During the Era of the National Socialist Regime in Austria, Jewish children, women and men were persecuted, mocked, banished from their schools and driven out of their houses and dwellings. They were dismissed from their jobs and professional occupations, cut off from their livelihoods and robbed of all their belongings. They were told to “get out of the German Reich”.
Until the beginning of 1938, about 210,000 Jews lived in Austria, constituting barely 3% of the country’s population. 65,000 of them were unable to escape from continental Europe. Of these, 2,000 were either killed in Austria or sent to the Dachau and Buchenwald camps, where very few survived.
49,000 were forcibly deported from Austria to Eastern Europe. Another 14,000 were deported from countries where they had sought refuge such as Holland, Belgium and France, but which were later occupied by the Nazi Wehrmacht. In foreign ghettos they died of starvation, were shot in forests and fell into mass graves. Many of them were brutally annihilated in extermination camps.
These Austrians had lived here, founded families, laboured in workshops, started and led businesses, practised professions. They excelled in the arts, in literature, in music and in science. Faithfully and conscientiously, they had contributed to the general well-being and renown of Austria, their Homeland. During World War I they had dutifully served in the Austrian Army. They should be given the ultimate honour of having their Names engraved on a Memorial, in their beloved City of Vienna.
The Memorial will at least restore to these 65,000 Austrians their Names and the human dignity of which they had been so ruthlessly robbed in Vienna and across Austria.