Johann Breitwieser Breitwieser-Schani
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Grandpa's Cousin or
Johann Schani1 Breitwieser

13/4/1891-1/4/1919

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death TV station W24 published a video called Schani Breitwieser: „Der beste Einbrecher den wir hatten“. (The best burglar we ever had.)

Two boys stroll through Meidling2 not too long before the first World War. One of them is in primary school, the other is a teenager, almost grown up.

»Hang on a second, I'll be right back.« says the older one. Not a minute later he returns and from his jacket produces a round of sausage: »Here you go.«

The young boy will one day, when he is head of a family, tell his oldest son: »I had no idea what was going on. To this day I haven't got a clue where he picked that sausage.«

Most probably it came from one of the horse carriages that were used to transport goods at that time. The puzzled school boy was my grandfather, Karl Strasser, the caring thief was his cousin, who was thirteen years older, Johann Schani Breitwieser, later to become a legend as the burglar king and Robin Hood of Vienna.

My grandfather enjoyed the walks with him: »We always had good fun.«

This website endeavours to approach the man Johann Breitwieser, as well as the legend of Schani. Thanks go to everyone who committed to these pages for their work and to all the visitors for their interest.

Michael Strasser

1 Schani, from French Jean, is a Viennese diminuitive for Johann (John).
2 The 12th district of Vienna