Vienna Names Street in Leopoldstadt After Simon Wiesenthal

Austrian Press Agency (APA)(10/02/2006)

Decision to be taken tomorrow, Tuesday, by the City Council’s Cultural Committee

Vienna – Tomorrow, Tuesday, a decision will be made as to naming a street after Simon Wiesenthal who died last year. As wished by the Israelite Religious Community (IKG), the current Ichmanngasse in Leopoldstadt will be called Simon-Wiesenthal-Gasse in the future. The decision will be made by the City Council’s Cultural Committee. The date for celebrating the inauguration has not been determined.

There was unanimous recommendation by the subcommittee for the renaming of the street in the 2nd district, announced the office of the City Councillor for Culture, Andreas Mailath-Pokorny. It’s located where a new Jewish center for sports and education is being developed on the restituted area of a sports field, the “Hakoah.” Right next to it will be a home for the aged.

“Together with the Israelite Religious Community, we are happy to have found such a good solution,” said Mailath-Pokorny’s spokesman. Currently the street bears the name of Franz Ichmann, a Viennese writer of song lyrics who, according to the IKG, was a member of the National Socialist Party.

The wish for a Wiesenthal park to be created behind the Alfred Hrdlicka “Memorial Opposing War and Faschism” on Albertinaplatz was turned down by the subcommittee. The reason, among others, is because Wiesenthal, who dedicated his life to pursuing Nazi criminals, decried having it created and instead lobbied for the Rachel Whiteread memorial on Judenplatz.

The proposal to have a street renamed in commemoration of Wiesenthal was initiated by the Greens only a few days after his death on September 20, 2005. Due to a deadline provided by law (Interkalarfrist), the renaming of something can only take place at the earliest one year after the death of the person concerned. When exactly the new commemorative plaque will be erected has, according to the City Council, not yet been determined.