Austria breaks ground for new Holocaust memorial

The new memorial is being erected in Vienna's central Ostarrichi Park.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Vienna
Vienna
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Austria broke ground Monday on a new memorial to the country's 65,000 Jews killed during the Nazi era, The Associated Press reports.

“The Memorial to the Jewish Children, Women and Men of Austria who were Murdered in the Shoah” being erected in Vienna's central Ostarrichi Park will consist of large slabs set in the ground in a circle, engraved with the names of the 64,000 victims who have been identified.

Another 1,000 are known to have been killed by the Nazis, but their names have been lost.

At the time of Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938, around 210,000 Jews lived in the country. Many fled, but later found themselves in Nazi hands again as the German armies swept westward to the English Channel and deep into the Soviet Union in the east.

The memorial is to be completed by next spring and is envisioned as a place of reflection, and both a tribute to those who lost their lives and a reminder of the perils of anti-Semitism.

There is only one entrance into the center of the circle formed by the slabs, which will create a “place of reverence” for visitors, according to the plans.

Austria's parliamentary speaker, Wolfgang Sobotka, said at Monday’s ceremony that nothing could remedy the crimes of the Holocaust, but that the memorial could serve as a warning for the future.

“There is no gesture of redress here, but there is a gesture of remembrance,” he said, according to AP.

Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was born in Austria, and his childhood home is located in the northern Austrian town of Braunau.

Earlier this month, Austrian officials unveiled plans to "neutralize" Hitler's birth house by turning it into a police station, with the building receiving some cosmetic changes in the process.

The home was taken into government control in 2016, after MPs approved an expropriation law specifically aimed at the property.

The move came after years of wrangling with the owner of the home, Gerlinde Pommer, who had been renting the house to the interior ministry since the 1970s and refused to sell it or carry out essential renovation works.

Pommer later campaigned to be compensated in full for the loss of her property. Last year , a court ordered the Austrian government to pay Pommer 1.5 million euros ($1.7 million).

Although Hitler only spent a short time at the property, it has attracted neo-Nazis and other extremists for years, with extremists making the trip to Braunau to take a picture in front of the building. Glorifying the Nazi era is a crime in Austria.



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