Swastikas on Images of Victims of National Socialism

ORF, May 22, 2019
German original: https://wien.orf.at/news/stories/2982950

Parts of an exhibition to remember victims of Nazi crimes were smeared with swastikas and damaged on Vienna’s Ring boulevard. The initiators are horrified.

The photo exhibit „Against Forgetting“ by photographer and filmmaker Luigi Toscano, featuring portraits of survivors of Nazi persecution, is positioned directly in front of Heldenplatz on Ringstrasse and will be on display until the end of May. The exhibit was brought to Vienna by ESRA, a center that has been looking after Survivors of Nazi crimes and other traumatized people for 25 years; Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen performed the opening – more on that in Portraits of Nazi Survivors on the Ring.

„Anti-Semitic and disrespectful act of destruction.“

Already a few days after the exhibit opening, several portraits were damaged with a knife, ESRA announced on Wednesday. On Tuesday afternoon several panels were then besmeared i.a. with swastikas.

ESRA called it an „anti-Semitic and disrespectful act of destruction.“ The center is „horrified and appalled that a sensitive, artistic remembrance of the Shoah evokes cynical and destructive aggression in people.“ It shows „disrespect towards art and specifically disrespect towards the people portrayed. People, who were persecuted during the Nazi era,“ ESRA said in a statement.

The Police have been informed.

The police have already been informed about the incident, the Austrian Press Agency (APA) has learned. ESRA hopes the incident will be resolved and the perpetrators found. Besides punishment, it is imperative to explain the history to such people and how much suffering the Nazi regime, its supporters and followers have caused to millions of people, ESRA director Peter Schwarz said according to the statement.

„Whoever has not understood this part of Austrian and European history risks falling victim to today’s unscrupulous and inhumanely thinking politicians,“ ESRA warned.