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Shoah Memorial in Eisenstadt - invitation to discourse

Background photo from the Yad Vashem Hall of Stars in the children's memorial. (Taken from Wikimedia Commons) Context In Eisenstadt there is no Holocaust memorial. Time and again, from different sides ...

Background photo from the Yad Vashem Hall of Stars in the children's memorial. (Taken from Wikimedia Commons)

initial situation

In Eisenstadt there is no Holocaust memorial.

Again and again (from various political parties, the churches will be (see below the Letter from the pastor), As well as the Research Society Burgenland, etc.) Holocaust Memorial (!) Required for Eisenstadt.

Concrete proposals for such a monument or a more detailed justification for such a memorial, but "it just lacked in Eisenstadt", at least to me are not known.

That the requirements for a Holocaust monument in the state capital Eisenstadt were reinforced made in recent times, especially in connection with the common / bedenkjahr 2018, is no coincidence. more thinking / memorials in Burgenland were built especially in recent years.

A Jewish museum can and this discussion does not want his city to escape, not least because a Jewish museum always is institutionalized actor remembering (s. To particularly our blog article "Peculiarities of memory„).

The Holocaust monuments in Burgenland - A brief overview of the past year

Deutschkreutz 2012 was "a pioneer" with a monument in the main street, followed in October 2014, Dedication of a memorial plaque at the Jewish cemetery in German Kreutz in memory of the Hungarian Jewish forced laborers. Initiator in both cases Mizrachi Austria (Vienna) and especially Michael Feyer.

Michael Feyer it was also the one in 2017 with his club "We remember. Encounter with the Jewish Mattersburg"The Holocaust Memorial in Mattersburg presented. A monument that dominates the very prominent Fountain Square and the ancient monument replaced at the site of the former synagogue, so to speak. For a critique of this monument see my comment below.

Also in 2017 was the Memorial in Kobersdorf presents that had been initiated by the former mayor of the municipality, Erwin Steiner House. are on the monument itself, unlike the other monuments, including the names of victims, addresses, etc. Between murdered and displaced persons but did not differ, the list is also incomplete.

Very sensitive and considered one went in Frauenkirchen before where built on the site of the former synagogue in the "Garden of Remembrance" and officially presented in 2016 was. The initiative was carried out by Dr. Herbert Brettl and the association "Initiative Remember Frauenkirchen". was accompanied / is the initiative of lectures and activities.

Together, all these mentioned thinking and memorials first is the fact that they are places in which previously held no explicit and specific culture of remembrance, at least not with a clear reference to places or places in town that have the function of a place of remembrance. While there are in Kobersdorf, German Kreutz, Mattersburg and Frauenkirchen Jewish cemeteries, but they were never really active and permanently attached to the places in the memory work.

This is also the crucial difference to Eisenstadt:

  • In Eisenstadt there since 1972 our Austrian Jewish Museum, The oldest Jewish museum in Europe since 1945. It was in the heart of the former Jewish quarter, at the Palais des court factor and Hungarian national Rabbi Samson Wertheimer, expressly commonly referred to as memory and memorial to the seven communities and to the former Jewish community of Eisenstadt in particular founded!

  • The museum is next to the synagogue, The only "living synagogue" of today's Burgenland, at the end of the permanent exhibition memorial roomWhich is dedicated to the memory of the Jews of the seven municipalities.

  • The Jewish Museum is Location in the Jewish quarter, Located on the edge of this district is the two Jewish cemeteriesWhich are closely involved in museum work has always been and the only Jewish cemeteries in Austria, which are completely refurbished and well documented! Each cemetery has always primarily also commemorative character!

  • Both almost all tourists and particularly the approximately 200 school groups from all over Austria, which annually visit the Jewish Museum, the Synagogue, the Jewish Quarter and the two Jewish cemeteries, do so as "active Gedenkakt"To the history of Jews in the city and the region.

  • Since at least 1992, the museum pays them particular attention to the meticulous and painstaking analysis of the history of Jews in the seven communities, especially the Jews in Eisenstadt.

  • All activities of this investigation were accompanied by the Eisenstadt and promoted (Print publication on the younger Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt in 1995, Outdoor-Projekt "Ver (BE) time"2012 in the city of Eisenstadt, complete documentation of the older Jewish cemetery 2015 and complete documentation of the younger Jewish cemetery 2017-18 and all in connection with this documentation activities and events!).

We prefer as a Jewish Museum alternative (!) Forms a monument for obvious practical reasons. Or in other words: Before thinking about a Holocaust memorial, we need to know the names and stories of people and their children and grandchildren are themselves no longer in Eisenstadt. This first step we consider to be a sine qua non.

In particular, the processing of the younger Jewish cemetery has been in the so-called overall / bedenkjahr 2018 that - despite intensive work - still too many questions remain open: We do not know what happened to the children and grandchildren of about 500 late in Eisenstadt or in the death books recorded Jews has happened, we do not know many fates of the resident in January 1938 in Eisenstadt 446 Jews.
See especially our blog post: Commemorative year 2018ff.

Specifically, this means:

Before the history of Jews and Jewish history is not so worked up that the most important questions about the fate of the Jews of this city can be answered, makes a "conventional" monument little sense, If only because it would require a permanent revision of this monument (at least if concrete numbers and names are noted on the monument, which we did - in whatever form - useful hold).

