The Wall of Names Shoah memorial is a remarkable place of reverence and remembrance for all the Jewish children and adults murdered by the Nazis and their supporters.
- 200m of wall inscribed with the names of over 65,000 victims
- Completed in November 2021
- Easily reached from Vienna city centre
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The Wall of Names
Mentions of the holocaust in Austria often retreat into delicate phrasing, as if unwilling to confront the harsh realities of humanity’s inhumanity and the complicity of many locals.
So people “perished” in concentration camps. Or the finger of blame points at “the Nazis.”
In contrast, Vienna’s Wall of Names Shoah memorial in Ostarrichi Park pulls no punches.
Completed in November 2021, inscriptions in English, German and Hebrew at the entrance talk accurately of those who were “murdered” and note the participation in the atrocities of “countless Austrians”.
Inside is a large 200m elliptical loop consisting of discrete sections of wall, each engraved with the names of all the thousands of Jewish adults and children from Austria murdered between 1938 and 1945 by the Nazis and their accomplices.
The straightforward honesty of the inscriptions feels cathartic, even surprising: a true admission of complicity rather than mere words of sympathy.
Outside the memorial, a standalone stone also commemorates the suffering of other groups persecuted, tortured, and killed in Austria by the Nazis and their supporters.
Instigated by Kurt Yakov Tutter, a holocaust survivor, and a private initiative, the memorial received the support of the Austrian national and provincial governments, the city of Vienna, the national bank and others, thereby creating an important symbolic unity of purpose.
The concept honours the individuals who lost their lives, but also ensures their names do not drift into the anonymity of history.
Most of all, though, the walls engender a feeling of reverence, but also one of almost unbearable sorrow. Sorrow, though not despair, as the very existence of the memorial in former Nazi Austria is testament to some kind of hope.
Nevertheless, this is not like the stone tablets you see listing the fallen in world wars, sad though those are too. The font size is significantly smaller and more than one name fills a line. The sheer volume of people weighs down on the soul.
And then you remember this huge memorial with wall after wall lists something like 1% of the total number of Holocaust victims across Europe. A lament for humanity, a warning, and a beacon of remembrance.
How to get to the memorial
The Shoah memorial stands in a park in front of the national bank. It’s a brisk 10-minute walk up from the northwest corner of the old town (Schottentor tram and subway station).
Schottentor is on the U2 subway line and the starting/end point for numerous tram lines (37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 71, and D) and the 1A bus that meanders through the old town centre.
From Schottentor, you can get over halfway by simply going one stop on trams 43 or 44.
Address: Otto-Wagner-Platz, 1090 Vienna