Wall of names Holocaust memorial inaugurated in Vienna

The inauguration of the Shoah Wall of Names, engraved with the names of some 64,440 Austrian Jews who were killed or perished during the Holocaust, took place in Vienna on Tuesday, the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht.

It is the first state-funded Holocaust memorial to include the names of the victims and is located in a prominent area of ​​central Vienna.

Although there is a Holocaust memorial in the Austrian capital, the Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial, its design is ambiguous and does not include the names of the victims.

The opening ceremony in Ostarrichi Park was attended by Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg. Israel’s Ambassador, Mordechai Rodgold; Hannah Lessing, Secretary General of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism; Holocaust survivors, the Mayor of Vienna, Michael Ludwig; Oskar Deutsch, President of the Vienna Jewish Community; Leaders of the Jewish community and other dignitaries; as well as the Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Nachman Shai, and the descendants of the survivors of the families of the murdered Jews.

“Family members of the victims can come to the memorial for the first time to see the names of their parents or grandparents, light a candle and remember their family members who were killed in the Holocaust,” Deutsch said, speaking at the event. .

The entrance to the Shoah Wall of Names Memorial with the names of 64,000 Austrian Jews who were killed in the Holocaust is seen before its inauguration in Vienna, Austria, on November 9, 2021 (credit: REUTERS / LISI NIESNER) .

Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen, who was scheduled to attend, was unable to do so because his secretary was diagnosed with COVID as a result of which the president is in quarantine.

Last month, as a prelude to Tuesday’s event, the mayor opened an exhibition at Vienna’s central train station, marking the 80th anniversary of the deportations of Jews from across the German Reich. The first transport left Vienna on October 15, 1941.

The exhibition serves as a reminder of a dark period in Austrian history and is another indication that a number of Austrian governments are accepting responsibility for the past and ensuring that the lesson will be passed on to future generations.

The Republic of Austria designated 2018 as the Year of Remembrance and Reflection and decided to create a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust who were Austrian citizens.

The monument, like the exhibition at the train station, is designed to raise awareness of where evil can lead and provide a place where the memories of men, women and children who lost their lives without no other reason than the fact that they were Jews.

It is a place where today’s Austrians can reflect on the atrocities and basic lack of human compassion that characterized a generation from the not-so-distant past and where tomorrow’s generations can learn the lesson of Never Again.

The National Fund has for several years supported efforts to create a memorial whereby victims of the Holocaust can be remembered by name and not just as a numerical statistic. The Shoah Wall was created at the initiative of Austrian-born Holocaust survivor Kurt Yakov Tutter and the Association for Building a Shoah Wall of Names.

Construction began in the summer of 2020 and was completed in October 2021.

Hours earlier, on Tuesday, EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor presented a comprehensive study aimed at defeating anti-Semitism.

The study was carried out under the patronage of the President of the Austrian National Council, Wolfgang Sobotki, the City of Vienna and the EJC.

The five-volume study resulted from a high-level conference held in Vienna in 2018, after which some of the foremost minds from the University of Vienna, New York University, Tel Aviv University, and the EJC came together. to brainstorm about ending anti-Semitism. , which is the title of the study.

Speaking at the Liechtenstein Palace, where the study’s publication was officially unveiled, Kantor described it as the most ambitious study of the problem of anti-Semitism. He stressed that it details the bases for a united, connected and preventive action.

The EJC intends to distribute the study as widely as possible so that it can be used by governments, academic and religious institutions, the media, and others.

The study represents the combined thinking of 120 international experts of different nationalities, beliefs and professions, including Katharina von Schnurbein, coordinator of the European Commission on the fight against anti-Semitism.

At the inauguration of the Wall of Names, Schallenberg said that behind each name there was a person and behind each person a story.

He said Austria should not ignore the fact that there were Austrian collaborators who helped seal the fate of these Jews.

What happened during the Holocaust still defies understanding, he said.

Shai, who is on an official visit to Austria and attended the ceremony, also attended the national Austrian Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Judenplatz in Vienna on Tuesday morning.

After the event, Minister Shai spoke with the president of the National Council, the lower house of the Austrian parliament, Wolfgang Sobotka, and warned against the growing wave of anti-Semitism.

“Hatred against the Jewish people has taken on new and vicious forms throughout Europe and the world in recent years … Anti-Semitism is not a problem that Israel, nor the Jewish people in general, can solve on their own. It is the responsibility of nations and institutions around the world to act, ”Shai said.

“The State of Israel appreciates the Austrian government’s commitment to preserving Jewish life through its investment in community security and the adoption of a national strategy to combat anti-Semitism. We will work in partnership with you to ensure that Austria, and all of Europe, is a place where the Jewish people can live fully and safely. “


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