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Obituary: Hans Hautmann (22 August 1943– 3 July 2018)

During his work at the Johannes Kepler University Linz from 1969 until 2005, Hans Hautmann was one of the “pillars” of the ITH organizational team.

Hans Hautmann was born into a Viennese working-class family. In April 1945, during the days of the liberation of Vienna, the Soviet military command appointed Hautmann’s father Rudolf as head of the “Auxiliary Police” (“Polizeilicher Hilfsdienst”) of the City of Vienna, de facto he was the first chief of police of Vienna. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Hautmann’s mother Leopoldine was a volunteer co-worker in the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW). From 1966 to 1968 – while studying history and German philology at the University of Vienna – Hans Hautmann himself worked as a volunteer at the DÖW that had only been founded a few years earlier. He contributed to building up the library.

Hautmann’s dissertation on the beginnings of the radical left-wing movement and the Communist Party of German-Austria 1916-1919, completed in 1968, was published in 1971 under the title “Die verlorene Räterepublik” [“The Lost Council Republic”]. In 1969, Karl R. Stadler, university professor in Linz, appointed Hautmann as assistant to the newly founded Institute of Modern and Contemporary History of the Johannes Kepler University. Besides his teaching position, he also worked at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History of the Labour Movement within the course of the following years. In the first one and a half decades of the ITH, this institute was responsible for the edition of the conference proceedings of the Linz Conferences that also comprised shortened and edited summaries of the oral discussions. Hans Hautmann was likewise involved in this painstaking work as well as in the organisational realization of the conferences themselves.

Despite attacks on Hautmann due to his affiliation with the Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ), his scientific career started at the University of Linz: After several publications, in particular on the history of the Austrian labour movement, he acquired his habilitation and venia docendi in 1982 with a work on the history of the council movement in Austria 1918-1924 (published in 1987 and until today a standard reference). In 1988, he became Assistant Professor and in 1997 he was awarded with the title of Associate Professor. From 1996-1998 and 2000-2005 he was department head of the Institute of Modern and Contemporary History of the University of Linz.

Hans Hautmann was also active outside university. He was member of the Historical Commission at the Central Committee of the KPÖ as well as founding member of the Alfred Klahr Society dedicated to the scientific evaluation of the KPÖ archives. Hans Hautmann was president of the Alfred Klahr Society until 2005. In the same year, he retired at the University of Linz. Numerous contributions on contemporary history were to follow – primarily for the publications of the Alfred Klahr Society, but also for edited volumes of the DÖW.

In accordance with Hautmann’s research focuses, fellow colleagues and companions dedicated him the Festschrift “Geschichtsschreibung als herrschaftskritische Aufgabe: Beiträge zur ArbeiterInnenbewegung, Justizgeschichte und österreichischen Geschichte im 20. Jahrhundert” [“Historiography as Critique of Domination: Contributions on the Labour Movement, Judicial History and Austrian History in the 20th Century”] on the occasion of his 70th birthday. The Festschrift was edited by his wife Claudia Kuretsidis-Haider and Manfred Mugrauer.

Winfried R. Garscha (Wien)

Translated from German by Lukas Neissl