Current Search : Helene (Hella) KATZ

We are searching for the family of

Helene (Hella) KATZ who was born on 20 Sept. 1899 in Lemberg (Lvov), Poland .
We believe her father was called Joachim KATZ

     Helene was one of the young Jewish women who had migrated to Vienna in the course of World War 1 and who firmly grasped the independence made available to them as a result of the upheaval which enabled their emancipation. She studied photography at the Graphischen Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt in Vienna and established her own photographic studio in there at Stubenring 18 in March 1925. She was primarily a portrait photographer but also one of dance and action photography. Among her clients were the Vienna well established society as well as actors dancers and artists. She taught a series of young aspiring photographers who trained in her studio among them Hans Popper, Anton Josef Trčka and Elly Prager Mandovsky (Elly Niebuhr). By 1. April 1939 she had escaped the Nazi persecution to England.    (taken in part from From: Anton Holzer: Viennese Female Studio Photographers. Biographical Notes, in: Trude Fleischmann. A Self-Assured Eye. Exhibition catalogue, Vienna 2011 (Hatje Cantz publisher), p. 184-185. )

     During her school time the family address was Klosterneuburg, Bahnstraße 27 (close to Vienna, for a time merged into Vienna under the Nazi regime) and was probably still the family home in the time Hella lived independently in Vienna.

     Hella's home was in Vienna 5, Zinkgasse 13/4  from October 2 1920 to March 20 1939.   
The dispossession of Hella KATZ by the Nazis in 1939

Pg (=party member) Franz Jungwirth                           Vienna, 1 July 1939 
Liquidator, appointed on the basis of                       Received 3 July 1939 
the Decree of 23 November 1938 
Responsible for the country of Austria 618/1938 
Vienna 107, Elterleinplatz 6/23 
telephone: U 52 309

Report on Wealth, Liquidation Plan, and simultaneously Final Report

Serial number 12 

Re:  K a t z Helene, Photo Studio, Vienna 1 Stubenring 18IV

                On the basis of the communication of the landlord Pm. Gustav L u c h e s s i, Helene Katz long after November 1938 possessed approval from a party office to teach the emigrating photography and to impart the skill (or proficiency) in this (see earlier report).

For this reason she was free from surveillance and was also able to dispose freely of her possessions. She terminated her lease as primary tenant for her studio on April 30,1939, and cleaned it out according to the rules. She turned it over to the landlord without arrears. 

Fraulein Katz owned one or two cameras, accessories, and only the most necessary furnishings of minimal worth. 

The landlord was never instructed of any administrative hold. 

Accordingly a liquidation could not be carried out.

                                                                                 H e i l  H i t l e r!
                                                                                                   [ Jungwirth ]

Pg (=party member) Franz Jungwirth
Liquidator, appointed on the basis of
the Decree of 23 November 1938 
Responsible for the country of Austria 618/1938 
Vienna 107, Elterleinplatz 6/23 
telephone: U 52 309



The following article by Anton Holzer, Publisher of "Fotogeschichte" was found at

the WIENER ZEITUNG of December 3/4 2011




We have found on the Internet websome of her portraits:

Artist   Hella Katz
Title   Thea von Uyy 
Medium   gelatin silver print 
Size   9.1 x 5.4 in. / 23 x 13.7 cm.
Year   1928 - 
Misc.   Stamped
Sale Of   Dorotheum: Tuesday, May 9, 2006
[Lot 61]


LEHAR FRANZ: (1870-1948) Austro-Hungarian Composer.
Vintage signed and inscribed sepia postcard photograph of Lehar
in a head and shoulders pose.
Photograph by Hella Katz.
Signed in bold dark fountain pen ink to the lower white border and
inscribed to Emil Juel-Frederiksen. Dated 22nd July 1929.




