The Babenbergerhof chronicle
The history of the Breyer household
The gastronomic-dynasty's ansestor was Karl Breier, who was born in Hotzenplotz, a small village in the parish of Jägerndorf of the "Imperial Austrian dutchy Schlesia" in 1862. As Emperor Franz Josef and his Sisi celebrated their silver anniversary in 1879, the young Karl came to Vienna and begain his professional training in the hotel "Stadt Frankfurt" in the then outskirt of Hernals. Although Karl's ambition made him head chef in the the Grand-hotel on the Opernring, his real goal was to run his own establishment.
The dream of a Gasthaus
The young Karl had been busy saving money, so that when he finally fell in love with his pretty colleague Hedwig Schabetzberger, there was nothing to stop him from opening his own operation. Shortly after the marriage on the 11th of November 1891 the young couple took over the Hotel-Restaurant "Kaiser von Österreich" in Mödling, Hauptstraße 57, and had it renovated and modernised. Breiers establishment - his name was with an "i" in those days - was soon well known. In 1903 the generally loved and respected hotelier was awarded a prominent gastronomic position in the parish of Mödling.
In the year 1913 the successful hotelier bought the neighbouring house, Hauptstraße 55 with the intention of turning both properties into a hotel. However, the "Shots in Sarajevo" and the subsequent outbreak of war foiled these plans. Despite the high inflation after the 1st world war the Brier Family, which had swelled to 8 children, managed to carry on running the hotel. Karl Brier was so successful that he was able to buy the hotel "Zum goldenen Hirschen" in 1927 in the Babenbergergasse. In reference to his new home, the Babenberg town of Mödling, he called it "Hotel Restaurant Babenbergerhof". Nearly all of his children were to become active in the gastronomic branch. Whilst he kept the original house, the "Kaiser von Österreich" , he procured the Gasthaus "Zur Krone" for his eldest son Alfons in the Elisabethstraße no. 10. his sons Hans and Anton went to South America and became hotel directors in the Argentinean city of Medoza. Carl was also in the hotel business in Plainfield N.Y. in the USA. The fifth son Joseph became a butcher, and the only daughter Hedwig worked in the parental business until her marriage. When Karl Breyer bought the Gasthof "Zum goldenen Hirschen" in 1927, he made his second youngest son Viktor the director of the new "Babenbergerhof". Only the youngest son Leopold ended up outside the gastronomic frame: he was less of a money maker, and more of a money manager; as director of the local bank.
The Gasthaus "Zum goldenen Hirschen"
In the market town of the middle ages, there were two houses situated on the site of the present "Babenbergerhof". The oldest document can be found in the women's convent of St. Jakob in Vienna dated 1468. Hans and Walpurg Pirichinger were "Erbzinsleute", i.e. tenants with right of inheritance to the so-called "Butcher's houses". So, even back then they would slaughter here, and supposedly then cook as well. In the course of the centuries the owners, and the purpose of the building changed. The Mödling municipal register of 1871 describes a "one-story house with 4 rooms, sheds, cow and house stalls, and a cellar". In 1900 the new owner, Adolf Nitsch rebuilt the little Gasthaus "Zum goldenen Hirschen", (where the Mödling Male-voice choir was founded in 1848), into a modern hotel-restaurant.
His house trade-mark, a stag's head with mighty antlers was set up on the corner of the Babenbergergasse-Jasomirgottgasse. It stood the test of time, even the "Russian vandalism", and can now be admired in the Weinstüberl, (Wine-bar). Not only the people of Mödling have always felt at ease in the shade of the chestnut trees, but also the officer corps of the military academy chose it as their "Casino". In 1912, the garden hall saw the film pioneer Karl Juhasz showing his silent films, prior to the building of the Mödling stage.
The Hotel-Restaurant Babenbergerhof
When Karl Breyer bought Nitsch's Gasthaus in 1927 he called it the "Babenbergerhof". A bowling alley was built, and the veranda was extended into a dance hall, which witnessed countless dancing events, along with the legendary Liesinger Brauhof and the rooms in "Kaiser von Österreich". The house also witnessed gatherings of various civil and national political parties in this politically disturbed time between the wars. In 1936 Viktor married the tenant's daughter of the Liesinger Brauhof, Hildegard Steiner. Upon the death of the father, one year later, Viktor became the head of the house. The happiness of this young couple was complete, especially when on the 11th of August, their son Karl was born.
The second world war and the soviet occupation
The second world war began on the 1st of September 1939, and with it, officers of the German Wehrmacht moved into the hotel. One year later the Breyers were blessed with a daughter, who was named after the mother Hildegard. Viktor managed to remain exempt from military service due to health reasons, but then in 1943, he had to head off to the front, like his father 29 years before him. His wife Hildegard was then left to run the hotel all by herself, with her mother and two small children.
