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Wien, 1. Bezirk, Art of Facades of Vienna, Österreichisches Staatsarchiv, Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv (Minoritenplatz) | by Josef Lex (El buen soldado Švejk)
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Wien, 1. Bezirk, Art of Facades of Vienna, Österreichisches Staatsarchiv, Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv (Minoritenplatz)

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Austrian State Archives (ÖStA)

Austrian authority

Oesterreichisches Staatsarchiv.svg

State level Federation

Position of the authority subordinated agency

Supervisor(s)/organs to the Federal Chancellery

Founded in 1749 as the Secret House Archive (Empress Maria Theresia)

Headquarters Vienna Highway (Landstraße, 3rd district of Vienna)

Board of Directors Univ. Doz Dr. Wolfgang Maderthaner site


Central Archives building of the Austrian State Archives in Nottendorfergasse 2 in Vienna 3

The Austrian State Archives (ÖStA) in Vienna is the central archive of the Republic of Austria. It keeps on the basis of the Federal Records Act the archives of the Federation. The tasks of the Austrian State Archives are therein described as follows: capturing, taking over, keeping, obtaining, placing, organizing, making accessible, exploiting and utilisation of archived documents of the Federation for the exploration of the history and present, for other research and science, for the legislation, jurisdiction, administration as well as for legitimate concerns of people.

As far as in the public records monuments are concerned, the Austrian State Archives according to Monument Protection Act in place of the Federal Monuments Office is also responsible for the preservation.


The origin of the Austrian State Archives goes back to the year 1749 when Empress Maria Theresa in the course of an administrative reform installed a secret Hausarchiv. The establishment was related to the new, centralized administration, which required a separate archive. For other centers of administration such as Prague, Graz and Innsbruck documents were taken to Vienna.

In the historical analysis is important to note that there have been earlier archives and collections of documents, whose contents were incorporated into the new archive.

In the 19th Century the name House, Court and State Archives became then usual.

1951 there was a scandal because Heinz Grill, archivist in the House, Court and State Archives, had stolen gold and silver bulls over the years and sold to metal dealers ("affair Grill").

The archive departments

The modern Austrian State Archives is divided into several sections:

Archives of the Republic

The in 1983 founded archive of the Republic is the youngest archive department. It is the center of contemporary research in Austria and archival responsible for the evaluation, discarding, taking over and custody, safeguarding, maintenance and overhaul, accessing, compilation and exploitation of those written or typed material supply, which in the Austrian central authorities (all ministries, central federal departments and subordinated offices) have been produced since 1918.

Since the introduction of the electronic file (ELAKimBUND) in the Austrian federal administration (nationwide for all federal agencies since 2004), the Archives of the Republic is also responsible for the implementation of the digital archiving of this written material. Since 2007 it has been actively worked on an appropriate solution for long-term preservation of the "born digital" act. The startup of the digital archive Austria took place in 2012.

General Administration Archive

The General Administration Archives preserves the records of the central authorities responsible for internal administration of the Habsburg Monarchy from 16th Century, over 12,700 running meters, a significant collection of maps and plans, and about 5,000 documents. In its origins, the General Administration Archive goes back to the first-time centralisation of the old registries of the court chancelleries in founding the "Directorium in publicis et cameralibus" in 1749. The archive materials of the General Administrative archive were decimated by the Justice Palace fire in July 1927 considerably.

The public records which are kept in this division are divided into 10 thematic groups (= inventory groups), which for their part again contain files of various central services:

Inventory group Internal Affairs: Chancellery, Ministry of Interior, police authorities, Council of Ministers, rights of the Austrian State of Lower Austria, city expansion fund

Inventory group Justice: Supreme Justice office, Ministry of Justice, prosecutors, Linz Regional Court, Imperial Court, Administrative Court

Inventory group Instruction and Cultus: Studienhofkommission (Imperial Commission on Education), Ministry of Education, Old and New Cultus

Inventory group Commerce: Department of Commerce, Post Office, Ministry of Public Works, Navy Department, Patent Office

Inventory group Agriculture: Ministry of Agriculture, Agricultural Operations, Forestry and Dömänendirektion (Domain Directorate) Vienna, Forest Institute Mariabrunn, teacher Audit Commission, Agricultural Society

