Else-Federn-Park, Nauseagasse & Julius-Meinl-Gasse, 1160 Wien, Austria
Else Federn (1874 – January 28, 1946) was an Austrian benefactor. Marie Lang brought the Settlement idea to Viennese women in 1898 after attending the abolitionist congress in London. In the summer of 1900 her friend Else Federn spent time at the Women’s University Settlement in London.
Else Federn was born as the daughter of the physician Josef Salomon Federn, who came from a Family of Prague Scholars, and his wife Ernestine Spitzer. She had five siblings, some of whom, unlike Else, later left Judaism. The mother was already socially engaged and together with her son Karl had founded the "Art School for Women and Girls".
Else attended the school of the Women's Employment Association and suffered from unstable health in her youth. At the end of the 1890s, she learned about the idea of the Settlement movement through Marie Lang, under whose aegis neighborhood centers had been created in poor neighborhoods since the 1880s. By 1900, there were already over a hundred such facilities in Great Britain, the United States, continental European countries, and Japan. The central idea was not charity in the sense of charity, but help for self-help, especially through educational events. Federn spent some time during a holiday in England in the summer of 1899 (according to other sources: in the summer of 1900) in the oldest women's settlement, the London Women's University Settlement, where she worked and got to know how the organization worked.
When the "Verein Wiener Settlement" was founded in 1901 in the district of Ottakring, Else took on a leading role in the project as head of work. In addition to its educational work, the association focused on child and youth welfare, as well as counselling for pregnant women and alcoholics, as well as homeless care. In addition, the basically non-partisan organisation tried to influence women's legislation, for example through initiatives in favour of so-called "mother's leave" or the possibility for women to take over guardianships.
Else Federn was replaced as labour manager just a few days after the "connection" in March 1938. The single woman was able to escape to Britain in the autumn of 1938, where she first found shelter with a brother. She maintained contacts with other refugees from Austria and sought entry permits for Viennese friends.
In March 1939 she moved to the University Settlement in Bristol, where she fell seriously ill in the summer of 1945 and died in January 1946.
IIn 2012, the Else-Federn-Park in Vienna-Ottakring was named after her.
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