Memorial opened for Jewish children, women and men from Austria who were murdered in the Shoah
Press release by the Austrian Federal Chancellery, 9 November 2021
On 9 November 2021, the 83rd anniversary of that night of terror in 1938 when the November pogroms erupted, the Shoah Wall of Names Memorial will be opened in Ostarrichi Park. On the initiative of the Austrian-born Holocaust survivor Kurt Yakov Tutter and the Association for the Creation of a Shoah Wall of Names Memorial, and in close cooperation with the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW), the work to realize this important remembrance project, which commenced in 2018, has now reached completion.
“With the Shoah Wall of Names Memorial, the Republic of Austria is sending a clear signal in recognition of its responsibility towards the victims. The names of the victims are engraved on 160 stone walls. The memorial therefore gives the victims back their names and, with them, at least a part of their dignity. We must remember that behind each of the 64,440 names is a human being – a child, a mother, a father, a neighbor – with an individual story and human fate. The memorial is a place that gives descendants the opportunity to remember their loved ones. And it should also be a place that conveys to visitors the extent of the Nazis’ contempt for humankind. Special thanks go to Kurt Yakov Tutter in particular, for his perseverance and dedication to the realization of this project,” said Chancellery Minister Karoline Edtstadler in her opening ceremony address. “It is vital that we continue remind ourselves of the atrocities mankind is capable of committing and make future generations aware of them. For this very reason it is important to champion a common Europe that remains a place of peace and freedom for all eternity,” Edtstadler said.
The 64,440 names of those immortalized on the Shoah Wall of Names Memorial were gathered from the victim database of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW). The Scientific Director of the DÖW, Gerhard Baumgartner, says: “On behalf of all our staff, we would like to congratulate Kurt Yakov Tutter and his supporters on achieving a successful outcome after decades in pursuit of the creation of a Shoah Wall of Names Memorial. It is a source of great pride that our many years of research have enabled us to succeed in documenting the exact names and dates of over 64,440 Austrian victims of the Shoah and, in doing so, to contribute to the successful realization of this great memorial project.”
The Secretary General of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism, Hannah Lessing, stated: “The Shoah Wall of Names Memorial creates a place for the victims in the collective memory. It is an invitation – to the families of the victims and to all people in Austria: Come and remember! Remember their fates and honor their lives! The memorial is also a place with great evocative effect: standing in the wide oval created by the granite slabs, surrounded by the 64,440 names with which they are engraved, you start to get a sense of the immense loss wrought by the Holocaust. The stone stelae make every single victim visible, every single name tangible, the 64,440 lives stolen palpable. The raw numbers will always be inconceivable. The names, however, touch people’s hearts. The new memorial is a powerful reminder never to allow such crimes to happen again.”
The memorial’s initiator Kurt Yakov Tutter was born in Vienna in 1930. In 1939 he fled to Belgium with his family. His parents were deported from Brussels to Auschwitz in 1942. Kurt and his sister Rita were hidden by a Belgian family in Ghent, saving their lives. In 1948, Kurt Tutter emigrated to Canada and has been living in Toronto ever since.
Wehofer Architekten ZT GmbH was responsible for the planning the design and realizing the memorial. The Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft m.b.H. (Federal Real Estate Company) was in charge of construction management. The National Fund of the Republic of Austria was entrusted with managing the finances, including public subsidies, donations and expenditure.
The remembrance project was implemented by the Federal Government under the patronage of the President of the National Council and in conjunction with the federal provinces, the City of Vienna and the Austrian National Bank. The project was majority financed by the Federal Government following a commitment by former Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in 2018. The Federal Provinces and the Federation of Austrian Industry also made financial contributions towards the project.
The mentioned entities bore the overall project costs of around 5.3 million euros.