Study Guide for the Novel, "The Devil in Vienna,"
by Doris Orgel

Home | Up

As a partial outgrowth of this unit my students contributed to, 
"Why People Should Study and Remember the Holocaust"

React to Your Reading!

  1. Compare and contrast O.O's view of the Nazi threat early in the novel with that of Inge's father. Why did they differ so? How did they change as the novel progressed? (pp.85-86).
  2. On page 75, after Mitzi comments to Inge, "An angel must be floating by…Your guardian angel", Inge thinks says to herself, "No, its my devil, I wanted to say, I felt so bad, so bad!… This is the worst birthday of my life." Describe the experiences that caused Ingre to feel this way.
  3. Describe how Inge's understanding of the Nazi threat changed from the beginning to the end of the novel.
  4. Compare and contrast Inge's and Lieslotte's transformation into young women during the novel. Make reference to Inge's reaction to the events described on page 122, her reaction to her conversation with Tommi on pp.131-133, Her feelings expressed on page 151 concerning her friendship with Lieselotte and other sections of the book. Regarding Lieslotte, pay particular attention to her letters to Inge (pp.151-172). Equivalent to two questions.
  5. O.O said to Inge on page 89, "Write down what you see, how you feel about it. It helps you understand things better. And later it helps you remember." What is the significance of this statement for Inge and Jewish Holocaust survivors in general? Why is it important "to remember"?
  6. What led Usch to betray Inge's father and his family? Do you think her behavior is typical of human nature or an aberrance? If it is aberrance, how do you reconcile this with the existence of block wardens (p. 204) and the Security Department (p. 171).
  7. Lieselotte and Inge came up with "fantasy news" while walking home from school (pp. 201-202). Describe the importance of such "fantasying" for people under unusual stress, or in this case, persecution. Can you find examples in you own life of such fantasying? Compare this fantasy with her dream, described on page 49. How has her thinking changed?
  8. Compare and contrast Lieselotte in "The Devil in Vienna" with Annmarie in "Number the Stars". Compare their personal acts of courage, transformation into young women, ways of demonstrating friendship and sharing, etc.
  9. How did Inge's and Lieslotte's friendship ultimately save Inge's and her family's life? What was Father L. telling Inge's mother on pp.231-232 concerning baptism and Christian sacraments?
  10. Prepare a chronological summary of the events leading up to Austria's capitulation to the Nazi's on March 12, 1938 (Anschluss and the "Death of Austria"). Describe how these events effected the lives of both Inge, Lieslotte and their families. Equivalent to two questions.
  11. Explain the significance of the acronym B.S.L.
  12. What events led up to Inge's discovering the profession of Lieselotte's father?
  13. Compare and contrast the father-daughter relationship between Lieselotte and her dad with the relationship between Inge and her dad. What did Lieselotte mean when she wrote, "I really don't know him", on page 169. What were Lieselotte's feelings toward her dad after he beat her (pp.170-171)?
  14. Describe in detail Inge's relationship with her grandfather. How did it change during the events in the novel? Why did he want Inge to go to the Wurstelprater when he departed rather than see him off? (P.195). In the Author's Note, Doris Orgel writes, "…O.O. is the grandfather I wish I had had…" Does she ultimately go to the Wurstelprater by the end of the novel? If so, when and under what circumstances?
  15. Describe in some detail the relationship between Inge and her mother. How was it effected by the skiing accident? By her mother' role in helping the them leave the country? By her mother's emotional reaction during key events in the novel? Compare Ingre's relationship with her mother to Lieselotte's.
  16. Describe what Lieselotte means when she says on page 180, "You can have a brother who does awful things and is awful, is a Nazi, but that doesn't mean he doesn't love you. It's complicated."
  17. Explain the meaning of Rabbi, Dr. Taglicht's statement, "And if there is a paradox, well It's not the first in the history of the Jews". Inge's quotes the Rabbi again on page 233. How skillful and meaningful are her arguments?
  18. Compare what happened to Herr Fried's store with what you know about Kristallnacht. How did what happen effect Evi? Herr Fried commented that the police were also involved. How would you feel if the police in this country committed similar acts? How do the acts against Fried compare with O.O and Vati being forced to clean streets with toothbrushes? With Mutti's loss of her job? With stores being desecrated with markings such as "Jewish Pig" or JEW, With the use of block wardens? With the Aryanization Bureau? With the experiences of Tommi during a street demonstration? How would you describe the pattern and sequence of acts against Jews that occurs throughout the novel? Inge writes, "…It will always be there in my mind, and so will Herr Fried's store, smashed in, even when I'm an old woman with more brown age spots on my hand than O.O. has." Explain the significance of what Inge wrote in her journal that day (p.192). (Equivalent to two questions).
  19. Why was Inge's father shocked by "how many people, whole crowds, came to watch the spectacle and joked and jeered and not one word against it."? (P.128). Where you shocked? Why or why not?
  20. Matt Plattau committed suicide (p.146-148). What was his relationship to Inge's father? Do you think he was the only one who committed suicide during these times? What would prompt a person to commit suicide during the difficult period the story took place? What did Inge's father mean by, "poor Max didn't have?"
  21. What is the significance of quota numbers? (p.183). Why didn't the nations of the world open their doors more to victims of political persecution such as the Jews in Austria? Do you think they (other nations) knew what was occurring in the Nazi occupied nations to Jews and other victims of persecution? Under current United States asylum law, would Austrian Jews in the 1930's and 40's have been allowed to enter the United States in large numbers? (Equivalent to two questions)
  22. Who is the Devil in Vienna? Compare Inge's viaduct experience, the Legend of St. Stephens and her shame at reacting to the lady with the Lilac hat? What forms does the "Devil" take in this novel?
  23. Mitzi said (p.150), "It just goes to show, when the whole world turns into stinking dung heap, here and there a flower pokes through..." Explain the context of this quote. Can you think of other instances in the book and based on your knowledge of the events of the Holocaust where this was true?
  24. Inge writes, "Its funny: When I was little, I wished so hard I could be Catholic like everybody else. And now I'm glad that the law forbids people my age to be baptized. No, it's not that I've turned Jewish-religious. I'm just glad to stay Jewish, that's all." (p. 232). Explain this passage and the transformation of her attitude towards religion.
  25. Describe, compare and contrast the role religion pays in the life of the novel's principal characters. Include Mutti, Father Ludwig, Rabbi Taglicht, Mitzi, Evi, Fredl, O.O, Lieselotte, Inge, Vati, etc. How are their religious beliefs effected by the social, economic, politic and religious events that occur during the period that the novel takes place?
  26. Only 11 percent of the nearly 1.7 million European Jews under the age of sixteen in 1939 survived the Second World War. There were somewhere between ten thousand and one hundred thousand Jewish children who were hidden during the Holocaust, who were not caught and who survived. Why was the number of saved children, though significant, relatively small?
  27. How does the change in the way the Gymnasium (Inge and Lieselotte's school) was run and what was taught, reflect the events going on in Austria after and before the German takeover of the country? Provide specific examples and how it effected the girls' friendship.
  28. What role did Hitler Youth, instruction in National Socialist ideology the Jungmadel and Faith and Beauty have in Germany during the 1930's and 40's. How did these groups influence the characters in the novel? Compare they effect they had on Lieselotte and Heinz.
  29. Based on the novel, what do you think was the Nazi's view of the role of woman in society?
  30. Explain the significance of the bell ringing metaphor on page 172. Compare this to Lieselotte's mental "switch" (p.207).
  31. Read the first page ("Author's Note") and next to last page ("About the Author"). Does the novel ring true to you? Why or why not?
  32. Could the Holocaust happen again? Do you think a few "insane" leaders caused the Holocaust or did the majority of people support it? How might a future Holocaust be prevented?
  33. What other groups besides Jews were singled out by Hitler's Third Reich for persecution?


