Biography

Years of Study and first work experience


1928-1932

Karikatur  von Simon Wiesenthal veröffentlicht im 'Omnibus'

After passing his final examinations in 1928, Simon decided to go on to study architecture. Admission to the nearby university in Lvov was out of the question, because of the Polish quota restrictions pertaining to Jews.  He therefore went to the German Technical University in Prague, where he stayed for only one semester, mainly because of the growing anti-Semitism there. He transferred to the Czech Technical University and obtained his degree in architectural engineering in 1932.  Now he only lacked the necessary diploma to be able to practice architecture in Poland. 

The student Wiesenthal was taken in by the beauty of Prague and its artistic and cultural diversity. He felt that, in contrast to his Polish homeland, an atmosphere of liberality and tolerance permeated this city.

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1932-1938

Hochzeit von Cyla und Simon Wiesenthal am 9. September 1936

Wiesenthal returned to Poland to obtain a diploma from the Technical University in Lvov. At the same time, he worked part time for a local construction company and received his first assignments to design a number of houses for affluent Jews. 

Together with friends, he founded a Jewish student magazine called Omnibus, to which he contributed satirical cartoons focused mainly on the Nazis and their anti-Semitism. Most of these cartoons were confiscated but some of them have been preserved at the Polish National Library.



1936

In 1936, Wiesenthal was employed by an architectural firm in Lvov, and on September 9th he and Cyla Müller were married.



1937

Wiesenthal designed a large house for his stepfather in Dolina.



1939-1941

The construction of a tuberculosis sanatorium in 1939 finally provided official proof of his architectural abilities and brought him the desired certification to work as an independent “architectural engineer” in Poland.

When Hitler and Stalin signed their non-aggression pact in 1939, Lvov fell under Soviet sovereignty and this resulted in increased repressions against Jews and “capitalists”. Wiesenthal’s stepfather was arrested and dispossessed of his property; he soon died in a Soviet prison. Wiesenthal was no longer allowed to work in his “bourgeois-class” profession. He had to close his architectural practice and subsequently worked in a mattress factory.


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