English Biography

Karl Grohmann was born in 1918 on July 24th in Vienna as the eight of ten children. His father Leopold was a butcher, his mother Josephine a housewife. Karl grew up in an old building at Baumgasse 54, in Viennas 3rd district. After the elementary school, he went to a Teacher Education School, where he mastered in 1937 with distinction. Immediately after, he completed the Military-Service and then he served in the Army. During the Second World War he was sent to Germany, Poland, France — and from there to Russia. Karl was a Lieutnant-Colonel and was riding a horse with the name of „Giant“. In 1942 Karl was shot by an armor in Stalingrad (Russia) and suffered an injury on the left knee. Because of the intensive bleeding, he was immediately flown out of the war-zone to a field hospital. There, the doctors suggested to amputate his diseased leg. But Karl opposed vehemently to this operation: that is why he kept his foot after several hours of surgery in the hospital. But he would never be able to turn it on one side. Since that day Karl had a stiff knee .

In 1943 Karl married his long-time Pen-pal Elisabeth (born Bruhn). After the End of the 2nd World War in 1945, Karl returned to Austria as a Lieutenant, but because of his marriage with a German citizen, he had to move to Schönberg-Mecklenburg, Germany. There he worked as the principal of one of the biggest Schools.

In 1948 Karl and Elizabeth finally moved to Vienna. Karl started to teach as a major school teacher at several Viennese schools and he began studying German, Psychology and Pedagogy at the University of Vienna. He completed all Teaching profession-tests for Primary schools, Secondary schools, and Special schools. He was lucky to be able to do a three-year internship at the University Clinic for Psychiatry and Neurology of the University of Vienna for the Head of the Institute: the psychiatrist Hans Hoff. A man, that was openly called the successor of Sigmund Freud. In fact, Hans Hoff was the founder of the Viennese Psychiatric School and his first concern was to „establish the humanization of the clinics to ensure the dignity of the mentally ill„.

On July 7th in 1957, Karl became Doctor of Philosophy in all of the three topics he studied: German, Psychology and Pedagogy. In addition to his work as a teacher, he founded a small psychological office in Vienna’s 5th district.

In January 1964, the Planning Office of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was established in Vienna. It was located at the Favoritenstrasse 15, the 4th district, in the rooms of today’s private school Theresianum (that is where actor Christoph Waltz went to school). Karl worked there for a huge OECD-project, called „Education Planning and Economic Growth in Austria„.

In 1966, the Federal Ministry of Education and the Arts took over the OECD-Planning office and the team moved to larger offices at Wallnerstrasse 8 in Viennas 1st district — and later to Türkenstrasse 4 in the 9th district. Karl joined the Federal Service and became „Section Council„.

From 1970 until his retirement in 1982 he was the Head of the Scientific Department of Educational Statistics at the Federal Ministry of Education and the Arts and he received the title of „Ministerialrat„. This was a leading position in the Ministry and Karl was the Master Mind of the whole Ministry. He was also the Chief Strategist, because of his perfect negotiating skills. He was the best adviser that one could imagine for each Minister, but also for his colleagues.

In 1976 he married his second wife, Christine (born Podoschek) — the Love of his Life. He enjoyed his Life with her and his daughter Judith.

After his retirement, he started intensive talks with a politician from the Democratic Party (SPÖ) and then President of the Viennese City School, Hermann Schnell. Karl suggested, to carry out „aptitude tests for all candidates for teaching positions„. But because of the political situation at the time, this project has unfortunately never been realized.

30 years later, in 2010, the Austrian politicians discussed again Karls idea — and they even considered to pull it through. At the End they unfortunately didn’t realize the project.

As he retired in 1982, Karl started to follow his true passion and began to work as a Psychologist. He expanded his psychological office, worked as a Clinical Psychologist and became a leading European Expert on Children- and Youth-Psychology as well as Clinical Psychology for adults. In this position Karl has helped numerous people from different countries around the World. He was considered a „capacity in his department“. But the man always remained humble during his whole lifetime.

Karl had an open ear for the concerns of his clients and he could be reached at any time: whether by day, at midnight, even during the holidays.

One thing must be said: Karl Grohmann was a Humanist. He was also a guy, who liked to help people. He was more a listener and an observer. But when he spoke, his words had „hand and foot“ (as we would say in Austria). Because he was capable to analyze a problem in all his facets and then — to deliver the solution instantly. That is why he was so much appreciated by his clients. His word counted, because he was an authority in his domain. He had an incredible broad network that stretched across Austria, between the city council, politics and business, teachers and directors. But his network also crossed the borders to Bavaria, Berlin, Paris, Liechtenstein, Zürich — even to the United States of America.

Karl Grohmann was one of those extraordinary doctors, who believed in the well-being of human beeings — and who was perfectly able to help them.

In 1981, together with his best friend, the Director of the Pedagogical Academy in Vienna, Franz Beer, the two man published a Bestseller, called: „Schüler-Konditionstraining“ (= „Mental-Fitness-Training„) by Oldenburg-Verlag Vienna-Munich. Their book is meant to teach children more self-esteem by learning.

From this point onwards, Karl Grohmann was often invited as an expert on „mental fitnesslearning, tipps and tricks for practical application, schooling, but also examining anxiety“ on TV- and Radio-Shows. He became wellknown as the leading Psychologist  — over the borders of Austria.

In the 1980’s, Karl had his own — very successful —- series in the highly-regarded Austrian Broadcasting ORF afternoon-magazine entitled „We tell Learning Tricks: Learning Tipps for Students since their 12th year„. In the course of this series, several of his former protégés appeared in short episodes with their parents as actors, to demonstrate, how children can experience and cope with the school, the fear of exams, or the fear of teachers, in order to concentrate efficiently. The interplay between parents and pupils was also presented very vividly.

From 1987 onwards, he regularly worked as an author for a student newspaper, called „KLEX, the 1st Austrian Children’s Newspaper for Politics, Economics and Culture„, published by Austrian political journalist Peter-Michael Lingens, one of his best friends.

In 2000, Karl retired definitely. Many of his clients from Austria and abroad, as well as their children and Grandchildren, have kept contact with him until his last days.

Karl Grohmann died in Vienna on July 29, 2013 in the arms of his wife Christine.

The teacher for fathers — as the journalist Peter-Michael Lingens once called him in an portrait-article (that you can find on this homepage) — was 95 years old.

Among the most important Austrian awards that Karl Grohmann recieved, are the:

  • Great honorary decoration for services to the Republic of Austria
  • Austrian honorary decoration for science and art of the first class
  • Austrian honorary decoration second-class for science and art
  • Special Austrian decoration First class

Veröffentlicht Januar 1, 2017 von Judith Grohmann

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