Operating officially from 1898-1958, Atelier Bachwitz / Bachwitz AG was an international publishing house that produced and distributed fashion and lifestyle magazines designs from the Palais des Beaux Arts building at Löwengasse 47 in the third district of Vienna. Initiated by Arnold Bachwitz, the publishing house was handled primarily by himself, his wife Rosine, and their daughters Alice and Margarethe until the rise of National Socialism. In 1938, after Austria was annexed into the German Third Reich, the administrative board of the company fell under the rule of the Nuremberg Race Laws and underwent Aryanization as part of the effort to “de-Jew the economy”. As a result of this seizure, the board – comprised mostly of the Bachwitz family – was replaced, their publishing rights to several fashion magazines revoked. In the span of only four years, the original inhabitants of the Palais des Beaux Arts Wien had been almost entirely erased.
The Bachwitz’s topical and seasonal journals included The Fashion Designer, Chic Parisien (1898-1939), The Large Mode (1900-1922), The Elegant Woman (1900-1929), The Coming Season (1920-1938), Les Tailleurs Charmants (1939), and Moderne Welt (1918-1939). A number of their publications were printed in multiple languages (German, French, English and Russian) and distributors of their publications were listed in Paris, Vienna, London, Berlin, Brussels, Milan, Lisbon, New York, Prague, Bucharest, Minsk, Madrid, Barcelona, Auckland, Melbourne and Warsaw.
Atelier Bachwitz is founded by Arnold Bachwitz. Its first publication Der Modezeichner comes out this year, followed by Chic Parisien.
Palais des Beaux Arts is built on Löwengasse 47, in the third district of Vienna (Landstraße). Designed by architects Anton and Josef Drexler, the Art Nouveau building is the new home of Atelier Bachwitz / Bachwitz AG. It has printing facilities in the basement, apartments for the Bachwitz family and is meant to embody the spirit of the ‘Beaux Arts’.
Arnold Bachwitz dies on November 12th at the age of 76 of natural causes in Vienna (1854 - 1930). Rosine Bachwitz takes over as the primary caretaker of Atelier Bachwitz / Bachwitz AG.
The administrative board of the company falls under the rule of the Nuremberg Race Laws and undergoes Aryanization. At the time, Atelier Bachwitz has around 320 employees.
As a result of this seizure, the board – comprised mostly of the Bachwitz family – is replaced, their publishing rights to several fashion magazines revoked.
Grete Lebach (b.1885 to Arnold and Rosine Bachwitz) dies on August 17th at the age of 53 in Vienna.
Upon purchasing 20,000 shares, a Nazi authority becomes the owner of Bachwitz AG on November 4th, and converts the company into a publicity and propaganda firm for the regime.
Rosine Bachwitz, primary caretaker of Atelier Bachwitz / Bachwitz AG and wife of Arnold Bachwitz, is murdered in the Theresienstadt concentration camp.
Alice Strel (b.1887 to Arnold and Rosine Bachwitz) is arrested and deported on June 10 to Prague, she is lost in Tallinn, Estonia and dies under unknown circumstances during a death transport from Prague.
Atelier Bachwitz becomes the property of the Republic of Austria, existing almost exclusively on paper.
Atelier Bachwitz is officially dissolved.
The Palais des Beaux Arts building is renovated and put under historic protection.
The Generali Insurance Company purchases the building as one of their real estate holdings.
Restitution documents show that some 20,000 shares of the company’s stock were outstanding, and were eventually returned to descendants of the Bachwitz family and their relations.
A portion of the Atelier’s publications are also returned to the Bachwitzes’ great-grandchildren from the Vienna City Library.
Bernhard Garnicnig invites Seth Weiner to continue the project based on their discussions about how different meanings and intentions behind the term ‘occupation’ collide in the Palais des Beaux Arts.
Among the published output of Atelier Bachwitz, Moderne Welt (1918-1939) was available in wide release and covered a range of topics: art, literature, fashion, music, theater, lifestyle, and travel. Primarily written in German, the magazine paid homage to the creative class of Vienna as well as reflecting global attitudes toward the major cultural transformations that were underway during its nearly two decades of production.
The Austrian National Library (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek) currently possesses the largest number of Moderne Welt fashion and lifestyle publications. Digitized only recently, physical copies are available for viewing from the library's reserve desk.
The great-grandson of Arnold and Rosine Bachwitz, Thomas D. Lonner wrote an essay in the form of a story about his family, their company Atelier Bachwitz / Bachwitz AG, and the Palais des Beaux Arts building in Vienna. Based on all of the evidence that he could piece together from retold fragments, fugitive documents and books, the text represents the most comprehensive portrait of the Bachwitz family to date.