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Something to read in VIENNA

The Ephrussis were a grand banking family who “burned like a comet” in nineteenth-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost the only thing remaining of their vast empire was a collection of 264 wood and ivory Japanese carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox
. Ephrussi and his cosmopolitan family were imprisoned or scattered, and Hitler’s theorist on the “Jewish question” appropriated their magnificent palace on the Ringstrasse in Vienna. It stands on Dr Karl-Lueger-Ring opposite the University (Today the building is the headquarters of ‘Casino Austria’.) The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmond de Waal who inherited the collection, is a vivid portrait of Viennese life before the war and a chilling evocation of life in that city under Nazi rule.

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