Kraus, Karl

BORN 28 Apr 1874, Jicin, Böhmen - DIED 12 Jun 1936, Wien
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Zentralfriedhof, Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, Simmering (Gruppe 05 A, Reihe 01, Nummer 33)

Karl Kraus was the son of a Jewish paper merchant in North Bohemia. In 1877 the family moved to Vienna, where he studied philosophy.

He became famous as the editor and publisher of the satirical magazine "Die Fackel" ("The Torch", 1899-1936). Collaborators to the Fackel were Detlev von Liliencron and Else Lasker-Schüler. Kraus was known for his biting sarcasm and his arrogance, but his readers admired his brilliant style and he was regarded as the most influential satirist of his time. In 1909 he started publishing aphorisms in "Sprüche und Widersprüche". During World War I he criticized Austrian war policies and the Fackel was closed down by the authorities several times. In the twenties he turned his rage especially against the Viennese police forces and the theatre critic Alfred Kerr.

Although he was a Jew himself he didn't hesitate to attack the Jews in his writings. On Freud's psychoanalysis he wrote that it was the illness it pretended to be able to cure. Krass argued in favour of sexual liberation for women, but he fought hypocrisy and intellectual corruption. Kraus hated the machine age. He loved the use of language, but he hated those who abused it.

He lived most of his life in Vienna and his lectures in Berlin and Vienna were famous. Kraus died lonely and embittered.

Works: "Worte in Versen" (9 volumes, 1916-1930); "Die letzten Tage der Menschheit" ("The Last Days of Mankind", 1919, on World War I).

Related persons
• knew Berg, Smaragda
• criticized Bettauer, Hugo
• was a friend of Denk, Berthe Marie
• admired Kalmar, Annie
• detested Kerr, Alfred
• was a friend of Loos, Adolf
• quarreled with Müller, Robert
• knew Spiel, Hilde
• cooperated with Wedekind, Frank
• was influenced by Weininger, Otto

29/5/1905Private performance in Vienna of Frank Wedekind's "Die Büchse der Pandora". The play was first performed at 1 Feb 1904 at the Intime Theater in Nürnberg, but banned by the German censors afterwards. Karl Kraus organised a private performance at the Trianon Theatre in Vienna. Tilly Newes played Lulu and Albert Heine played Schigolg and was the director. Adele Sandrock had the part of Gräfin Geschwitz, Ida Orloff was Kadidja di Santa Croce and Karl Kraus was Kungu Pote. Wedekind himself played the murderer Jack. [Orloff, Ida][Sandrock, Adele][Wedekind, Frank][Wedekind, Tilly]
14/6/1905Frank Wedekind visits Klosterneuburg together with Berthe Denk. On the same day he visited the painter Hollitzer together with Karl Kraus. [Denk, Berthe Marie][Wedekind, Frank]
15/6/1905Wedekind dines with Karl Kraus and Albert Heine at the Volksgarten in Vienna. He also met Gustav Meyrinck that day. [Wedekind, Frank]
8/9/1913Sidonie Nádherná von Borutín meets Karl Krauss at the Café Imperial in Vienna. They became friends and later they had a romantic relationship that was filled with conflicts until Kraus died in 1936. 


The grave of Karl Kraus at the Zentralfriedhof, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (25 Jan 1999)


• Benz, Wolfgang/Hermann, Biographisches Lexicon zur Weimarer Republik, Beck, München, 1988
• Budig, Robert S. et al, Ehrengräber am Wiener Zentralfriedhof, Compress Verlag Wien, Wien
• Zeman, Z.A.B., Schaduwen over de Habsburgers, De ineenstorting van de dubbelmonarchie, Sijthoff, Leiden, 1971
LeMO Karl Kraus
Wedekind: "Die Büchse der Pandora"

Krauss, Werner

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 18 Aug 2022