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Karl Pfeifer and his parents fled Austria in 1938 to Hungary, there he joined the socialistic-Zionist youth organization HaschomerHatzair in 1940. Before the German occupation of Hungary in the Second World War in January 1943 he successfully escaped as one of 50 children after an adventurous way to Palestine. There he lived in a kibbutz, served from 1946 in the elite troop Palmach and after the foundation of Israel he served in the Israeli army until 1950.
In 1951 he returned to Austria. From 1982 to 1995 he was editor of the "Gemeinde", the official organ of the Israelitecult-community Vienna.
In this function he pointed out in an article in 1995, that the political scientist Werner Pfeifenberger had used "Nazi tones" in the yearbook of the freedom party academy. Karl Pfeifer said that Pfeifenberger had played the Nazi regime down and accused the Jews for being responsible for Hitler's war in 1933. Afterwards Pfeifer got sued by Pfeifenberger and acquitted in two instances. When in 2000 the Vienna public prosecutor brought charges of re-Nazi activity against Pfeifenberger, he committed suicide. The editor of the right magazine "ZurZeit", Andreas Mölzer, called Pfeifer then in a press release to its subscribers, to be part of a "hunting party" which had Pfeifenberger driven into suicide – The "Jewish journalist" had released the "legal avalanche against Pfeifenberger ". In consequence of that Pfeifer sued for compensation and has now turned to the Austrian courts. On 15 November 2007 Pfeifer got under article 8 of the European Court of Human Rights right adjudicated – at the same time, the Republic of Austria was convicted to pay € 5,000 compensation for the failure of the courts.
Since the early 1990s he worked as a Vienna correspondent for Israeli radio and as a freelance journalist for the London monthly anti-fascist magazine "Searchlight" and the Budapest weekly newspaper "Hetek". Pfeifer also belongs to the board of trustees of the documentation archive of Austrian resistance.
In 2008 Mary Kreutzer produced a documentary for the "society for critical research on antisemitism" about his live named "Zwischen allen Stühlen.Lebenswege des Journalisten Karl Pfeifer ". The film was synchronised into Hungarian and has English subtitles. It was shown many times in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy and Israel. In 2011 the film was shown in the presence of Karl Pfeifer at the Austrian Institute of the Minnesota University in Minneapolis and in the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York.
- 2003: Joseph Samuel Bloch Medalo faction against anti-Semitismin Austria