John M. Oesterreicher papers
Scope and Contents
The John M. Oesterreicher papers include manuscripts, correspondence and sermons centering on his work in Judeao-Christian Studies and anti-semitism. There is also a large number of photographs, record albums and files on many topics relating to Christianity, Judaism, Israel and Catholicism. The writings span most of his life, with his work with the Vatican and his time at Seton Hall both being prominent in the collection.
Conditions Governing Access
Photographic negatives may only be viewed with the assistance of the archivist.
This collection includes audio-visual materials. Access copies of audiotapes, audio cassette tapes, video cassette tapes, film reels, or other audio-visual materials may need to be ordered prior to on-site research. Please contact us to inquire about access to audio-visual materials.
Otherwise, materials are available for research at the Msgr. William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center. Advance appointments are required for the use of archival materials.
Conditions Governing Use
All materials available in this collection (unless otherwise noted) are the property of the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center and Seton Hall University, which reserves the right to limit access to or reproduction of these materials. Reproduction of materials or content is subject to United States copyright restrictions and may be subject to federal or state privacy regulations. Permission to publish exact reproductions must be obtained from the Director of the Archives and Special Collections Center.
Biographical / Historical
John M. Oesterreicher was born 2 February 1904 in Stadt-Liebau, Moravia, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, into a Jewish family. He studied at the Gymnasium Olmutz, attended the Medical School of the University of Vienna for two years, and studied theology at the Universities of Graz and Vienna. He converted to Roman Catholicism, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1927.
For the next eleven years, his duties were pastoral and editorial. He published a magazine called "Die Erfullung" (The Fulfillment) in which he took a strong stand against Hitler's hatred of Jews; in 1938 he was subjected to interrogation by the Nazis and considered an enemy of the Reich for these views.
After escaping the Gestapo in Austria before the occupation, he continued to combat Hitler's anti-Jewish and anti-Christian ideology through sermons in Paris over the French Broadcasting System. For several decades it was thought these sermons were lost, but transcriptions were discovered and published in 1986 as "Wider die Tyrannei des Rassenwahns" (Against the Tyranny of Race). His first book was also published, "Racisme, Antisemitisme, Antichristianisme", which was confiscated and destroyed by the Nazis. On November 12, 1940 he escaped to the United States, where he republished that book and wrote "Walls are Crumbling" discussing seven major Jewish thinkers.
In 1953 he founded the Institute for Judaeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. Father Oesterreicher and members of the Institute were, in large part, responsible for having the relationship of the Church to the Jewish People made part of the Vatican II agenda. He served as consultor to the Secretariat for Christian Unity during several sessions of the Council and was named an Honorary Prelate in recognition of his work. In 1975 he established the Graduate Department of Judaeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University with the belief and hope that deepening knowledge through understanding of Rabbinic tradition, as well as an appreciation for Judaism as a living religion, will guide Christians to join with Jews in mutual respect and solidarity. He saw his two-fold escape from the Gestapo and certain death at the hands of the Nazis as a divine summons to devote his life to nurturing a creative relationship between Christians and Jews.
Msgr. Oesterreicher lectured at various universities in the United States, published several books, and was awarded numerous honors. He died 18 April 1993.
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Language of Materials
John M. Oesterreicher was born February 2, 1904 in Stadt-Liebau, Moravia, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, into a Jewish family. He studied theology at the Universities of Graz and Vienna, was ordained to the priesthood in 1927, and in 1953 he founded the Institute for Judaeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. The John M. Oesterreicher papers include manuscripts, correspondence and sermons centering on his work in Judaeo-Christian Studies and anti-semitism.
The collection has been arranged into thirteen series, with subseries, as follows:
- Series 1. Writings,
- Series 1.1. Lectures,
- Series 1.2. Lecture Series,
- Series 1.3. Sermons,
- Series 1.4. Book Reviews,
- Series 1.5. Letters to the Editor,
- Series 1.6. Articles,
- Series 1.7. Tributes to J.M. Oesterreicher,
- Series 1.8. Manuscripts,
- Series 1.9. Notebook,
- Series 1.10. Account books,
- Series 1.11. Interviews,
- Series 1.12. Invocations/prayers,
- Series 1.13. Reviews and responses to J.M. Oesterreicher's writing,
- Series 1.14. The "Deputy" Controversy,
- Series 2. Seton Hall University materials,
- Series 2.1. Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies materials,
- Series 2.2. Graduate program in Judaeo-Christian studies materials,
- Series 3. Second Vatican Council materials,
- Series 3.1. Preparation, appointment, and correspondence,
- Series 3.2. Council materials,
- Series 3.3. Secondary Council material,
- Series 4. Correspondence,
- Series 4.1. General correspondence,
- Series 4.2. Jewish organizations,
- Series 4.3. Catholic organizations,
- Series 4.4. Miscellaneous organizations,
- Series 4.5. Publishers,
- Series 4.6. Magazines/newspapers,
- Series 4.7. Speaking engagements,
- Series 5. Subject files,
- Series 5.1. Antisemitism,
- Series 5.2. The Holocaust,
- Series 5.3. Israel,
- Series 5.4. Judaism,
- Series 5.5. Jewish-Christian relations,
- Series 5.6. Catholicism,
- Series 5.7. Christianity,
- Series 5.8. Philosophy, literature, art,
- Series 5.9. Politics,
- Series 5.10. Miscellaneous,
- Series 5.11. Popes,
- Series 5.12. Newsclippings, 1930s, 1960s
- Series 6. Ephemera,
- Series 6.1. Records, tapes, cassettes, videos,
- Series 6.2 Awards and paintings,
- Series 6.3. Scrapbooks,
- Series 7. Pamphlets,
- Series 8. Reprinted articles,
- Series 9. Index cards,
- Series 10. Journals,
- Series 11. Die Erfullung,
- Series 12. Miscellaneous,
- Series 13. Addition of 1996,
Other Finding Aids
Original print finding aid available in the Reading Room of the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center.
Preservica Internal URL
Preservica Public URL
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection is the gift of Msgr. John Oesterreicher to the Archives and Special Collections Center; materials were bequeathed in Msgr. Oesterreicher's will and came to the Center in the mid-1990s. Terms of accession unknown.
Initial inventory and processing was performed by Sophie Mueller, former secretary to Msgr. Oesterreicher, 1993-1995. Further processing and creation of finding aid by the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center, 1995-2000. Finding aid encoded, collection re-numbered, and partial re-housing by Leonard Iannaccone and Carly Gamble, 2010-2011. Editing of finding aid to include series information, re-order some entries, create and post html, and other minor edits by Bridgette Frank and Tracy M Jackson, 2012.
- Antisemitism -- Research.
- Catholic Church -- Sermons.
- Catholics -- United States -- History.
- Judaism -- Europe -- History -- 20th century.
- Judaism -- Relations -- Christianity.
- Seton Hall University -- Faculty.
- Seton Hall University -- History.
- Vatican Council (2nd: 1962-1965: Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano)
- John M. Oesterreicher papers, 1920-2000 Mss 0053
- Finding aid prepared by Leonard Iannaccone with data entry by volunteer worker Carly Gamble in Fall 2011, revisions by Bridgette Frank, 2012.
- 2011, 2012
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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