This is my first time posting on History.SE, so I hope my question is appropriate for this site.

I've tried to look up the nationality of Friedensreich Hundertwasser's parents, that is Ernst and Elsa Stowasser. I managed to find out that she was Jewish and he Christian, however I found nothing on the which country they were born in (or perhaps even their further origins).

The reason I am asking is the peculiar name "Stowasser", "sto" meaning "hundred" in Czech.


  • Genealogy is specifically and explicitly off topic, read the help. – Tyler Durden Sep 10 '14 at 15:52
  • Reluctantly must agree with @TylerDurden, although I think this is a boundary question. Could we consider this a research methods question? or is the nationality of an individual simply too small to be "history"? – Mark C. Wallace Sep 10 '14 at 17:19
  • @MarkC.Wallace There is a reason why genealogy is off topic, and it is not because people are going to start asking about who their great grand dad is. The whole point is to stop questions like "who was Napolean's great grandfather and stuff like that?", precisely the type of question being asked here. – Tyler Durden Sep 10 '14 at 17:31
  • @MarkC.Wallace Don't get me wrong, I love genealogy, I am actually descended from Lion Gardiner, but this is not the right forum for it. I mean do you really want me to start making long posts about Lion Gardiner's family tree? – Tyler Durden Sep 10 '14 at 17:33
  • I have rephrased this as a question about etymology. Perhaps everyone is happy now... – fdb Sep 11 '14 at 23:41

The painter was born in Vienna as Friedrich Stowasser; he and his parents were Austrians. His artistic name “Hundertwasser” does in fact represent a translation of the Slavic sto to German Hundert. According to etymologists the name Stowasser is actually a reinterpretation of the name Stabossener, from the place name Stabossen in what is now the Czech Republic. So originally it has no connection with the German Wasser. There are some references here: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stowasser.

  • Could you provide a source on the parent's nationality? Otherwise thanks. I am aware of the translation but it is exactly that translation that sparked my interest - thinking perhaps there were some Czech origins (although if there were I imagine Czechs would be quite eager to jump on that and claim he was half/quarter/atleastabit Czech). – Dahn Sep 10 '14 at 10:22
  • Lots of Austrians have Slavic or Hungarian family names, as one would expect. Since the painter was born in Vienna his parents were presumably Austrian citizens, but this says nothing about their ultimate family origin. As I said, the name Stowasser/Stabossener points to the Czech lands. – fdb Sep 10 '14 at 10:26

Firstly "Hundertwasser" is German and means "Hundred water" (Friedensreich means both "rich of peace" and "realm of peace") so his name change didn't really change the meaning of that name.

He was born in Vienna, which is now in Austria. Wikipedia
He was born in 1928; His name suggests Czech origin so I assume that his parents were born in what now is the Czech Republic (And that they were born around 1908, certainly no later than 1915). In that timeframe there was the Austrian-Hungarian Empire of which a map can be seen here: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Austro-Hungary_Empire_%28orthographic_projection%29.svg

The region now known as the Czech Republic was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.

  • The Austro-Hungarian Empire ended in 1918. So in 1928 there is no such country. – fdb Sep 10 '14 at 10:14
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    @fdb I'll assume that he was born to parents older than 10.. but I revise my wording – user45891 Sep 10 '14 at 10:17
  • You wrote: "He was born in 1928; At that time there was the Austrian-Hungarian Empire". Your words, not mine. – fdb Sep 10 '14 at 10:18
  • Well that's the thing. The names seem to be Czech \ derived from Czech. But I could not find any source actually saying where they were from. – Dahn Sep 10 '14 at 10:23
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    You might also want to change "is" to "was" in the last sentence. – fdb Sep 10 '14 at 10:29

The family of F. Hundertwasser comes from Pressburg (current Bratislava, capital of Slovakia), they moved to Vienna and changed their name. Their original name was Stowasser, which is combination of Slovak word "sto" (hundred) and German word "wasser" (water). Just to update you - Slovakia, Czech republic, Hungary and Austria were at that time one Austrian-Hungarian Empire, so information on "Austrians" can be misleading. Also S. Freud was born in Pribor in Czech republic and his parents moved to Vienna, so he is always considered to be Austrian.

  • LOL, Freud wasn't born in the "Czech Republic". There was no republic on that territory. He was born in Freiberg in Mähren, Moravia, Austria-Hungary. After many events, this town is called Příbor and located in the Czech Republic. But the point is that the Czech and Slovak convention is to use the adjective "Austrian" for all citizens of Austria-Hungary whose native tongue was German - even for those who lived in the Czech lands or Slovakia in their whole life. – Luboš Motl Nov 3 '15 at 16:59

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