Documents associated with this person:

Writer, private tutor; occasional assistant to Schenker and others.

Career Summary

Aron Mittelmann was born in Brzeżany (Galicia) on December 10, 1856. Nothing is known of his childhood, or the date at which he moved to Vienna, where he spent the remainder of his life until his deportation as a Jew in 1942. He was evidently highly educated, and is spoken of as being a Classics scholar. In Lehmann's Vienna Adressbook his professional description from 1905 to 1931 is "writer" and from 1933 to 1938 "private tutor."

Mittelmann is not listed in Lehmann during the 1890s or early 1900s, which suggests that he may have been living with others. By 1905 he was resident at Vienna III, Obere Weißgerberstraße 14, and then from 1906 to 1910 at Vienna II, Rembrandstraße 28, in 1912 at Vienna VIII, Albertgasse 33, and in 1913‒14 at Vienna XVIII, Währinger Gürtel 113.

From at least as early as 1911 (OJ 12/9, [4]), Ludwig Karpath hired Mittelmann to assist him in his work as music critic for, and later editor of Der Merker . Schenker (OJ 2/1, p. 129) described Mittelmann's position with Karpath as the latter's "factotum" (man of all work). We know that at that time Mittelmann was lodging in a men's home (i.e. a homeless shelter) at Vienna XVII, Wurlitzergasse 89 ‒ which is still today (2013) a shelter for the homeless ‒ and that he lived at that address from 1915 to 1931 (Lehmann). We also know that he was permanently impecunious, impetuous, and given to tactless remarks.

In January 1916 he was arrested for creating a public disturbance and was incarcerated in a military jail for three weeks before the charges were dropped. Karpath (OJ 12/9, [13]), reporting his disappearance, wrote "There is no sign of him [...] at the printing shop, or at Der Merker ," which suggests that he may perhaps have been employed as an in-house proof-reader by a printing firm as well as by the journal. In 1918 an attempt was made by others to procure a position in a bank for him (OJ 2/10, p. 839).

Schenker's diary for February 16, 1932 records that Mittelmann had finally acquired his own apartment. From 1933 to 1938 he was listed as "private teacher" living at Vienna XIX, Budinskygasse 10, staircase 2. After 1938, he vanishes from the Vienna Address Book. His last residence before deportation was Vienna X, Alxingergasse 97 (Terezín records). He was deported on August 27‒28, 1942 (two months after Jeanette Schenker) on transport IV/9, No. 601 (Vienna to Theresienstadt: on which 1,000 people were taken, of whom only 38 were to survive) at the age of 85. In the camp, he lived in building L 504, section 1. Camp records state that he died of marasmus senilis (progressive atrophy of the aged) on November 16, 1942, shortly before his 86th birthday; he would have been suffering from extreme malnutrition and emaciation.

Mittelmann and Schenker

Mittelmann is first mentioned in Schenker's diary on November 3, 1902 (OJ 1/4, p. 9: "By verbatim translation Mittelmann puts me on so many other scents"); again on September 3, 1906 (p. 19), October 22, 1906 (p. 22), and February 4, 1907 (p. 33), on which occasion Schenker dictated Counterpoint I to him. By 1912, he had fallen on hard times, and Schenker tried to help him by employing him in proof-correcting and similar work for, e.g., Die letzten funf Sonaten von Beethoven , by giving him errands to run, and by seeking support for him from his own wealthy contacts. Mittelmann was evidently an educated man, for Schenker's diary for July 24, 1921 notes: "Mrs. Pairamall is learning Greek with him." (OJ 3/2, p. 2368), and that for June 22, 1926 (OJ 3/8, p. 2832) remarks "Mittelmann in the evening: as fresh as ever, shows strong continuous memory, recites Greek and Polish verses! stays until 9:45." In the early 1920s he was involved with the Schenkers in studying and emulating Schnadahüpfeln (Tyrolean folk poetry).

In the latter part of World War I he was involved in the black market (OJ 2/10, p. 837: "Mittelmann turns out to be a black marketeer: we order twine from him."), consequently he supplied Heinrich and Jeanette with unobtainable commodities such as tobacco, cigars, vegetables, tea, coffee, condensed milk, lard, and jams. Schenker continued to use him as an amanuensis at least late into the 1920s. Between 1920 and the early 1930s, the Schenkers frequently invited him to their apartment for the evening and a meal, and one time he played a game of patience (solitaire). A glimpse of such an occasion is given by the diary for March 23, 1925 (OJ 3/7, pp. 2800-2801): Mittelmann in the evening; according to his birth certificate, he is 69 years old! He is healthy and alert, was talkative the entire evening, apparently because we gave him the opportunity to show us his exercises in construction .

Correspondence between Mittelmann and Schenker

A great deal of correspondence is recorded in Schenker's diary. The only survivals are one postcard from Mittelmann to Schenker in OJ 8/1 (1913: misfiled among postcards from Schenker to Moriz Violin) and also two postcards from Mittelmann to Violin as OJ 70/28, [1]‒[2] (1912).

Sources

  • National Archives, Prague, Terezín list
  • Terezín Initiative Institute
  • website:
  • Lehmanns Wiener Adressbuch: http://www.digital.wienbibliothek.at/wbrobv/periodical/pageview/152049
  • http://www.holocaust.cz/en/database-of-victims/victim/55325-aron-mittelmann/

Contributors

  • Martin Eybl and Ian Bent

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Correspondence

Diaries