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History - AVA

  1. Modest beginnings
  2. A place of research and additions to the holdings
  3. The fire at the Palace of Justice in 1927: a true disaster
  4. Compensating additions
  5. A new location
  6. Part of the Vienna Reichsarchiv
  7. Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv
  8. “Historical archives” since 1983
  9. Bibliography

Modest beginnings

The records of the central services for the interior administration of the Habsburg monarchy (which was first a task of the Austrian division of the Reichshofkanzlei, then of the Österreichische Hofkanzlei, Böhmische Hofkanzlei as from 1620) were for the first time brought together in 1749 when the “Directorium in publicis et cameralibus” (named “Vereinigte Böhmisch-Österreichische Hofkanzlei” as from 1762) was created. Essentially, these archives, the Direktorialarchiv and Hofkanzleiarchiv, took over the official records up until the cutoff year 1748.

Querschnitt durch das Hofkanzleigebäude, Wipplingerstrasse-Judenplatz

The “archive” was an annex of the “Alte Registratur“ (registry of old files) in charge of official records for the years 1748 to 1792 and went largely unheeded. In the first half of the 19th century, the “Alte Registratur” and the “Archiv” started to merge; moreover, the holdings were reduced considerably by rigorous weeding of files and transfers to the Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv or the National Library.

When the Hofkanzlei was dissolved and turned into several specialised ministries in 1848, the registry lost various bodies of records to the new authorities. The “Hofkanzleiarchiv” was turned into the “Allgemeines Archiv des Ministeriums des Innern“ (general archive of the Ministry of the Interior).

Ahnenreihe Josef Franz Anton Graf von Auersperg 1753

A place of research and additions to the holdings

Renowned historians such as August Fournier (1878–1883), Thomas Fellner (1883–1904) or Heinrich Kretschmayr (1904–1925) who served as directors ensured a prominent position to the archive within Austrian historiography around the turn of the 20th century. For example, Fellner and Kretschmayr started the daunting publication project “Österreichische Zentralverwaltung” (the Austrian Central Administration, as from 1907) which was continued by their successors.

In the second half of the 19th century, valuable holdings were added as more recent records came in from the Hofkanzleiregistratur (1828–1848) and the police files of the “Archiv der Polizeihofstelle” (1782–1848).

The directorate and the majority of holdings were housed in cellars of the former Böhmisch-Österreichische Hofkanzlei (Ministry of the Interior) in Judenplatz square in the first district of Vienna (the building is now home to the Constitutional and Administrative Courts).

Staatsarchiv des Innern und der Justiz

After the end of the monarchy in 1918, efforts at centralising the Austrian archive system started to bear fruit. They started out from and were mainly driven by the archives of the Ministry of the Interior headed by Heinrich Kretschmayr.

The “Justizarchiv” at the Ministry of Justice (comprising the records of the legislative commissions from the era of Maria-Theresa as well as of the preparatory work for the Civil Code, and of the Oberste Justizstelle/Supreme Judicial Authority 1749–1848) was founded as late as in 1896; when it was integrated into the archive of the Ministry of the Interior, the latter’s name was change to “Staatsarchiv des Innern und der Justiz“ (State Archive of Home Affairs and Justice) in 1921.

The fire at the Palace of Justice in 1927: a true disaster

Bergung von Akten nach dem Justizpalastbrand

Paradoxically, the solution to all problems caused by lack of space also became the undoing of the State Archive of Home Affairs and Justice. The holdings were brought together and stored in the Palace of Justice building on Schmerlingplatz square. 75% of holdings were distroyed in the fire that raged there on 15 July 1927, a considerable part was salvaged but seriously damaged (“fire files”). The core holdings of the “Hofkanzlei” alone were reduced from around 18,000 archival units to 2,200 boxes.

Compensating additions

The dramatic losses were somewhat compensated by the holdings added from the Ministry of Land Cultivation and the Ministry for Public Works. In 1934 the party archive of the prohibited Socialdemocratic Party was transferred to the Staatsarchiv.
However, the highlight among newly added holdings was the “Adelsarchiv” (archives of noble families) which had been independent until 1933, with its nobilitation diplomas, conferrals of coats of arms and other acts of grace of the sovereign since the 16th century.

