VIENNA—Construction of Austrias first public monument naming all the countrys Holocaust victims began on June 22, a further step by Adolf Hitlers native land towards confronting an issue it has long struggled with.
For decades after World War II, Austria denied responsibility for crimes committed by the Nazis, arguing that it was the first victim, despite the enthusiasm with which many citizens had welcomed annexation by Hitlers Germany in 1938.
While the country now recognizes that Austrians were perpetrators as well as victims of Nazi crimes, it hasnt confronted that chapter of its history as openly or directly as Germany.
“Berlin has one. Paris has one. Vienna had none. But the day has finally come today,” Oskar Deutsch, president of the Jewish Community (IKG), the body officially representing Austrias Jews, said at a ceremony marking the start of construction work.
The new monument, located in a park next to Austrias central bank, will comprise a ring of upright stone slabs around an island of trees, and will identify all 64,259 Austrian victims of the Holocaust. It is due to be inaugurated in a years time.
“Remembering means commemorating the victims of the Shoah. This remembering and our history increase our responsibility, the responsibility daily and together to do everything to ensure that something like this never happens again,” Deutsch said.
Ironically, the project was first backed in 2018 by a previous coalition government of current Chancellor Sebastian Kurzs conservatives and the far-right Freedom Party (FPO), which was founded in the 1950s by foRead More – Source