קונגרס העולמי ה-18 למדעי היהדות

Marianne Beth (1890–1984): Austria`s First Female Lawyer, Zionist, Feminist, and Cultural Scientist

Originating from a Jewish upper middle-class family of the Viennese Fin de Siècle, her father working with Theodor Herzl, Marianne Beth took a pioneering role in Austrian jurisprudence as the first female lawyer and court interpreter, as the first woman with two doctorates and a pioneer of the bourgeois-liberal women`s movement focusing on the legal preconditions of female professional activities. In addition to her then highly regarded publications in the fields of Matrimonial and Family law, the Society for the Psychology of Religion in Vienna, founded together with her husband in 1926, then determined a further area of research interests and publications. Awarded the prize of the renowned Kant Society, she also worked as a journalist on economic and socio-political topics for various renowned daily newspapers such as the Neue Freie Presse.

Based on her extensive life`s work her intellectual history grounding in contemporary philosophy (e.g. the Vienna Circle) is to be analyzed, her lifetime struggle for women`s self-empowerment by means of professional activity will be outlined as well as her founding and participation in women`s organizations in Austria and on an international level. Marianne Beth represents the paradigm of a Jewish "New Woman" (H.P. Freidenreich) of the early 20th century, against the background of growing structural anti-Semitism in Vienna in the interwar period. Her flight from the Nazis to the United States in 1939 marked the irrevocable end of an outstanding intellectual career.

The intellectual versatility of this outstanding character in the interweaving of various disciplines to form visionary ideas has had a multi-faceted impact on subsequent research, and will be uncovered in its complexity, especially with regard to the struggle for women`s social participation amid an eventful life.