Baker Family Collection
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Pedestrians walk by a store with a large "JUDE" and a Star of David painted on the window. The name on the store is Roth. Close-ups of other "JUDE" graffiti, including a marked display window of Dr. Becker´s pharmacy located on Linke Wienzeile 20 in Vienna´s 6th district (Dr. J. Becker died in May 1938 in Vienna.) One of the street signs indicates that the store is near the Naschmarkt. 01:14:16 A woman wipes a store window, perhaps attempting to remove graffiti. A close-up on the store window shows a sign (in soft-focus) which reads "Nicht arisches Geschaeft [Non-Aryan business]." A shot of the Juden Gasse street sign is followed by shots of a clothing shop called "Kleider Fleischer" with metal shutters drawn. 01:14:49 A group of people, presumably Jews, stand in a small crowd. The helmets of Germans are visible in the middle ground and the street sign indicates that this is the Seitenstette Gasse. Another group of people stand and look down the street, which seems to have been blocked off. The offices of the Israelitisches Kultusgemeinde (Jewish Community) were (and are today) in the Seitenstettengasse and their offices were raided and closed by the SS on March 17 (Eichmann was present). See diary entry below -- Ross and Helen Baker were out with their camera on this day. Jewish men in hats stand in the street, talking to each other, followed by another shot of a shuttered shop. 01:15:25 An SA man stands with his hands behind his back in front of a Jewish shop. Helen Baker walks up and looks in the window, then attempts to enter the store. The SA man stops her and the two speak briefly. Two other women watch as she is turned away from the store. See Helen Baker's diary entry below.
March 16 -- 17 diary entries: "Papers full of annexation of Austria -- suicides, new laws, Jews trying to escape over border, arrests, rumors of Nazi putsch in Tschechoslovakei...Jewish stores marked "Jude." See the downstairs couple looking so sad....(17th) Ross and I tour inner city -- See Judengasse with every shop tight shut. Jewish shops on the ring compelled to put up sign -- 'This is not an Aryan store.'"
March 21 diary entry: "Signs in store windows everywhere -- "Nichtarisches Geschaeft" "Der Bewohner dieses Geschaeft ist Jude!" etc. as if it were the greatest disgrace in the world. Poor things!"
April 25 diary entry: "Ross comes home telling of seeing Nazis compelling an old Jew to paint "Jude" on his own store window. Can hardly wait to get away from here."
May 1, 1938 letter: "Before the election the drive against the Jews was bad, but as soon as the vote was in, they really began to put the screws on. On the last Saturday that we were there, a Nazi was stationed in front of every Jewish store to prevent Aryans going in. We ran several experiments knowing that, as Americans, we could go wherever we chose. They stopped us, asked if we were Aryan and then informed us that it was a Jewish store. With one exception, it was sufficient to say that we were "Auslaender [foreigners]," but this man was downright mean and threatened to arrest me if I went in. It was too close to our departure to take any chances, but I certainly was tempted to call his bluff....An Aryan caught buying in a Jewish store was often made to walk the streets wearing a large placard "Ich bin ein deutscher Schwein und kauf' bei Juden ein."....Father saw a store owner being made to paint his own window with a huge JUDE -- that was just before we left. They were all so designated."
This film is featured in the Ephemeral Films Project: National Socialism in Austria. Watch the historic film through an innovative film player showing contemporary images, geographical mapping, and shot-level analysis here: http://efilms.ushmm.org/film_player?movieID=41&movieSig=EF-NS_041_USHMM&movieSpeed=18
Biography / History:
Ross Allen Baker was born on November 13, 1886, in Greencastle, Indiana, to Philip S. and Luemma Allen Baker. His father was a chemistry professor at DePauw University. Ross received a BA in chemistry from DePauw and a PhD in 1914 from the University of Wisconsin. He married Helen Fredericka Porter on December 30, 1914. The couple had five sons: Philip, Porter, Frederick, Stanley, and Raymond. He held various teaching positions throughout the US and in England. He was a national counselor for the Boy Scouts of American and helped write the merit badge booklet. During World War I (1914-1918), Ross served in the Chemical Warfare Service specializing in the use of mustard gas. He later became active in efforts to have nations ban the use of biological and chemical weapons in the League of Nations, and later in the United Nations. He was active in several professional associations. In 1928, he was a US delegate for an International Union of Chemistry meeting at the League of Nations and, in 1938, a US delegate to the International Congress of Chemistry in Rome, Italy. In 1937, Ross held a position as professor of chemistry at the City University of New York. During the 1930s, there had been technological advances in optics and photography in European universities and American scientists sought to emulate this work. Ross received a sabbatical leave to take courses in microchemistry at the University of Vienna. Ross, his wife, and three of their five sons lived in Vienna from early 1937 until May 1938; summers were spent in travel. In May 1938, the family accompanied Ross to Rome and also witnessed public events for the summit meeting of Hitler and Mussolini. They travelled the rest of the summer and then returned to the US. Ross retired from San Diego State. He passed away, age 92, in 1978 in San Diego, Ca.
2006.265.2 The donor's father, Ross Baker, a chemist and professor at the City University of New York, was on a six-month sabbatical studying at the University of Vienna when the Germans entered Austria in March, 1938. Baker's wife, Helen, and three of his five sons were also living in Vienna. In September 2006, the youngest son, Stan, donated two reels of 16mm black and white film shot by his mother and father in Austria and Italy in 1938 to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In addition to the footage, Mr. Baker donated other items from his time in Vienna, including pro-German propaganda leaflets, posters, and newspapers, the 16mm Kodak camera used to shoot the film, and his mother's diaries and letters, which detail her thoughts and perceptions of the events as they occurred.
16mm b/w reversal original
16mm; DPX; 2K ProRes; DigiBeta; Betacam SP; VHS; MP4
01:13:40 - 01:15:54
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Stan Baker