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131 FICKERT, Auguste (1855–1910) School teacher and leading figure in the radical wing of the women’s movement in Habsburg Austria. Auguste Fickert (also known as Gusti) was born on 25 May 1855 in Vienna. Her mother, Louise Fickert (born Luhde, died 1907), was a housewife; her father, Wilhelm Fickert (d. 1881), was a foreman at the Court and State printers. They had two daughters (Auguste and Marianne) and two sons (Emil and Willy). Two of Auguste Fickert’s siblings were later to become involved in her projects: Marianne Fickert committed herself to the Allgemeiner Österreichischer Frauenverein (General Austrian Women’s Association) for many years and, after Auguste Fickert ’s death, her younger brother Emil Fickert (1870–1957, bank director) held a leading position with the periodical Neues Frauenleben (New woman’s life), as well as with the women’s cooperative housing project Heimhof. Auguste Fickert attended primary school in Vienna. From 1869/70, she studied at the Englische Fräulein convent school in Burghausen, Bavaria and in 1872, was admitted to the Lehrerinnen-Bildungsanstalt St. Anna (St Anna’s teacher training institute for women) in Vienna, where she graduated with honors on 9 July 1876. Much of her diary (preserved in manuscript form) dates from this period and tells in particular of girls’ friendships, of an intensive crush on a (male) teacher and of the burning wish to become an actress. Auguste Fickert worked continuously as a school teacher from 1876 until her death in 1910, beginning her teaching career at a girls’ school in Schulgasse (in Vienna’s eighteenth district), where she also lived. Having been involved in the (politically moderate) Verein der Lehrerinnen und Erzieherinnen (Association of Women Teachers) since the early 1880s, Auguste Fickert faced grave confrontations with her superiors throughout the 1890s, due to her public criticism of the religious nature of school instruction. She left the Catholic Church in 1893. In 1899, she was transferred to the Grüne Thorgasse (a primary school in the ninth district). Hostilities ad personam from the clerical, anti-Semitic Christlich-Soziale Partei run all the way through her political career. The launch of a petition by Auguste Fickert in 1889—against the disfranchisement 132 of (taxpaying) women in Lower Austria, who had lost their communal suffrage as a consequence of municipal restructuring—is generally regarded as her first public appearance . The political basis of her work was provided by the Allgemeiner Österreichischer Frauenverein (General Austrian Women’s Association, hereafter the Frauenverein). The Frauenverein committed itself to women’s labor and employment, to education for working-class women and rights for female domestic servants; it raised the question of prostitution from an abolitionist perspective, created legal protection centers for impoverished women and rallied a large number of female civil servants, particularly post and telegraph office clerks. As the radical wing of the Austrian women’s movement, the Frauenverein displayed closer rapport with activists of proletarian women’s organizations (e.g. Adelheid Popp or Therese Schlesinger-Eckstein) than with the moderate, liberal bourgeois wing (under the aegis of Marianne Hainisch). From the first assemblies in 1893, including those of the board committee, Auguste Fickert was actively involved in the Frauenverein, becoming its Chair in 1897. In 1906, at her instigation, the Frauenverein left the moderate Bund Österreichischer Frauenvereine (Union of Austrian Women’s Associations)—a member of the International Council of Women. Personalities who worked closely with Auguste Fickert include Marie Beyer-Mus(s)ill, Caroline Gronemann and Indra Weishan. For a time, she cooperated closely with Therese Schlesinger-Eckstein, Marie Lang and Rosa Mayreder; later with Adele Gerber, Leopoldine Kulka and Ida Mayer, Sophie Regen, the Hug sisters Antonie and Hermine, as well as Christine Touaillon. As delegates of the Frauenverein, Marie Lang participated in the International Abolitionist Federation meeting in London (July 1898) and Leopoldine Kulka and Adele Gerber in the founding congress of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance in Berlin (June 1904). The political practice of public textual production formed a crucial part of Auguste Fickert’s activities. From 1893 to 1898, she edited Das Recht der Frau (The right of woman), an insert of the periodical Volksstimme (People’s voice), published by the Democratic Party. In 1899, she founded—together with Marie Lang and Rosa Mayreder —the fortnightly Dokumente der Frauen (Documents of women), the periodical of the Frauenverein. From 1902, she acted as the single editor of the monthly Neues Frauenleben (New woman’s life), at that time the organ of the Frauenverein. Its...


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