With the advent of the first bombing raids, the Babenbergerhof was turned into an anti-aircraft radio command HQ. The Wehrmacht abandoned the place, fled in panic before the advancing Russians in April 1945 thereby sealing the house's doom. The hotel was occupied by the Russians, confiscated, and used as a stopover for Russian soldiers. It was occasionally used as a prison, or as Karl Breyer, (lovingly known as Charley by his regulars), will tell you, also used as a "Russian Brothel". For ten years Russian officers lived in the once beautiful house, along with their families. Hildegard Breyer was not allowed to enter her house, and found refuge in a neighbouring cellar with her mother and two children until the occupational forces designated her a small apartment. In these hard times, with no news from the missing husband Viktor, the chances of taking up the running of the hotel sank to zero.
It was not until after the signing of the state treaty in 1955 that the utterly devastated building was handed back to its owners. Incidentally, as one of the very last in the whole of Lower Austria. It had by this time also become certain that Viktor Breyer wouldn't be coming back anymore. In August of 1955 he was officially declared as having been killed in the year 1944, and Hildegard had to take up running the hotel by herself. The biggest problem turned out to be the acquisition of money in the form of bank loans. Nobody then believed that it might be possible to turn this ruin into a hotel. These worries were added to by the job of educating the children - professionally - in hotel and catering. She managed to send Karl to Vienna to the hotel and catering high school, and after a successful completion of his schooling, Charley went off on seasonal work. Firstly to the hotel "Werzer" in Pörtschach and then to Bad Gastein in the "Hotel Bellevue". Further stops were at the "Royal" in Lausanne and the hotel "Dreesen" in Bad Godersberg on the Rhein. Whenever he was at home, he would support his mother in the rebuilding of the hotel, and put his newly gained knowledge and experience to good effect in the kitchens.
New, modern aspects according to the plans of the architect Ernst Sölder and building under supervision of KR. Josef Schleussner signalled the revitalisation of the house. Unfortunately, the utterly destroyed dance hall, the front tract on the Jasomirgottgasse, and the bowling alley, could no longer be saved. On the 15th of August 1957, it was done. The children's hard work and Hildegard Breyer's immutable belief in a future for this house, so rich in tradition, finally bore fruit.
The hotel restaurant Babenbergerhof is reopened
Karl and Hildeard ran the hotel together with their mother, which soon established itself as one of the leading establishments in Mödling, and indeed, the whole of Lower Austria. In 1965 Karl married "His Elfi" - Elfriede Drechsler, who by then was also working in the family business. In November 1966, the new heir to the family Breyer was born. He was of course named Carl, with a c, like his great-uncle, and two years later he was followed by a daughter called Brigitta.
The hard years left their mark on mother's health, and when she died in 1973, Carl took over the family business, and carried on the tradition with his wife and sister, in the Breyr Vein. "Charly" was not only loved for his culinary skill, but also for his humour; with its often exact, yet good-natured arm-pulling. His skilled knowledge was such that he is appointed to the hotel-executive committee of Lower Austria in 1976. He earned many laurels in training apprentices as part of the ARGE professional training program - even in his own hotel. This was always a matter very close to his own heart, and he was also examiner for the final apprentice qualification as well as being in the commission for granting licences.
The son Carl has also been active in the parental house since 1986. He especially values the new steps made in modern nutrition, and cooks accordingly. "Charley and his team" are known far beyond the town limits for their gastronomic and social events. Carnival parties, traditional Austrian banquets, garden parties with draught beer, barbeque evenings, garden concerts and weddings, all year round. Locals evenings such as the "Moist Corner", or the "Achterlrunde" (A wine meet), but also the club evenings of the Rotary-club are proof of the popularity of the Babenbergerhof."
1987/88 saw the addition of a new three story tract with 30 double rooms, a spacious cellar with utility rooms, and a sauna. The "Brückenbar" (Bridge bar) was also opened in the spate of renovations undertaken in 1990/91, and has now become one of the popular meeting place of the Mödling "Scene". Today the hotel offers 50 rooms for over 100 guests. three guestrooms, the hotel-bar, the wine-bar with wine-cellar/shop, and the shady chestnut garden with seating for 110.
After the early death of the much loved "Charly" on the 4th of August 1995, the responsibility has fallen to the junior manager Carl. And it is again down to the Breyerish family feeling: together with his mother Elfriede, his aunt Hildegard and his sister Brigitta, he now runs this traditional Mödling gastronomic establishment , following in Charly's footsteps.
The whole gastronomic line was changed and modernised along with his partner Irene in the year 2000. The doors of the town were opened and a new way into the future, into the new millennia began.