Viktor Ullmann’s father

Was it possible  that Gustav Mahler and Maximillian Ullmann could have been childhood friends?

Viktor Ullmann’s father Maximillian Ullmann Edler von Tannfels was born in Jihlava in Southeast Moravia, on 12 December 1861 – and he died in Vienna on 24 March 1938.

jihlava

Britnice Moravia is mentioned as the family place of residence on the documents that remain for Johannes and Felicia at Kew Public Records Office.

Interestingly, Gustav Mahler moved with his family in October in his birth year of 1860 to Jihlava (German name Iglau). Iglau was a thriving strongly commercial town where Gustav’s early musical influences were street music, folk songs, dance tunes, trumpet calls and marching military bands. Mahler also died in Vienna, on 18th May 1911.

Gustav Mahler was Ullmann’s muse and real inspiration throughout his life.

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Gustav Mahler, photographed in 1907 at the end of his period as director of the Vienna Hofoper (Wikimedia)

Edler von Tannfels had a most distinguished career as an officer in the Austrian Imperial Army, decorated with the Iron Cross for his outstanding bravery serving in the Great War. From Kriegsarchives it is clear that Maximillian Ullmann returned his Iron Cross shortly before his death. Viktor Ullmann was awarded with the Silver Medal for his bravery fighting on the Italian Front in the Great War. See the Kriegsarchive documents (PDF).

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It was when Maxmillian Ullmann was stationed at Teschen Army barracks in Silesia that Viktor Ullmann was born there 1st January 1898.

teschen

I have often pondered on a probable connection between Viktor Ullmann’s father and the kindly figure of death being an old soldier who has gone on strike on the battlefield from Ullmann’s opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis….

Alas so far Maximillian Ullmann Edler von Tannfels childhood is shrouded in mystery. There is a place name in Moravia – Britnice – once a thriving Jewish Shetl and perhaps the place where Maximillian Ullmann Edler von Tannfels’ father had a factory.

A pseudonymn for Viktor Ullmann was Josef von Tannfels!

Header photo by Palickap

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Jihlava in 1899