Welcome to Strauss Saturday.
This time we’re back into time tot he beginings of the Strauss dynasty.
Johann Michael Strauss
It is safe to say that the history of the Strauss dynasty begins with Johann Michael. He was born to the Jewish Wolf and Theresia Strauss in the Hungarian city of Buda in 1720.
Around 1750 he left his hometown and went to Vienna with his master, field marschal Count Franz von Rogendorf.
When von Rogendorf left Vienna, Strauss stayed behind. He settled in the musical district of the city as upholsterer and converted to Catholicism.
Johann Michel married Rosalia Buschin in St-Stephenscathedral in 1762.
During the Second World War, the entry of their marriage in the church’s wedding register was forged. A page-by-page copy of the register that contained it was made in Berlin. The reference to Johann Michael’s wedding was omitted completely. That way it couldn’t be proved that the famous waltz king Johann Strauss was of Jewish origin and the “so German Strauss music” could still be broadcast by all radio stations in the Reich.
The original register returned to Vienna. Both that one and the copy are in the church’s archives.
The couple had four children and lived in Leopoldstadt. Over the years, Johann Michael grew apart from his children. Rosalia died in 1785.
Until shortly before he died, Johann Michael lived in the Versorgungshaus Bäckenhäusel (Währingerstraße 42). The building wasn’t only used as nursing home but also accommodated the doctors who worked in the neighbourhood. The new building on its site is used by the chemistry department of the Vienna university.
Johann Michael died of consumption in February 1800 in the Allgemeines Krankenhaus (Alser Straße 4, Spitalgasse 2-4, Garnisongasse 13, Rotenhausgasse 1, Thavonatgasse 1). This hospital found its origins in a home for war invalids, homeless and poor people that was founded at the end of the 17th century. Emperor Joseph II had it rebuilt tot the Allgemeines Krankenhaus, the first institution for the nursing of the sick. It was also a medical school.
At the end of the 19th century it was decided to build a new hospital close by, now the Allgemeines Krankenhaus (AKH).
The original hospital is known as Altes Allgemeines Krankenhaus (AAKH) and is now part of the university of Vienna.
Johann Michael was buried in the Währinger Allgemeiner Friedhof, one of the so called community cemeteries which was opened in 1783. It was the last resting place for the deceased of the Schotten and Lichtenthal parishes as well of those of the Allgemeines Krankenhaus and the Garnisonspital. After the Zentralfriedhof was opened in 1874, the Währinger Allgemeiner Friedhof wasn’t used anymore and today, the Währinger Park is situated on its former site. 58 historic graves have been kept in an enclosed part of the park.