38 Memory Spaces
Hand-cut stencils developed by students at the University of Applied Arts Department of Graphic Design, under the tutelage of Univ,-Lekt.Mag.Art Waltraud Jungwirth, are being sprayed onto thirty-eight sidewalks of Vienna, corresponding to 1938. Historians on the academic and advisory boards provided oversight for the selection of sites. The researched street addresses identifying sites of criminal assault, humiliation, exclusion, as well as rescue and resistance, were sprayed with the tag “Was passiert wenn wir vergessen uns zu erinnern/What happens when we forget to remember?” The phrase reoccurs in different configurations around the city in ten languages–Deutsch, Yiddish, Romani, Slovenian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian/Bosnian, Turkish, Hebrew and English. The question serves as the project axiom stimulating new conversations about National Socialism.The 38 addresses will be activated by performance artists and educators as sites for new representations of memory, developed over a period of six months. A schedule of planned performances is posted on the project website, and a series of walking tours of the specified sites will be available online in late winter. If you are interested in participating, read the Sidewalk Installation Guidelines and register your event.
Artists, historians, and educators will use the 38 sites to apply a variety of approaches to sponsor public engagement with the past: 1) Beginning with the history, project historians will use the web site and Smartphone app to post two paragraphs about each site, providing a concise, scientific report, substantiated by some form of documentation or primary source citation. 2) When possible, the app will also position an archival photo next to a present-day photo of the site. 3) Additional links will provide an extended discussion of each site, with anecdotes, and other forms of documentation based on primary source citations. 4) Interviews conducted by the project blogger, will investigate the site informally, canvassing the site, photographing how people respond to the site, interviewing people who live at or next to the site. 5) Community forums in neighborhoods containing sites will generate new conversations about the sites. Members of the different victim groups will be invited to join these discussions to dialogue about the past. 6) Performance artists will develop engaging, interactive performances at various sites, addressing the history. “Silent witness vigils” will also take place. 7) Student audio interviews will occur at the sites next spring, directed at interviewing pedestrians as they pass by the site. 8) Interviews with survivors who have a relationship to a particular site or neighborhood, will be recorded and uploaded to the web site and the smartphone app, as well as integrated into the thematic tours. 9) Thematic guided tours, actual and virtual, will be another vehicle for organizing the history and thinking about the past in relation to the present. 10) User-generated photos and videos produced at the site and uploaded to our Facebook album (coming soon) will provide another layer of documentation.
14:00 Naturhistorisches Museum / Natural History Museum, Burgring 7, 1010 Wien
Dr. in Margit Berner, Anthropologische Abteilung, Naturhistorisches Museum
11:00 Universität Wien / University of Vienna Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien
Mag. Dr. Phil. Stefan Wedrac, Institut für Rechts-und Verfassungsgeschichte
14:00 Wiener Landesgericht, Langesgerichtsstrasse 11, 1080 Wien
Mag. Friedrich Forsthuber, President of the Wiener Landesgericht
November Pogromnacht Sprays
At 14:00 on the afternoon of 6. November 2013, a memory space in front of Hamakom-Theater im Nestroyhof in the Leopoldstadt district was stenciled with a poem by award-winning poet, Robert Schindel. The Nestroyhof Theater was built by a Jewish architect, Oscar Marmorek in 1898 and home to Jewish theater until 1938, when it was closed by the Gestapo immediately following the Anschluss. Schindel was a hidden child during the Holocaust, reunited in 1945 with his mother who survived Auschwitz and Ravensbrück concentration camps. His father was murdered in the Dachau concentration camp.
At 14:00 on 7. November, a second memory space was sprayed in front of Palais Ephrussi, at Universitätsring 14. The former home of the Ephrussi family, the address was used to symbolize the theft and plunder that took place in the homes and businesses of Jewish victims during and leading up to the November pogroms. Karen Frostig introduced a discussion about theft of Jewish property starting in 1938, and contested issues of restitution related to property theft and international law, making reference to Sophie Lillie’s writing and recent articles about looted art. This presentation was followed with a reading by actress Michaela Adelberger at 15:00, from Edmund de Waal’s book “The Hare with the Amber Eyes” (using the German translation).
At 14:00 on 8. November, the sidewalk in front of Palais Rothschild at Prinz- Eugen-Straße 20-22, 1040 Wien was sprayed. This site became Eichmann’s Central Office for Jewish Emigration, responsible for the expulsion of 110,000 Austrian Jews beginning in August of 1938, and for the deportation and subsequent murder of 66,000 Jews living in Austria, starting as early as 1939. Doron Rabinovici, author of “EIchmann’s Jews: The Jewish Administration of Holocaust Vienna, 1938-1945″ was invited to speak about the history of the site and the myth of Jewish collaboration with the Nazis.
Rescheduled for May 2014 (see closing), a video projection designed by Stefan Arztmann and using text from the project axiom “What happens when we forget to remember?” will appear on a building at a corner near the canal at Gredlerstraße/
At 9:00, students Liza Schluder and Rosa Czernin ”resprayed” the stencil at the Universität Wien / University of Vienna Universitätsring 1, 1010. The stencil sprayed on October 25th was removed by cleaning services at the University. The University expressed their regret for this error and fully support the memory work of The Vienna Project. At the respraying, we discussed the meaning of memory and the concept of “dialogue.” in the public sphere.
At 11:00, a spray took place at Barankapark, Hellerwiese Belgradplatz, 1100 Wien. Gilda Horvath, journalist, ORF Radio & TV broadcaster, was invited to speak about Roma history in Vienna. Dr. Jérôme Segal spoke about his work with the Roma community in a suburb of Paris, setting up numerous solidarity actions. He continued this work in Austria with Roma children from Slovakia, publishing many texts in French and German, in newspapers and professional journals to raise awareness on this issue.
