Above/featured: Shoah Namensmauern Gedenkstätte (Holocaust Wall of Names memorial site).
I drag my fingers gently down each stone block, across the fine indentations and the print of countless names.
I give quiet voice to each name I see.
In Vienna’s 9th district is a small green space, Ostarrichi Park, in front of the Österreichische Nationalbank (Austrian National Bank). The park is home to the Shoah Namensmauern Gedenkstätte (Holocaust Wall of Names Memorial), dedicated to over 64-thousand Austrian Jews murdered during the Nazi regime. Public inauguration of the memorial occurred on 9 November 2021 on the 83rd anniversary of the Pogromnacht.
The establishment and realization of the memorial has been a lifelong project for Vienna-born Holocaust survivor Kurt Yakov Tutter, who with his family fled to Belgium in 1930. Kurt and his younger sister, Rita, survived with the help of a Belgian family; their parents were deported and murdered in Auschwitz.
He made a new home in Toronto, Canada, where in 2000 he began working to create a memorial to murdered Austrian Jews. Funding from the national Austria state emphasized the enormous significance of the historical memorial; responsibility for continuing maintenance of the memorial is now shared by the Austria National Fund and the City of Vienna.
The names of over 64-thousand children, women, and men are engraved onto 160 slabs of granite; the slabs are arranged in an oval ring. Within the open and uncovered space, visitors to the memorial can walk briskly past each vertical block, but the air is thick with names.
Selma ABZUG, geboren/born 1886
Ernst ADLER, geb./b. 1904
David ALBRECHT, geb./b. 1871
Grete ALTMANN, geb./b. 1928
Therese WEISZ, geb./b. 1867
Eva WELLISCH, geb./b. 1933
Alfred WERTHEIM, geb./b. 1920
Edmund WESTFRIED, geb./b. 1890
Audio: Mr. Tutter speaks about Austria’s very late road to dealing with the past (Vergangenheitsbewältigung) and why he created the Wall of Names project.
( Click here for images and more )