EWERS, Hanns Heinz (1871-1943), dt. Dichter, 1935 verboten, Porträtf. (Brustbild, 13,5 x 8,5, Hella Katz, Wien, etwas angestaubt) mit rückseitig eigh. Zeilen, U. (voller Namenszug), O. u. Dat., Berlin, 25.4.2939 (Poststempel), an den Verlag Schneider in Wien, dem er ?3 Vorworte sendet, „…: lassen Sie ‚sorgfältig Korrektur lesen!‘ Ich bitte um je 3 Exemplare der Werke …“; bildseitig nochmals e.U. (voller Namenszug). - Siehe Abb

IN the process of research we learned that other well known Vieneese photographers trained under Hella - among them

Anton Josef Tr ka (1893–1940) who had worked since c. 1925 at the atelier of the photographer Hella Katz in Vienna and in 1926 he founded the »Ringwerkstätten für Kunsthandwerk und Lichtbildkunst« at her address on Stubenring, which existed until c. 1934.





The PERUTZ girls in Vienna at Chanukah
(Estimated Dcember 1934)
THe PERUTZ family are thought to have been personal friends of Hella)



hauptschule1.jpg hauptschule1bs.jpg
Dear David
I came across your request for information relating to Hella Katz today. I realise that it is probably now too late for the exhibition but thought that you might like to see these images (front and back) of a photograph. It is clearly marked as having been taken by Hella Katz (or her studio since I don't know whether she worked alone or with others). As well as her name printed on the back the studio mark is also impressed into the photograph itself (you can just make it out in the lower left of the shot).
This picture was taken in about 1935. The Location is 2a Kleine Sperlgasse, Vienna. The building in the background is still there and is a school (Volksschule). It was also a school when the photograph was taken, a secondary school for girls (hauptschule für mädchen).
The photograph was ordered by the lady in the middle of the shot - Margarette Frank - a teacher at the school who gave it to the students in the picture as a memento of their year.
Kind Regards
Dave Gilbert


Below is a group of personal photos by Hella KATZ
donated by Dr. Alisa Erika Koch
They are all from the 1930's although we have no knowledge of the actual date




Erika KOCH

Vienna, 1930's


Dr Walter KOCH











  On March 21, 1939 Helen arrived in England as a refugee from Nazi persecution, and lived for a while with a Mrs Lloyd, in Oaksend, Oxshott, Surrey.

Then, at some time she moved north and found her home in Yorkshire. She met, and married Ronald LOWIS, a tobacconist, and immersed herself in the local life.




A 1964 picture of Helen and Ronald Lowis






In preparation for a special exhibition about Jewish women photographers in Vienna before 1938 and in exile, held in Vienna by the Architectural Foundation in Vienna [ ] in cooperation with the Jewish Museum in Vienna [] we were approached whether some of the material collected might be used there. This prompted a further search for any traces of Hella Katz's life and photography in her latter years in England.


Below are the results of that research.

The exhibition itself ran from October 22nd 2012 till March 3rd 2013 and had only three items relating to Hella KATZ beyond those few which we had sent in, and which are among the images on this page already. Naturally there were very, very many photographers represented in the exhibition, and much more material has survived about the others. The images below were scanned from the extensive catalogue published speacially for the exhibition.









Landscape by Hella KATZ
A view towards Redworth Woods ( Not very far from Shildon, Yorkshire )



The search in preparation of a Vienna exhibition 2012

Below the "Northern Echo" of 15 Sep 2012





In response to the article in the Northern Echo
Mrs Robinson sent us the above Xmas card
with a photo of Shildon taken by Hella LOWIS (KATZ)



katz_hella_bibbykevin4.jpg katz_hella_bibbykevin5.jpg


A group of photographs taken by Hella

The two photos above are of the Queen's Coronation festivities in 1953

The ones which are signed by her were taken circa 1956/57

The boys are sitting on the wall in front of her house "smoking" candy cigarettes. Honestly!!



katz_hella_bibbykevin1.jpg katz_hella_bibbykevin2.jpg


Do you recognize any of the names?

Can you guide us in any way?

If you have no information, do you know of anyone else, anywhere, where we can ask?

please e-mail me at searchandunite [at] lewinsdlondon [dot] org [dot] uk

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