Austria dedicated a new memorial to murdered Jews this week, on the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht.
The Shoah Wall of Names Memorial is Austria’s first public Holocaust memorial and is seen as a gesture that the European country is finally taking public responsibility for its past – something Austria has been notorious for avoiding for decades.
The memorial, located in Ostarrichi Park in the centre of Vienna, pays tribute to the 64,440 Austrian Jewish children, women and men who lost their lives during the Holocaust.
“With this wall, we pull their names and their history out of oblivion. We give them back their identity, their individuality and that part of their humanity. And they once again have a place in their homeland,” said Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg. He added: “It is all the more our task to actively protect Jewish life in Austria and Europe, and to speak out against any form of antisemitism without any ifs or buts.”
The Chancellor was joined at the unveiling by the Speaker of the Austrian Parliament and other senior Government figures, as well as European Union officials and members of the Jewish community. The President of Austria was due to attend but is in quarantine over COVID exposure.
The memorial is made up of 180 “Kashmir Gold” granite slabs, each one metre wide and two metres high. They were produced in India, polished in Italy and then engraved over seven months in Austria.
Earlier this year, a Jewish group reported that it has received its highest number of recorded antisemitic incidents in Austria for the last twenty years.
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(Campaign Against Antisemitism)