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Stephan Templ

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Stephan Templ is an Austrian writer and journalist who is best known as the co-author of the book Unser Wien (Our Vienna) that details how hundreds of Jewish businesses in Vienna were seized by the Nazis and never given back.


Templ was born in 1960 in Vienna, Austria and is a resident of Prague, Czech Republic. As a journalist, he has been the cultural affairs reporter for the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in Eastern Europe.[1]


He is the co-author of the book Unser Wien (Our Vienna), published in 2001, which for the first time catalogued hundreds of Jewish-owned properties in Vienna that were seized under Hitler's regime and never returned to their owners.[2] According to the New York Times what makes the book notable is not the history, which was broadly known, but rather the details in the second half of the book, compiled by Templ, called The Topography of Robbery which lists businesses, addresses and former and current owners.[3]

Other books he worked on include Prague, 20th Century Architecture edited with Michal Kohout and Vladimír Šlapeta which was published by Springer in 1999.[4]


The book Unser Wien (Our Vienna) revealed long-held secrets about the Nazi era in Austria, and helped launch numerous restitution claims. Templ himself became involved in a restitution case in 2005 which evolved into ten years of legal entanglement.[5]

In October 2015, Templ received a one-year sentence as punishment for having allegedly omitted the name of an estranged aunt in an application on behalf of his mother, Helene, an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor,[6] for the return of property seized from his Jewish relatives in 1938. The BBC News notes that critics have suggested that the jailing may be linked to the author’s criticism of the government's restitution record.[7]

At the end of 2015, Templ's legal team were finally allowed access to documents held by the Austrian state that proved Templ had informed them about the aunt's existence in 2003.[8]


  1. ^ Sheleg, Yair (March 6, 2002). "Vienna's Topography of Robbery". Haaretz.
  2. ^ Tomlinson, Simon (October 5, 2015). "Holocaust historians attack 'obscene' jail term for Jewish author who condemned Austrian government over property stolen by the Nazis". The Daily Mail.
  3. ^ Erlanger, Steven (March 7, 2002). "Vienna Skewered as a Nazi-Era Pillager of Its Jews". New York Times.
  4. ^ Kohout, Michal; Slapeta, Vladimir and Templ, Stephan (1999). "Prague, 20th Century Architecture". Springer.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  5. ^ Smale, Allison (October 8, 2015). "Historian Who Probed Austria's Nazi Past Begins Sentence for Defrauding State". New York Times.
  6. ^ Paterson, Tony (September 7, 2014). "Jewish author Stephan Templ who shamed Austria over its Nazi past accused of fraud over restitution case". The Independent News.
  7. ^ Coleman, Jasmine (October 6, 2015). "Holocaust historians condemn Austria jailing of Jewish writer". BBC News.
  8. ^ Connolly, Kate (13 February 2016). "Jewish author remains in Austrian jail despite discovery of key papers". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2016.

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