Key Concepts and Terms

bullet Prejudice (religious, economic, philosophic, racial)
bullet anti-Semitism
bullet Holocaust
bullet Genocide (Define, Discuss causes, examples in history)
bullet Stereotype
bullet Ethnocentrism
bullet Racism
bullet Final Solution
bullet Concentration Camps
bullet Collaborators
bullet Shoah
bullet Perpetrator
bullet Bystander
bullet Auxiliaries
bullet Scapegoat
bullet Ghettos
bullet Slave labor
bullet Propaganda
bullet Resistance (passive, slowdown, direct, moral, economic, physical)
bullet Kristallnacht
bullet Mogen David
bullet Einsatzgruppen
bullet Storm Trooper (p.48)
bullet Brown House (p.48)
bullet Schuschnigg
bullet Mein Kampf (p.34)
bullet Plebiscite (p.106-)/Plebiscite Committee (p.127)
bullet Anschluss (p.108-)
bullet Fatherland Front (p.98)
bullet Goering (p.117-)
bullet Social Democrat (p.131-)
bullet Faith and Beauty (p. 155)
bullet Jungermadel Hike (p.156)
bullet National Socialist (p.162-)
bullet Repatriation (Austrian Legion Soliders) (p.175)
bullet Quota System (p.183)
bullet Hitler Youth (p.164)
bullet Ethnic Cleansing (p.226)
bullet Aryanization Bureau, Aryan Race (p.209)
bullet Jewish Befriender (p.221)
bullet SS/SA (p.48)
bullet Devil in Vienna
bullet Red Front Reaction (p.48)
bullet Dachau

