Surviving Times of Crises 1914–1950: Focus Migration


Forschungsnetzwerk Interdisziplinäre Regionalstudien (first)


April 2016 – March 2018

Principal Investigators

Ernst Langthaler and Ulrich Schwarz


Jessica Richter



During economic crises, especially poor, unemployed, or socially disadvantaged populations are challenged to leave their domicile and to develop survival strategies until today. In Lower Austria and Vienna, this was particularly true during the interwar years.

This period was characterized by repeated crises and high unemployment on the one hand. On the other hand, selective social security systems and the labour-market administration were introduced and established. Authorities were moreover invested in regulating and controlling in-migration and emigration and in fighting rural flight. These efforts were contrasted by farmhands’, day laborers’, and domestic workers’ frequent changes of positions. To find their livelihoods they combined – simultaneously or consecutively – different livelihoods, crossing interior and national boundaries, and migrating between urban and rural spaces.

The sub-project of the Institute of Rural History investigated agricultural or domestic laborers’ and servants’ mobility in Lower Austria and Vienna. It examined their livelihood strategies and possibilities in the context of new laws and official measures. In this context, a comprehensive and heterogeneous source base such as testimonies, official documents, and contemporary political and scholarly publications was collected.