The Karl Matal Collection

The journalist and trade union functionary Karl Matal, born at Vienna in 1923 from a family with Czech roots, has devoted his whole life to the Czech minority in Vienna.

His private library comprises books, magazines and documents concerned with labour union and socio-political movements as well as a comprehensive collection of materials about the Czech and Slovak minorities in Vienna:

  • Monographs of persons of renown, such as Jiljí Jahn, Milada Kalinová, Josef Svatopluk Machar, Antonín Machát, František Melichar, Josef Petrů, František Strnad, Petr Záhoř and others.
  • Materials about major organs of the Czech minorities. e.g. the  "Komenský" educational association and the "Czech Heart" (České srdce) association including the publications issued by them.
  • The magazine "Bohemica Viennensia", founded by Karl Matal in 1947 and published at his own cost four times a year.
  • The series "Bohemica Viennensia", edited by Karl Matal from 1954 onwards, which published texts of K.H. Borovský, František Listopad, Bedřich Svatoš, Ivan Jelínek and other authors.
  • Newspapers and magazines (Dunaj, Kulturní klub, Krajanské noviny, Svobodné Vídeňské listy, Útěcha, Věstník, Vídeňský deník, Vídeňské dělnické listy and others) as well as yearbooks.

In addition, publications of authors in exile, after 1948 and in the years after the "Prague Spring" 1968, play an important role. The collection also contains magazines such as Paternoster und Vyber, edited by signatories of the "Charta 77" living in Vienna, and other papers published in Europe, Canada and the USA.        


The special importance of the Matal collection is its archival value. Karl Matal collected a unique archival fonds covering all aspects of the political, social and cultural life of the Czech and Slovak minorities. Of particular interest is the documentation of the history of the Czech and Slovak ethnic groups in Austria, above all in the light of their associations. Other records are concerned with

  • the Czechoslovak Socialist Party of Austria (Československá strana socialistická v Rakousku)
  • the Czechoslovak Trade Union movement
  • East-West contacts within the international Trade Union movement
  • the Communist Party of Czechosloakia.