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July 1998

Vienna and the Ides of March, 1938 (A Reminiscence)

Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(7):873-874. doi:

Aus Blut Vergangner kommen wir,

Doch sind wir ohne Erben.

In leere Himmel ragen wir

Und können nicht mehr sterben.

David Goldfeld (1904-1942). Todeslied [Song of Death]

The ides or idum mark the middle of the month in the Roman calendar; in the months of March, May, July, and October they fall on the 15th and on the 13th in all other months. The ides of March are notorious for signifying the date of Julius Caesar's murder in 44 BC; in world literature this date has been used to allude to dreadful events throughout history. Viennese and Austrian history has a particular relation to the days in mid-March over the centuries; such times have culminated in the Anschluss of Austria to the Third Reich and the antisemitic frenzy in the wake of this event, which also had profound influences in the field of dermatology.1