Optional Activities/Extra Credit

  1. Viewpoint/Perspective- The student will write a series of three letters or poems. Each writing sample will be from the same person (a family member, friend, etc.). The three letters or poems will expose a significant incident, an event or a tragic circumstance at three different times.
  2. Describe an historical event depicted in the novel using a graphic organizer. Incorporate into the graphic organizer the following:
bullet The event description
bullet Who
bullet What
bullet Where
bullet Why
bullet How
bullet Significance

(3) Create a Found Poem. A Found Poem is a collection of luminous words or phrases quoted from a piece of literature. When read aloud, these words or phrases selected from the text form a Found Poem that focuses on the essence of the text. The Found Poem can be created after a piece of text or after an entire text is read. The Found Poem should enable the class to return to the text to focus on those vivid words or phrases used by the author.



Pages 1-60

  1. Begin a Double Entry Journal. This Journal should be continually updated as you read the novel. The Journal is to be completed as follows:
  2. In column one, copy phrases or sentences from the novel and class reading or discussion that you find intriguing or interesting or important. In column two, write your thoughts, ideas or opinions about these phrases or sentences. Your responses might indicate what the passage means, what it reminds you of, what you don't understand, how you feel about it, or any comment that seems appropriate.


    Passage from Document Response to Passage
    1)…A voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia 1)…This was the first time in history that a group of people created a government where there was none before.
    2)…By virtue hereof, to enact constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices from time to time… 2)… They promised to keep freedom and justice by laws, a just constitution and having elected officers.
    3)… As shall be thought most meet and convenient for the good of the colony… 3)…Any laws will be made primarily for the convenience of the people of the colony


  1. Split Open Mind. The split "open mind" represents a character a different time periods of their life. Fill in the head with symbols, images, drawings, and/or words that represent what your character is thinking or feeling.
  2. The students engages in a discussion of a literary text Literary Fishbowl is an activity in which a small group of while the reminder of the class observeswith others to create meanings in response to the . Participants interact novel, constructing new insights as they speak and listen to the insights of others.
  1. Form a group of three to four students.
  2. Group members prepare for discussion by reading and annotating the text and preparing notes. In addition, each member will write three starter questions that they believe will provoke a rich group exploration of the text.
  3. Each participant shares one question about the story. All participants pose a question before any are answered.
  4. Collaboratively, the group decides on one of the questions to begin with.
  5. Allow the discussion to develop naturally from the initial question. Return to other questions as needed, pose and respond to new ones that arise.
  6. Continue discussion for the time allotted, exploring the story as fully as possible.
  7. Each participant will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
bullet Contributes ideas freely
bullet Initiates and stimulates discussion with provocative questions
bullet Offers thoughtful and sound interpretive insights
bullet Provides feedback or builds on comments.
bullet Listens to others open-mindedly; is respectful of all contributions
bullet Encourages others to participate
bullet Helps keep the discussion focused; synthesizes or summarizes at times
bullet Provides enthusiasm, warmth and seriousness
bullet Helps maintain group harmony; Manages conflict
bullet Anchors discussion to text.
  1. Select two "React to Your Reading!" questions. Write a brief essay (1-2 pages) in response to your question. Essays will be evaluated based on thoughtfulness, use of supporting detail, resourcefulness, creativity, etc. Essays may be shared during whole class discussion.
  2. Choose three Key Concept Terms. One should be from the italicized part of the word list (See above). Write the terms' definitions and relate your definitions to the events in the novel and class/small group discussions.


Pages 60-120, 120-180 and 180-245)

  1. Continue making entries in your Double Entry Journal.
  2. Do a Split Open Mind representation for your chosen character.
  3. Please review the description of the Literary Fishbowl Activity to know what is expected and how group participants will be evaluated.
  4. Select two "React to Your Reading!" question. Write a brief essay (1-2 pages) in response to your question. Essays will be evaluated based on thoughtfulness, use of supporting detail, resourcefulness, creativity, etc. Essays may be shared during whole class discussion.
  5. Choose three Key Concept Terms. Write the terms' definitions and relate your definitions to the events in the novel and class/small group discussions.

Home • Up • Number the Stars • The Devil in Vienna • Strategies for Readers • Reasons to Teach • Language Acquisition • Bilingual Assessment • Portfolios • Amazon Rainforest & Web Thematic Unit • Teach with the Internet • All Kinds of Minds