Two large white marble blocks emprisoning human bodies open a small passage to a life size bronzen jew bending down to clean the streets.Austrian artist Alfred Hrdlicka rocked the public conscience about the atrocities of World War II with his ‘Memorial Against War and Fascism’.Now a massive Holocaust Memorial contrasts with the square’s lush baroque town houses: The huge concrete cube is meant to resemble a library filled with 65,000 books.Each volume symbolises an Austrian Jew who died during the Nazi Regime.The one located in the ninth district is the most beautiful and oldest of all local cemeteries.Set in a leafy green compound in Seegasse on Alsergrund, it lets you explore up to 500 year old inscripted tombstones.The Viennese would have appreciated some more positive and forward looking symbolism to look at when on their way to work, the opera or shopping.After the memorial had been set up in 1988, many tourists mistook the jew for a cosy bench to have their sandwiches: He has been wrapped up in barbed wire since.
In recent years, Jewish life has grown more vibrant around the synagogue and popular Karmelitermarkt.
As for today, what is the situation with the Extreme Right in Austria?
Unlike any other national research centre, the Documentation Archive of Austrian Resistance collects documents, objects, proofs and memories of national Nazi terror. Location: Altes Rathaus, Wipplinger Strasse 6 – 8, 1010 Vienna Opening hours (permanent exhibition): Monday to Wednesday, Friday (work days) 9am to 5pm; Thursday 9a, to 7pm The city has five Jewish cemeteries.
When I joined the tour we visited key sites of Nazi Vienna during the Second World War such as the site of the Gestapo house, and learned about the Jewish community.
On balance, I found the most revealing part of the tour was our visit to the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance. If you have personal roots in the city, this tour will give you privacy and a peaceful walk.
Location: Seegasse 9 to 11, 1090 Vienna Opening Times: Monday to Friday 7am to 3pm; Access through local residence for the Elderly (‘Pensionistenheim’) If you would like to learn about Jewish life in Vienna I think the best way is to meet with private individuals in a fun way.