Vienna Tracing Jewish History

There are few European cities whose history is as closely connected with Jewish history as Vienna.

Until 1938, Vienna had a flourishing Jewish community with dozens of synagogues and prayer houses. The prevalent anti-Semitism of the time provided fertile grounds for the racism and terror of the Nazis, which started immediately after the occupation of Austria by the German Wehrmacht in March of 1938. Any Jew who owned something, was robbed: through “Aryanization,“ his property came into the possession of the state or of private persons who could “buy” at low prices. Both as famous as Sigmund Freud or as modest as a shoemaker or homemaker, 140,000 Austrians had to flee the country for “racial reasons”; 65,000 who could not escape were murdered. 

Coming to terms with the largest crimes in the history of Vienna and Austria is a process that has lasted decades and is still not finished. Since the eighties (the Jewish Welcome Service was founded in 1980), the City of Vienna has made increased efforts to show the history and Jewish heritage in all its complexity. 

Visit the Jewish Museum (at Palais Eskeles in Dorotheergasse), the Museum at Judenplatz (with the subterranean remains of a medieval synagogue), the Holocaust Memorial at Judenplatz and the Memorial against War and Fascism at Albertinaplatz. A large region with tombs from the time before 1938 can be found in the Jewish section of the Central Cemetery (Access: 1st Door). Memorial site for Jewish Victims of the Shoah at Vienna’s Stadttempel Synagogue  This memorial site in the foyer of the Vienna Stadttempel Synagogue was opened at the end of 2002. It is a memorial for the 65,000 assassinated Austrian Jews, whose names are engraved on rotating slate tablets. In the center of the memorial, which was created by architect Thomas Feiger, a broken-off granite column symbolizes the Jewish community of Vienna, which was destroyed in 1938 by the Nazis. Freud and Schönberg

Sigmund Freud was able to emigrate to England in 1938 with the help of Marie Bonaparte. At his former address in the ninth district, Berggasse 19, since the 1970s the Sigmund Freud House has been a museum. 

The Viennese Arnold Schönberg worked in Berlin when the Nazis gained power in 1933. In the same year they expelled him and he emigrated to the USA (Schönberg Center).