At 14:00, a second spray occurred at Gedenkstätte Steinhof/Otto-Wagner-Spital, Baumgartner Höhe 1, 1140 Wien. Speaker Friedrich Zawrel was invited to discuss his experience as a survivor of National Socialism and of two encounters with Nazi Euthanasia physician’s Dr. Heinrich Gross, administrating the Euthanasia program at Otto-Wagner-Spital.
Performance Art, Educational Theater, NGO Meetings
The performance program is dedicated to learning about the interconnectedness between past and present interpersonal violence and collective violence, to prevent violence and to build mutual respect… Ildiko Meny, Curator for Performance Art
Beginning in November through the following April with weather permitting, the memory zones will be activated by various artists: performance artists, poets, musicians, installation artists, and educational theater troupes signing up to use the space. Programming, developed by our performance curator, Dr. Ildiko Meny, will generate a link from the past to the present, sponsoring new conversations about freedom, civic courage, and the meaning of citizenship in a civil society. The performance art program addresses human rights history and draws new relationships between how the past informs the present and prepares us for the future. Performances will occur in public spaces as well as online, attract local as well as international audiences. These events, actual and virtual, will be recorded and reviewed on the project blog and uploaded to the Smartphone app. See calendar postings for specific dates and times. Primarily orchestrated by Austrian artists, international artists whose work is related to a particular aspect of The Vienna Project, may also apply to use the space. In addition, NGO’s and other Austrian-based organizations may arrange to hold public meetings in the Memory Zones.
25.November-10.December “Hair-Code” online exhibition curated by Ildiko Meny
Hairstyle, Haircut and “Hair-code” are undergoing various changes and trends within history. To wear long or short hair, beards or braids is connected to social changes, religion, religious rituals or simply by the availability of means to cut and dress. When Prussian male soldiers cut their braids off due to a new order, the saying “ this is an old braid” refers to the “change of style” since then. Both sexes, male and female used to have long or short hair within different historic periods and cultures. Consequently the social pressure to wear a certain hairstyle or to even have cut peoples hair when incarcerated can be seen a violent act against personal rights. When women or children are beaten up, men often violently tear and hold them on their hair. The Vienna Memory Project commemorates violent acts and murder and therefore we commemorate the people, who before loosing their lives in concentration camps had their hair shaved to be humiliated. Participants: Dwora Fried-Dreilinger, Nora Jacobs, Ethan Shoshan, Sonya Rapoport, Jody Wood, Kirsten Marie Thingsten, Monkey Teeth, Anthony Wills Jr., Daniel Johnson, Donna Henes, Brenda Oelbaum, Jonathan Vaughan, Priscilla Otani, Pamela Simonton, Arlee Leonard, Naoe Suzuki, Moya Devine, Adrienne Outlaw, Harley Spiller, Susan Feldman, Marcia Pitch, T, Alyne, Elaine Alibrandi.
Oral History Interviews
Oral historian, Dr. Georg Traska, will interview survivors representing multiple victim groups and different circumstances of persecution. Dr. Traska is especially eager to interview survivors whose story corresponds to one of the sites or surrounding neighborhoods. Using video as well as audio tools, the interviews will represent current reflections on this period of history as well as fresh insights about resiliency following trauma. These interviews will form “anchor points” in the guided tour program. Interviews will happen primarily in Vienna, but may also include conversations with survivors living outside of Vienna, and be uploaded to the project blog and Smartphone app, adding new layers of memory to each site.
Site History Interviews
Many of our sites had tragic agendas under the murderous regime of National Socialism. A number of these sites have since been reclaimed and repurposed to serve the Austrian people. Historian Dr. Jérôme Segal will interview directors of new institutions located at prominent sites to understand how they faced this difficult past. Discussion will examine the histories of specific sites, focusing on the process of reclamation regarding organizational design and development as a reparative response to prior history. Additional attention will be given to the various ways institutions communicate these evolutions to the larger society. The interviews will be uploaded to the Smartphone app for public access.
Student Audio Interviews
Individual teachers can elect to work with students, using the designated memory spaces to conduct digitized audio interviews with pedestrians walking through and around the memory spaces. A number of interviews can be uploaded to the project smartphone app, allowing international audiences to hear voices of today’s Austrians candidly engaged in a discussion about memory, capturing the spirit of public attitudes regarding the history of National Socialism, 75 years after the “Anschluss.”
Thematic Guided Tours
A series of walking tours will be developed by project intern Kate Melchior, in conjunction with the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), for bringing visitors to the 38 sites. Different thematic tours will be organized to highlight a variety of topics, such as gender, group identity, or actions of resistance. Dr. Georg Traska will interview survivors collecting eye-witness reports regarding memories connected to a specific site. These interviews will be posted on the Smartphone app and integrated into the tours. Tours on occasion will also feature a conversation with a local resident, who can offer a first-hand account of what took place in that district. Tours will be developed for different age groups with different interests, backgrounds, and needs. Special attention will be given to migratory populations in Vienna, who are especially attuned to issues of exclusion and marginalization.
The Vienna Project Tumblr Blog and Facebook
Ich begleite das Projekt mit Notizblock und Kamera, nachzulesen und nachzuschauen am Tumblr Blog!–Marliese Mendel, Project blogger
Social media manager, Johanna Taufner and blogger Marliese Mendel, have developed a Tumblr blog that captures the public experience of the project as it unfolds on the streets of Vienna. Peppered with interviews, video documentation, and a flurry of photos, the blog produces a visual portrait of the project with commentary in German, that can be accessed all over the world. The blog reflects new ideas about the art of memorialization for 21st century audiences. Our Facebook page provides ongoing project updates and postings of related news items.