Elise Richter

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Elise Richter.

Elise Richter (2 March 1865 – 23 June 1943) was a philologist. Born in Vienna to a middle-class Jewish family, the daughter of Dr. Maximilian (died 1891) and Emelie Richter (d. 1889), sister of Helene Richter who wrote on and translated English literature and drama, she studied Philosophy at the University of Vienna and received a Doctorate in 1901.

In 1905 she was the first woman to receive the Habilitation for her work on Romance languages. She became the first female Dozent (or assistant professor) in 1907, and was appointed an "Extra-Ordinary Professor" in 1921, although she never received an Ordinary Professorship. From 1920 she chaired the Association of Austrian Academic Women (Verband der Akademikerinnen Österreichs).

After the Anschluss, and the introduction of Nazi anti-semitic policies in Austria, which excluded people of Jewish origin from public life, Richter was dismissed from her post. Along with her sister Helene, who lived with her, she was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp on 9 October 1942. She died there on 23 June 1943.

The Elise Richter Program of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), which provides support for women studying towards a career as a professor, is named in her honour.

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