Halsman murder case

The  Halsman murder case  was a major political event in Austria , when Philippe Halsman was accused of patricide in 1928 and sentenced in a controversial trial in Innsbruck . It Demonstrated Widespread antisemitism in rural Austria in the time between the World Wars .


On September 10, 1928, Latvian Jewish dentist Morduch Halsman Was Murdered while it was hilarious turn in the Zillertal valley in the Austrian Tyrol With His sound, Philippe Halsman , Then 22-year-old student of engineering in Dresden . Philippe said he was walking some steps ahead of his father, then heard a cry and saw him falling down the precipice.  [1]  By the time Philippe was a robber and killed. His empty wallet was found alongside the body.

A group of crimes in the area and its growing antisemitism empowered local officials, who, without evidence or motivated, arrested Philippe Halsman and brought him to his father’s death.  [2]  The next day Morduch Halsman’s bodywas recovered and autopsied. Soon after, Philippe was brought to Innsbruck to stand trial.


The trial began on December 13, 1928 at the Innsbruck state court. Many relatives and friends from the Halsman family’s hometown, Riga , came to support Philippe, but his position was desperate from the start.  [3]  The testimony against him came from the Breitlahner, a network of proto-Nazi activity, who claimed to be guilty of crime suspicious. There was also circumstantial evidence: a stone had been found with the victim ‘s blood, but there was no evidence linking the stone to Philippe. The most powerful argument for his defense is the lack of a motive, supported by the testimony of Halsman’s relating to the relationship between father and son.  [4]  Nevertheless, the jury voted 9-3 for conviction, and Philippe Halsman was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in solitary confinement.

The legitimacy of that judging was immediately challenged by journalists and legal scholars all over Austria and Germany . The Supreme Court of Austria reversed the verdict and sent back to Innsbruck. At the second trial on October 19, 1929, Halsman was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to four years of imprisonment.  [5]


Observers of the trial noted the widespread anti- Semitism in Tyrol and the public condemnation of Halsman. Halsman’s sister Liouba worked for his release and drew international attention to the case. Leading intellectuals of the time, Sigmund Freud , Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein endorsed his innocence. Freud’s opinion  [6]  emphasized that the Oedipus Complex, which has been tested in the field of Halsman’s behavior, is in fact, universal, and should be weighed against Halsman’s guilt. Finally, on October 1, 1930 the President of Austria Wilhelm Miklas  pardoned Halsman. Philippe left Austria for Paris, where he joined his mother and sister and began his career as a photographer.  [7]

See also

  • List of unsolved deaths


  1. Jump up^  Marin Pollack: Anklage Vatermord. Der Fall Philipp Halsmann. Fischer, Frankfurt, 2004 (german)
  2. Jump up^  Marin Pollack: Anklage Vatermord. Der Fall Philipp Halsmann. Fischer, Frankfurt, 2004 (german)
  3. Jump up^  Marin Pollack: Anklage Vatermord. Der Fall Philipp Halsmann. Fischer, Frankfurt, 2004 (german)
  4. Jump up^  Oliver Halsman Rosenberg: Unknown Halsman. DAP, New York, 2008
  5. Jump up^  http://www.jm-hohenems.at/mat/602_AFJHM_Newsletter_9_1.pdf
  6. Jump up^   Freud, Sigmund (1931).  Expert Opinion in the Halsmann Case  . London: Hogarth. pp. Vol 21 pp251-253.
  7. Jump up^  http://www.jm-hohenems.at/mat/602_AFJHM_Newsletter_9_1.pdf

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright antisem.eu 2019
Shale theme by Siteturner