Inventory group Transport: United Court Chancellery, General Court Chamber, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Public buildings, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade and National Economy, Department of Commerce, the General Inspectorate of the Austrian Railways, Ministry of Railways, Railway Construction Department, State railway administrations, private railway companies

Inventory group Family archives and Estates

Inventory group Nobility: imperial nobility files, Hofadelsakten (Court nobility records), pedigrees

Inventory group Audiovisual Collection: Politics and Public life since 1945, Austrian landscapes and buildings, customs, history, science, technology, medicine, business, art, culture and sport

Inventory group Plan and Posters collection: collection of plans comprised of the following funds: Hofbauamt (Court building authorities), chancellery, General Construction Authority, Lower Austrian Civil Construction Authority, Bausektion (construction section) of the Ministry of the Interior, Bausektion of the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Public Works, State Baudirektionen (construction directorates), Waterway Construction Authority, Dikasterialgebäudeverwaltung (dicasterila building administration), Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Culture and Teaching, Studienhofkommission (Imperial Commission on Education), Stiftungshofbuchhaltung (Foundation Court Bookkeeping), Ministry of Justice, city expansion fund

War Archive

The beginning of a proper Military Archives in the Habsburg monarchy is to fix in the year 1711, when Emperor Joseph I. ordered the creation of an archivist office with the Hofkriegsrat, the highest central authority for the Habsburg warfare. Already in the first half of the 18th Century, this hofkriegsrätliche (Court's warfare council) archives of the chancelleries has gradually evolved into a kind of military central archives, especially since 1776 through the merger of the hofkriegsrätlichen plan collection with the combat engineer the archives of the chancelleries in reference to cartographic material became to a central contact point. In addition, however, the aim was put on experiences in the past, lessons from former campaigns for the present and future. In view of the above, Emperor Joseph II in 1779 ordered the documentary revision of the campaigns since 1740. This access to the history of war intended Archduke Karl to continue, too, by 1801 disposing the creation of the Imperial War archive. This had according to its founding mission to collect documents and maps, but also scientifically and journalistically to evaluate.

The Imperial and Royal (from 1889 kuk) Kriegsarchiv (war archive) initially consisted of a department of scriptures, a card archive, library and a department of military history works. By the end of the 19th Century the war archive had the bulk of the until then elsewhere stored military documentary material taken on. During the First World War, the war archive had with the assumption of mass documentary material from the front considerably more tasks to carry out, for which the number of staff of the archives substantially had to be increased. After the end of war in 1918 the war archive became a civilian institution, to which after the fall of the monarchy have been given masses of new documentary material from previously independent departments and liquidated offices. During the Second World War, the war archive as Army Archives Vienna was a part of the German Army archive organization under the supreme command of the Wehrmacht. After considerable losses as a result of the war, the War Archives in 1945 became a department of the newly created Austrian State Archives. In the years 1991-1993 moved the since 1905 in the Stiftskaserne (barracks) in the 7th District of Vienna housed war archive to the Central Archives building in Vienna III.

The war archive contains about 180,000 document cartons and 60,000 account books on 50 shelf kilometers and is by far the most important military archives in Central Europe. Its map collection with over 600,000 maps and plans is the largest in Austria. There is also a collection of about 400,000 images. The former library of the war archive is one of the most extensive collections of older military historical literature .

The in 22 inventory groups aggregated inventories of the Kriegsarchiv, in their structure these two fundamentally different archiving traditions are reflected to this day, can be broadly divided into five major blocks:

Personnel files of officers, petty officers, crews and officials of the armed forces of about 1740 to 1918; reward acts (1789-1958), so documents on military awards, which the archives of the Military Maria Theresa Order is attached.

Feldakten (combat files) with material on the operations of the imperial or kk Field armies from 16th Century to 1882 (Old Field records and Army files) as well as on 1914-1918 (Army High Command, New field files - Neue Feldakten).

Most High command, main, subordinate and territorial authorities. This group brings together the recordings of major institutions in the entourage of the emperor (especially of the Military Chancellery, the Generaladjutantur (general adjutancy) and the General Staff), the central military services (Hofkriegsrat (Court War Council) 1557-1848, War Office 1848-1918, Ministry of National Defence from 1868 to 1918) and a number of other authorities, institutions and territorial command posts such as the disability Office, the Apostolic field Vicariate, the supreme combat engineer and artillery authorities, the military educational institutions, the military invalids houses and single General and Military command posts in the countries.

