Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial

Vienna, Austria

Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial

The Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial (German: Mahnmal für die 65.000 ermordeten österreichischen Juden und Jüdinnen der Shoah) also known as the Nameless Library stands in Judenplatz in the first district of Vienna. It is the central memorial for the Austrian victims of the Holocaust and was designed by the British artist Rachel Whiteread.

The memorial began with an initiative of Simon Wiesenthal. Wiesenthal became a spokesman for the public offense taken over the Mahnmal gegen Krieg und Faschismus in Albertinaplatz, created by Alfred Hrdlicka in 1988, which portrayed Jewish victims in an undignified way. As a result of this controversy, Wiesenthal began the commission for a memorial dedicated especially to the Jewish victims of Nazi fascism in Austria. It was built by the city of Vienna under the Mayor Michael Häupl, after Rachel Whiteread's design was chosen unanimously by an international jury under the leadership of the architect Hans Hollein. The members of the jury were Michael Haupl, Ursula Pasterk, Hannes Swoboda, Amnon Barzel, Phyllis Lambert, Sylvie Liska, Harald Szeemann, George Weidenfeld, Simon Wiesenthal, and Robert Storr. Individuals and teams of artists and architects from Austria, Israel, Great Britain and the United States were invited to the competition. They were Valie Export, Karl Prantl and Peter Waldbauer as a team; Zbynek Sekal; Heimo Zobernig, working with Michael Hofstatter and Wolfgang Pauzenberger; Michael Clegg and Martin Guttman as a team; Ilya Kabakov; Rachel Whiteread; and Peter Eisenman. The submissions had to take into account the design constraints of the site at Judenplatz, and texts including a memorial inscription and the listing of all concentration camps in which Austrian Jews were killed.

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