During the Era of the National Socialist Regime in Austria, Jewish children, women and men were persecuted, mocked, banished from their schools, driven out of their houses and dwellings. They were dismissed from their jobs and professional occupations, cut off from their livelihoods, robbed of all their belongings. They were told to “get out of the German Reich”.
Until the start of 1938, there lived in Austria about 210,000 Jews. They constituted 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.
49,000 were forcefully deported from Austria to Eastern Europe. 14,000 were deported from countries like Holland, Belgium and France, where they had sought refuge, but which were later occupied by the Nazi Wehrmacht. In foreign Ghettos they died of starvation, in forests they were shot and fell into mass graves, brutally they were annihilated in extermination camps.
These Austrians had lived here, founded families, laboured in workshops, started and led businesses, practiced professions. They excelled in the arts, in literature, in music and in science. Faithfully and conscientiously, they contributed to the general well-being and renown of Austria, their Homeland. They should be given the ultimate honour of having their Names engraved on a Memorial, in their beloved City of Vienna.
With the Memorial, we will restore to these 65,000 Austrians their Names and the human dignity which they had been so ruthlessly robbed of, in Vienna, and right across Austria.