Navy and Luftfahrtruppe (air force troup (19th - 20th century)

Collections, which include in particular the maps and plan collection, image collection, the manuscripts and a very important collection of military scripture estates.

The war archive is now a "historical archive". The here kept official written or printed material essentially ends with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of the First World War (1918). The collections of the Kriegsarchiv (war archive) on the other hand constantly increase.

Financial and Hofkammerarchiv [ Edit]

The financial and Hofkammerarchiv (Court Chamber archive) arose when in 1945 the previously separately kept inventories of the Hofkammerarchiv and financial archives were merged. The Court Chamber, founded in 1527 was the central financial authority of the Habsburg monarchy. 1848 took over the newly founded Treasury its duties. The archive contains financial records that are especially important for historians. In historical Archive building in the Johannesgasse the Directorate room of Franz Grillparzer is still preserved, working there from 1832 to 1856 as director. With 1st December 2006, the Department of Finance and Court Chamber archive was incorporated into the General Administration Archive. The bulk of the archival material was moved into the central archive building in the Nottendorfergasse.

House, Court and State Archives

The House, Court and State Archives in Minoritenplatz

Board on State Archives

The House, Court and State Archives, Minoritenplatz 1, 1749 by Maria Theresa (1740-1780) was established as a central archive of the Habsburg dynasty. By creating a well-ordered document repository unifiying the hitherto over several sites scattered important House and state documents in Vienna, it should be ensured that the legal titles and rulers' rights of the dynasty in the future were quickly available when required.

Of the today in 11 inventory groups organised inventories of the House, Court and State Archives the following topics have been given priority:

the history of the Habsburg dynasty

the activities of the supreme Court offices and the Imperial Cabinet

Diplomacy and foreign policy of the Danube monarchy

highest Administration and Jurisdiction in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation whose imperial dignity the Habsburgs held for centuries almost without interruption until the dissolution of the National Association in 1806.

Worthy of mention furthermore in the House, Court and State Archives deposited ruler and family archives, estates, a manuscript collection, a collection of seal and stamp imprints as well as a plan and map collection.

Showpiece under the "Collections" of the archive department is but unquestionably the document collection formed from different provenances.

Overall, stores the in a 1899-1902 built landmarked Archive functional building at Vienna's Minoritenplatz housed House, Court and State Archives on 16,000 running meters, 130,000 accounting records and document cartons, 75,000 documents, 15,000 maps and plans, and about 3000 manuscripts.

The oldest piece is a document that Emperor Louis the Pious issued in the year 816. The chronological endpoint sets the year 1918. The House, Court and State Archives is among the "historical" departments of the Austrian State Archives, who do no longer grow by receiving documentary material deliveries from the Austrian federal ministries.

The great importance of the House, Court and State Archives for international research is based on the wide geographical catchment area and the variety of its collection. Due to the territorial expansion of the Habsburg rule from the 15th Century and the literally global relations of the dynasty, the here stored archival material encompasses practically all continents.

In addition to the "classical" access of diplomatic and political history, the archive also offers a social and cultural history oriented research rich material.

Restoration workshop

The restoration workshop of the ÖStA belongs alongside those of the National Library and the Federal Monuments Office to the most important restoration facilities for paper, parchment, sealing and bookbindery in Austria.

Significant archivists

Ludwig Bittner (1877-1945), archivist 1904-45

Anna Coreth (1915-2008), Director of the House, Court and State Archives

Walter Goldinger (1910-1990), Director-General in 1973

Lothar Gross (1887-1944), director of the House, Court and State Archives

Joseph Knechtl (1771-1838), archivist 1806-1834, 1834-1838 Director

Hanns Leo Mikoletzky (1907-1978), Director-General 1968-72

Lorenz Mikoletzky (* 1945), Director-General from 1994 to 2011

Rudolf Neck

Kurt Peball (1928-2009), Director-General 1983-89

Gebhard Rath (1902-1979), Director-General 1956-68

Leo Santifaller (1890-1974), Director-General 1945-54

Erika Weinzierl (* 1925), archivist at the House, Court and State Archives 1948-64


The Austrian State Archives publishes the periodical Communications of the Austrian State Archives (Mösta) appearing in annual volumes since 1948. In addition, archive inventories, supplementary volumes to the communications and exhibition catalogs are published.

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Taken on March 3, 2012