Wall of names commemorates 64,440 murdered Jews

For more than 20 years, the now 91-year-old Kurt Yakov Tutter had campaigned for a wall of names to commemorate the 64,440 Austrian Jews murdered during the Nazi era. The memorial was officially opened on Monday. The date was chosen deliberately: the November pogroms took place 83 years ago, Jews were murdered and injured, synagogues burned down, shops looted.

In 1939, at the age of nine, Tutter and his parents – they owned a toy store that was Aryanized – fled from Austria to Belgium. In 1942 his parents were deported from Brussels to Auschwitz and murdered, Tutter lost more than 30 family members. He and his sister survived; they were hidden by a Belgian family. In 1948 Tutter emigrated to Canada, where he still lives today.

There was no grave for his parents. The desire for a public memorial where he can mourn did not let go of him. A memorial was opened at Judenplatz in 2000, but the Shoah victims were not named.

Tutter persistently promoted the project, the documentation archive of the Austrian Resistance compiled the names from the database of victims. He was finally heard by the then Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (VP) – who was present at the opening yesterday; This secured the project the necessary financial resources totaling 5.3 million euros. Some of this was contributed by the federal states and sponsors such as the Federation of Industrialists. After a long search for a suitable location, the stone monument was erected in Vienna’s Ostarrichi Park on the area between the National Bank and the Old General Hospital. The construction company responsible for this had used Jewish slave labor during the Nazi era.

The names of the Jewish victims can be found on the 160 parts of the wall made of sandstone granite. It was decided not to commemorate the murdered Roma and Sinti at this point.

210,000 Jews lived in Austria in 1938, after the end of the war there were only 2,000 to 5,000, said Federal Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg. The oldest victim was 101 years old, the youngest a baby. “With this wall of names we are snatching the victims from oblivion,” declared the Chancellor. You lost your home then, said Tutter. With the erection of the wall, the murdered Jews were given their names back.


Yesterday marked the 83rd anniversary of the Reichspogromnacht. “It is important to be vigilant and to speak out,” appealed to Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen. The ministers Karoline Edtstadler and Alma Zadic took over the patronage for a video campaign: Synagogues were digitally reconstructed in Vienna and Linz. The SPÖ and Neos also called for vigilance. FP boss Herbert Kickl drew comparisons to the “freedom-robbing corona policy”.


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