NL 2007/13

Private museum protects Austrian cultural heritage.

The great Austrian gynecologist Hermann Knaus is kept a secret.

"All of mankind is indebted to the Austrian gynecologist Hermann Knaus for knowledge of the fertile and infertile days which provides the basis for all forms of contraception, from the pill to the baby computer. "Yet almost 40 years after his death, his homeland does not consider him  worthy of a place where his accomplisment is documented," says Dr. Christian Fiala, founder of the private Museum for Abortion and Contraception in Vienna.


"Austrian researchers and scientists have made very significant contributions to the development of effective means of contraception and safe methods of abortion, thereby literally saving the lives of innumerable women. When the many visitors to the museum marvel at the extensive collection on display, they wonder how it can be that its founding required a private initiative. We are the only ones who made the effort to find the families of Prof. Knaus, Prof. Haberlandt, Prof. Fellner, and other important Austrians, and to document their valuable inventory. Apparently sexuality is still objectionable here in Austria."


In this connection Fiala also reports about approaching the Austrian postal system in regard to issuing a stamp in honor of Prof. Knaus: "Our proposal was shot down as if we had made an indecent proposition. In fact, Prof. Knaus is one of the most important scientists Austria has produced. Here one apparently disavows what is widely acknowledged throughout the rest of the world."




Sex Education Prevents Abortions

The Knaus Archive at the Museum in Viennna is only one of the cultural treasures here collected that inspires the reverence and wonder of visitors. Others include the procedure documentation  of hormone researcher Ludwig Haberlandt (1885-1932) from Innsbruck, the patent registered in 1931 to Viennese inventor Adolf Schmid for an ingenious calculator he developed to determine days of fertility in a woman's menstrual cycle, and the birth control necklace distributed by the international aid organisation "Action Rain".


Fiala responds: "It is pleasing that our work has at least recently led to our being listed among institutions to which one can make tax-free donations. But much more is necessary: We can see how there is an urgent need to understand issues of sexuality and protection by the brisk throng of school classes, student groups, etc. that visit our museum. The museum could very well allow us to help prevent unwanted pregnanices and thereby diminish the number of abortions."


Museum of Contraception and Abortion



Admission: Wednesday - Sunday 2PM – 6PM