In 1952, Josef Eiselt (born in 1912, Figure 7), was hired as Wettstein's successor at the Museum. A student of Jan Versluys
(1873-1939), Eiselt wrote his thesis on "Bau und Funktion des Mittelohres der Frösche und Kröten" (Structure and function
of the middle ear in frogs and toads), which was later published under a different title (Eiselt, 1941). This topic led to
his contact with Otto von Wettstein as early as 1936. Thanks to Otto Pesta (1885-1974), director of the crustacean collection,
Eiselt became familiar with the Museum of Natural History, benefiting from Pesta's "Tours through the zoological exhibits
of the Museum of Natural History" as an introduction to zoological systematics. Pesta drew Eiselt's attention to siphonostomatous
cyclopoid copepods. Eiselt retained his interest in these semiparasitic microcrustaceans even later during his later tenure
in the herpetological collection, eventually publishing eight papers on these animals.
Eiselt joined the Museum's ranks as a volunteer on 3 May 1939. His salary was so small that he saw no alternative but to take
on a position at the Institute of Zoology at the University of Vienna on 1 December 1939. His induction into the armed forces
in 1940 interrupted his scientific career. After the war his position was occupied by someone else and between 1946 and 1949
he was forced to find work as a transport laborer under the British occupation forces. Even during these very difficult times,
Eiselt managed to help rebuild the Institute of Zoology, organized exhibits, and was active as consultant at the Federal Scientific
Cinematographic Agency and at the Institute for Nature Conservation. At the age of 40, after additional jobs as a high school
teacher and scientific assistant at the Institute of Zoology, University of Vienna, Josef Eiselt was hired by the Museum on
1 September 1952.
Despite totally inadequate technical resources and lack of staff, yet with great personal commitment, he set about organizing
the return, and revised systematic arrangement, of the evacuated herpetological material. It required 15 years to restore
the collection to a level that satisfied the highest curatorial standards and enabled systematic research to be conducted.
During this period, Eiselt attended only a single zoological symposium (London, 1958) and undertook one excursion to Sorrento
Participation in the Nubian expedition in 1962 (Eiselt and Beier 1962) inaugurated a period of highly successful collection
and study trips for Eiselt. His journeys took him to Turkey more than ten times, to Iraq four times, as well as to Afghanistan,
Italy, and Greece. The focus of the collection and research activity on the Near East and subsequent intensive publication
activity led to a specialization of the herpetological collection in this region (Bauer and Tiedemann 1978).
On 1 January 1972, Josef Eiselt became director of the vertebrate collections at the Museum of Natural History Vienna, a position
he held for five years until his retirement in 1977. He was bestowed the title "Wirklicher Hofrat" for his achievements as
civil servant, and awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class, for his scientific work. Freed from
a myriad of administrative duties, Eiselt resumed his research on the herpetofauna of the Near East with undiminished vigor.
Additional study trips to Turkey followed in 1984, 1986, 1988, and 1990. Eiselt has been cooperating for many years with Josef
Friedrich Schmidtler (born in 1942 in Munich) and since 1977 with Ilya Sergeevich Darevsky (born in 1925 in St. Petersburg)
in studying this material. The valuable collections of both Schmidtler and Darevsky from Turkey and the Transcaucasian territory
complement the specimens here in Vienna. The progressive examination of the herpetofauna of these regions, with emphasis on
the lacertilian fauna, including the problem of unisexual reproduction, is being currently pursued by Eiselt. The result should
be a synopsis of the Lacertilia of Asia Minor and the Caucasus. The herpetological collection, with a total of approximately
220,000 specimens, was later under the custody of the authors of this historical account, F. Tiedemann and H. Grillitsch which
were supported by A. Cabela and R. Gemel. From 2017 on Silke Schweiger is responsible for the custody of the herpetological