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Marianne Elisabeth Korwill (1911–1995)

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Marianne Elisabeth Hedwig Korwill, née Taussig (1911-1995) social and political activist

Birth: 4 February 1911 in Vienna, Austria, daughter of Oskar Adolph Taussig (1877-1958), an engineer, born at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, and Viennese-born Bertha, née Klein (1880-1956). Marriage: probably in Vienna about 1934 to Ferdinand Charles (Ferry) Korwill (1905-1996), engineer and artist. They had one daughter. Death: 14 March 1995 in Western Australia. 

  • Educated at Met with Fabian Society when young. Of Jewish background. Lived in Vienna with her husband and daughter (b.1936). By 1937 they decided to emigrate, and chose Australia. Needed help from her father who was a long-term Rotarian who 'pulled strings' which allowed them to leave. Rest of extended families stayed in Europe and were never heard of again.
  • Arrived at Fremantle, Western Australia, aboard the Oronsay on 27 September 1938. Her father and mother arrived in Australia in 1939 and joined Marianne in Perth, where Oscar taught in the University of Western Australia’s German Department, then moved to Sydney, NSW. Ferdinand’s widowed mother Otttilie Korwill, née Mandl (1877-1970), also arrived in Fremantle in 1939.
  • Ferdinand (Ferry) set up himself in trade as an engineer and artist and Marianne found herself at a loss in Perth at a time where they were viewed as 'Germans'. Family was moved to Fremantle where her husband was interned, causing humiliation and frustration but also safety in comparison to Europe.
  • the family was naturalised on 18 August 1944.
  • Upon her husband's release Marianne became depressed, viewing herself as a castaway on a desert island. They had previously met Mary Durack, and decided to seek her out so that Marianne could engage in intellectual discussions.
  • She recovered from her depression by also meeting with Mary Durack's friends and exchanging philosophies and books. She was co-founder of chamber music society.
  • Joined Australian Labor Party with her husband and both became members of State Executive.
  • Campaigned for over forty years against Vietnam War, capital punishment, nuclear weapons and for universal insurance, women's rights and environmental protection.

, 29 November 1996, p 17; immigration file A12508, item 21/2418 (National Archives of Australia); naturalisation file A715, item 4/1546 (National Archives of Australia).

Citation details

'Korwill, Marianne Elisabeth (1911–1995)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Taussig, Marianne Elisabeth

4 February, 1911
Vienna, Austria


14 March, 1995 (aged 84)
Western Australia, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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Passenger Ship
Political Activism