symposium held in his honour in Vienna in the autumn of 2011 and bring together varying perspectives of his life and work. As one of the great social historians of our time, Friedrich Katz had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the sources relevant to Latin America’s twentieth century history. His studies of the Mexican Revolution rank foremost among contributions to the field. More than anyone before he succeeded in relating the specifics of Mexico’s history to the broader processes of global history. That same global history impacted repeatedly on Katz’ own life: he was forced to leave Vienna as a child and moved with his family to Mexico, via Berlin, Paris and New York; he returned to Vienna after 1945 only to leave again for East Berlin before finally settling in Chicago.


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Friedrich Katz – Memories of the Mexican Exile Christian Kloyber


The following thoughts about Friedrich Katz draw on deeply personal sources – Katz’ own memories, those of his parents (especially his mother, Bronia) and those of his companions during his exile in Mexico. My access to these memo- ries is owed to a friendship cultivated from afar and over many years and to a shared outlook on history, a rapport that flourished both in Mexico and during our occasional meetings in Viennese cafés. Throughout this exchange, the main issue was always Mexico, a social, political, cultural and historical cauldron that was both familiar and distant, but above all always in the very forefront of both our minds. Our main talking points were the Mexican Revolution and exile as a source of cultural identity, thus entwining each other’s life story with our com- mon interests in our discussion of concrete examples. “You will see, Mexico will never let you go”, was the unerring prognosis given to me by Bronia Katz in 1977, shortly before my first visit. This convic- tion of hers was also what set me up for my documentation of Austrian (and German-speaking European) exiles in Mexico between 1938 and 1945.1 So the decisive impulse for this study came directly from Bronia Katz, the long-time associate of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (Dokumentations- archiv des österreichischen Widerstandes, DÖW), whose own life mirrored the general history of expulsion, exile in Mexico and return to Austria. To see and preserve these fragments of political resistance, personal fate and courage...

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