The Place of Remembrance

architects Christian Jabornegg, András Pálffy
project Muzej Judenplatz, Vienna, Austria
written by Vera Grimmer


The first Viennese monument to the victims of the Holocaust, unveiled in October 2000, integrates the memory of two events five hundred years apart yet equally atrocious; the first is the 1421 pogrom in the Vienna Jewish ghetto and the second is the systematic expulsions and slaughter of Jews as part of the “Final Solution” plan between 1938 and 1945. It took six years of countless disputes over the justification of the monument at that specific place, and over its size and form, before Simon Wiesenthal’s initiative was finally brought to a conclusion in the opening of the monument and the museum. Excavations in 1995 confirmed what had earlier been suggested by Viennese archaeologists, that the site of a synagogue was to be found beneath Judenplatz – the centre of the medieval ghetto. In the autumn of 1995, nine artists were invited to an international competition for the design of the memorial: Clagg & Guttman and Peter Eisenmann from the US; Valie Export, Karl Prantl, Zbynek Sekal, and Heimo Zobernig from Austria; Ilya Kabalov from Russia; Zvi Hecker from Israel; and Rachel Whiteread from the United Kingdom.