Brochure "Remembrance for the Future"

There are still plenty of traces of events and personalities in Vienna’s history to be found in the city today. But how and where? A brochure published by the city of Vienna provides the answer.

Schoa monument by Rachel Whiteread at Judenplatz

The memorial on Judenplatz for the Austrian Jews killed in the Shoah.

There are many things that make Vienna a beautiful and interesting city to live in. Among its greatest attractions are the things that are no longer there: its history. A tiny part of the history of Vienna can still be seen through its buildings and monuments. For the rest we are reliant on books and stories. However interesting and important the Mozarthaus is, for example, it is hardly an obvious landmark of the city but rather the result of deliberate cultivation of Vienna's cultural heritage. It is only in this way that inhabitants and visitors to the city have the opportunity to experience the life of this genius at an original scene of his creativity.

Cultural heritage

In the case of Mozart this cultivation of history can perhaps be explained by local patriotism and tourist interest, but Vienna is also aware of its responsibility to keep up the memory of other less positive aspects of its history as well. There have been a number of measures, for example, to preserve the memory of the crimes committed during the Nazi era. Those responsible speak of "active remembrance" and the "culture of commemoration".

These terms can be found in the brochure "Erinnern für die Zukunft" (Remembering for the Future), subtitled "Wien und seine Gedächtniskultur" (Vienna and its Commemorative Culture), which describes in full the possibilities and also the underlying measures. It is divided into four sections "History in Vienna", "Jewish Vienna", "Cemeteries and Honorary Graves" and "Everyday History: Streets and Public Spaces".

History in Vienna

This area describes how history is dealt with in museums. The most important museum in this regard, of course, is Wien Museum, which contains everyday objects, artefacts of all kinds and works of art relating to the never-ending evolution of the city. Apart from museums, however, there is also the City Library and "The Atrocities of Nazi Medicine: Commemoration am Spiegelgrund", for example.

Jewish Vienna

For all of the sadness of its history, Jewish Vienna nevertheless has two sides. On the one hand is Jewish culture, to which Vienna owes so much. On the other hand, the history of the Jewish inhabitants of Vienna cannot be told without including their suppression and persecution - not only during the Nazi era. It is this very polarity that underlines the mindlessness of anti-Semitism. The Museum am Judenplatz, for example, is even more impressive when the history of Theater Nestroyhof Hamakom is also known.

Cemeteries and honorary graves

There are also interesting things to discover in many Viennese cemeteries. Mozart, for example, is buried not in the Central Cemetery or in elegant Hietzing, but in St. Marx. The historical Jewish cemeteries are also listed in the brochure.

Everyday history: streets and public places

Some street names recall historical events, others major personalities. But there is little point naming a street or square Stubentor or Jasomirgasse if there is no explanation of the story behind them. Some streets are also renamed because their historical significance has changed. In these cases as well it is important to draw attention to the changes. This has been happening in Vienna to an increasing extent recently. In short, Vienna has always been a place of Remembrance for the Future.

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