Who was Fritz Grünbaum?

Franz Friedrich (“Fritz”) Grünbaum (1880-1941)

was a well-known cabaret performer, librettist, writer, film actor, and director in interwar Vienna, known for his clever and ironic humor.

His father was an art dealer in the city of Brno, Moravia, in the Habsburg Empire. He was a prominent anti-Nazi in the 1930s.

After the German invasion of Austria on 12 March 1938 (the “Anschluss”), Fritz Grünbaum attempted to flee the country. Like many other Jews, he headed east and tried to find sanctuary in Czechoslovakia, but he was unsuccessful and was turned away at the border.

Fritz Grünbaum then tried to hide and see if another opportunity for escape would present itself, but he was soon apprehended by the Nazi authorities and placed under arrest. He remained imprisoned in Vienna from March until early June, whereupon he was sent to the concentration camp at Dachau.

With the exception of a short spell in Buchenwald near Weimar, Grünbaum remained in Dachau until his death in January 1941.