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WILHELM JERUSALEM, HELEN KELLER & THE DEAF BLIND INSTITUTE IN VIENNA

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Published on Feb 1, 2011

From 1890 till 1923 in Vienna real revolutionary research work for the education of the deaf and deaf blind was done by the Austrian Philosopher Wilhelm Jerusalem. And Jerusalem was in a permanent correspondence with the deaf blind writer and fighter for the human rights Helen Keller. Their correspondence will in the centre of a new documentary theatre. In 1913 Jerusalem was the co-founder of the first deaf blind institute in Vienna. And Helen Keller helped Jerusalem by establishing the institute with a letter. This letter is part of this video-clip in a production of ARBOS-Company for Music & Theatre(written by Herbert Gantschacher an edited by Erich Heyduck performed by Sabine Zeller in Austrian Sign Language and Markus Rupert).
Wilhelm Jerusalem is today unfortunately nearly forgotten. He was born in 1854 at Dřenice u Chrudimi as a son of Jewish parents. He never changed his religious identity by being baptized (which was essential in the Habsburg-Empire for any career, e.g. the career of the conductor and composer Gustav Mahler! The Anti-Semitism of the Habsburg-Empire climaxed a few days after the end of World War I. The Pius-Society -- today well-known by the denial of the Holocaust of the bishop Williamson -- knew already on the 25th of November 1918 the blame for the First World War, "that Jews and war as a virtually identical winner may designate. How could it happen that almost a handful of people, most of the Jewish families, in ourselves and in the old German Reich forces and authorities and to overthrow the political power managed to conquer. The people had hoped from all those national foreign elements to be finally freed. The people had hoped that with all the elements and circuits, which in the majority came from Judaism, once a total destruction held." The Pius-Society was one of the forerunners of Hitler! The Nazis were thus in the establishment of their terrorist government and industrialized mass destruction to an already existing claim decades of Catholic Pius-Society help). Jerusalem studied classical philosophy at the University of Prague and did a doctorate about the theme "The Inscription of Sestos and Polybios". Till 1887 he was a teacher at grammar schools in Prague and Nikolsburg. In 1888 he became a member of the staff of teachers at the grammar school "k.k. Staatsgymnasium im VIII.Bezirk" in Vienna. 1891 he became an outside lecturer at the University of Vienna. One of his interests was education and he demanded a change of the educational system in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (which never happened in the Habsburg-Empire). Another field of his interest was the education of minorities. He wrote a monograph about the education of deaf blind. In 1890 he published the first psychological study about the deaf blind woman Laura Bridgman: In 1892 he read the first poems of Helen Keller. Jerusalem quickly saw the poetic talent of Helen Keller. From now on he was in correspondence with Helen Keller, who became a real famous writer and fighter for human rights. From the scientific work about the deaf blind he developed the Austrian direction of the philosophical method of "Pragmatism". In 1907 he translated "Pragmatism" of William James in German language. After World War I he became a Professor associate at the University of Vienna for philosophy and educational theory (because in the Austrian Republic an Austrian citizen with Jewish origin must not be baptized to make a career in any fields). In 1919 he became one of the teachers of the "Schönbrunner Kreis". The Vice Mayor of Vienna Max Winter got some rooms in the Viennese castle of Schönbrunn for the education of young women and men, who became later themselves teacher. So Wilhelm Jerusalem got the possibility to realize practical educational reforms together with Alfred Adler, Max Adler, Marianne Pollak, Josef Luitpold Stern and Otto Felix Kanitz In 1923 he became a Professor of the University of Vienna. In the same year he died from a heart attack. Among his students were the writer Stephan Hock (who worked together later with the theatre director Max Reinhardt), Karl Renner (who became the first chancellor of the first Austrian Republic and the first president of the second Austrian Republic), Viktor Ullmann (the famous Austrian-Jewish composer, who was murdered in 1944 at the concentration-camp of Auschwitz) or the poet Anton Wildgans.

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