A new location

It was as late as in 1938 that the Staatsarchiv des Innern und der Justiz – which for the longest time had been housed in the same building as the Kriegsarchiv, the “Stiftkaserne” barracks in Vienna – was given a fixed domicile again, the Pálffy Palance at Wallnerstrasse 6-6a in the first district of Vienna where a bank had been located for quite some time.

In September 1944 the building was hit by a bomb which caused major damage to the structure and the archival records (especially the holdings of the Ministry of Trade) which had not been relocated yet.

Part of the Vienna Reichsarchiv

In 1938, the year of the “Anschluss”, the registries of the dissolved supreme bodies and central services of the Republic of Austria as well as more party archives (Christlichsoziale Partei, Großdeutsche Volkspartei, Landbund) were incorporated into the Staatsarchiv des Innern und der Justiz; in 1940 the latter was integrated in the Reichsarchiv Wien.

Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv

Lokomotive „Vindobona“ um 1850

In 1945, the Staatsarchiv des Innern und der Justiz was merged with the “Unterrichtsarchiv” (founded in 1896), which also included the library of the Ministry of Education, and renamed “Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv”. It became part of the Austrian State Archives, which replaced the Reichsarchiv Wien.

“Historical archives” since 1983

After 1945 the Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv continued to take on the records of all federal central services which had archival quality (with the exception of the records of the Ministries for Foreign Affairs and Defence).

In 1983, this task was transferred to the newly founded “Archiv der Republik”, and the more recent records of the official registries after 1918 were also transferred to the new archive. For the education- and justice-related holdings 1940 and 1945 respectively continued to be the cutoff years. The Verkehrsarchiv (founded under the name “Eisenbahnarchiv” / railways archive in 1897) was dissolved and its holdings were divided up between the Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv and the Archiv der Republik.

In the years 1988–1989 the Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv relocated from the city centre (first district) to the newly erected central archives building in the third district.

Bibliography

  • Inventar des Allgemeinen Archivs des Ministeriums des Innern. Wien 1909 (Inventare österreichischer staatlicher Archive 1)
  • Mechtler, Paul: Inventar des Verkehrsarchivs. Wien 1959 (Inventare österreichischer Archive 9)
  • Benard, Anne-Gaëlle: Guide des Archives Nationales Autrichiennes à l’usage du lecteur francophone. Wien 1995 (Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Staatsarchivs, Inventare 1), S. 116-132
  • Göbl, Michael: Das „neue“ Allgemeine Verwaltungsarchiv. In: Scrinium 43/1990, S. 140-151.
  • Göbl, Michael: Vom Judenplatz zur Wallnerstraße. Über die Anfänge des Allgemeinen Verwaltungsarchivs. In: Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Staatsarchivs 43 (1993), S. 21-42
  • Göbl, Michael: Zur Geschichte des Allgemeinen Verwaltungsarchivs. In: Schatzhäuser Österreichs. Das Österreichische Staatsarchiv. Wien 1996, S. 30-41
  • Goldinger, Walter: Das ehemalige Adelsarchiv. In: Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Staatsarchivs 13 (1960), S. 486-502
  • Goldinger, Walter: The Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv. In: Austrian History Yearbook 6/7 (1970-71), S. 17-21
  • Schwanke, Robert: Menschliche Aspekte der Archivkatastrophe vom Jahre 1927. In: Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Staatsarchivs 28 (1975), S. 423-434
  • Seidl, Jakob: Das Staatsarchiv des Innern und der Justiz in Wien. In: Archivalische Zeitschrift 36 (1926), S. 86-96
  • Seidl, Jakob, Das Brandunglück im Staatsarchiv des Innern und der Justiz zu Wien. In: Archivalische Zeitschrift 37 (1928), S. 184-191
  • Seidl, Jakob: Die Ordnungsarbeiten im österreichischen Staatsarchiv des Innern und der Justiz. In: Archivalische Zeitschrift 39 (1930), S. 168-175