Basically, the question must be allowed whether the above-cited form of thinking and memorials are long outdated (except Frauenkirchen!) And has had its day. To quote Michael Blumenthal, founding director of the Jewish Museum Berlin, which makes already in 2000 (!) Shows that

today it is no longer enough to do "something", but that it is now something happens to the "AS" is! Otherwise there is all the work for Alibi action to be. The traditional forms of memory have largely become obsolete, they now lead to confusion and contradiction. A reduction of commemoration and remembrance to the "WHAT" will have a commemorative activism result that is still applauded often reflexively, but will definitely have the effect that the memory for many is incomprehensible and splits! It is no longer harmonious, the descendants of the perpetrators do not understand, and the descendants of the victims as well not. must remember the past is not merely mummify, but has them alive and currently receive ...

W. Michael Blumenthal, the dispute over the memory. About the difficult path towards an ethic of Remembrance: The Holocaust and the public, in: Art Projects | Synagogue Stommeln | Kuntprojekte, Ostfildern-Ruit, 2000, 21ff

So how do we avoid that the domestic population has / seen enough memorial after two weeks at the local way of thinking, the tourists can do little with the monument and descendants of victims in Monument see only a superficial handling of personally relevant history of their ancestors ? but most of these "conventional" thinking and memorials interchangeable, Can be set up, where once Jews lived, a maximum of printed local name needs to be changed in any place. And of course it also leads to confusion when a monument is not clear escape the suspicion of an alibi action: developed only to do "something" to change at worst gedenkaktionistische shape and / or political capital.

is comparable to Eisenstadt Hohenems in Vorarlberg, where there is also a Jewish Museum is that in the former Jewish quarter is where there is also a Jewish cemetery are and where a lot of "small" details the history of the Hohenems Jews remember (buildings and street names, stumbling blocks and especially the permanent and living memory at the museum). And where there is also not a "conventional" thinking or memorial are, one is such a well is currently not considered or required.

So there is currently no reason for snap shots, a thinking / Memorial, as required by various sides to implement.

Quite the contrary, it has to go mainly to a permanent living memory work, far from political change and conventional, long disused forms of memory, regardless of official Dos and Bedenkjahren, free from suspicion of tokenism.

A kind Conclusio as well as ideas and approaches for the future

  • It applies primarily to clarify the many open questions. This is a working process, take the few years that will but make the Jewish Museum with passion and highest meticulousness. This should a permanent and vital Remember be guaranteed. The entire work process is always the support and involvement of Eisenstadt need (from Matrikenamt to financial subsidies, etc.).

  • One of the next steps is sure to have long planned with the city Eisenstadt panel (with plan and explanations) to install the younger Jewish cemetery (analogous to the board at the older Jewish cemetery). the outstanding issues to be addressed on the board.

  • Accompanying this work of the museum, the "results" in terms of "should also be consideredStones of remembrance"To make the city visible. This too would be a sign of a permanent, continuous and living memorial and memory work.

  • But since of course the displaced should be considered would be to consider whether to individual houses and squares, or possibly with a central memorial plaque, plaques with the names, occupations, etc. of there earlier resident Jews could be applied in the future. It must be able to be given to the question of why there are no Jews in Eisenstadt today and what happened to them in any case clear, accurate and understandable answers.

  • There are already exemplary projects that deserve the highest respect: students of the high school short meadow in Eisenstadt developed in the overall / bedenkjahr 2018 'The traveling memorial - a project against oblivion„. Living, personal and concrete examination of the history of the Jewish students, the Holocaust. The ORF report begins with the sentence "In Eisenstadt there is still no memorial to victims of the Shoah." Gives me, especially in the specific context of the question. Had teachers, students still developed this beautiful project, if there were such a monument in Eisenstadt? "Must" to teachers, pupils in Frauenkirchen, Kobersdorf, German Kreutz and Mattersburg not as intense with the history of Jewish students deal, because there is already a monument in the village?

  • Of course, "closes", our museum is not a Holocaust Memorial a priori. So that an idea for a really deliberate, sensitive-made, artistic quality and not arbitrary "replaceable" monument could put a thought process for a design in motion Will be for us always to imagine (assuming it agree the above parameters. To say that there the "wording" begins "Shoah memorial" and not "Holocaust memorial" that this monument of expelled and murdered Jews of Eisenstadt intends, but just that we do not have a monument to Jews, Sinti, Roma serious numbers and names ...) ,
    but the living and permanent memorial and commemorative work can already replace a monument.

6 comments to Shoa Memorial in Eisenstadt - invitation to discourse

The tears and joys of Hanna

Bedenken und Bekennen der christlichen Kirchen zum Gedenkjahr 1938 – 2018 Ende Oktober / Anfang November 1938 meldete die Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien, dass es im Burgenland keine jüdischen Gemeinden, keine…

Bedenken und Bekennen der christlichen Kirchen zum Gedenkjahr 1938 – 2018

Ende Oktober / Anfang November 1938 meldete die Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien, dass es im Burgenland keine jüdischen Gemeinden, keine Juden mehr gibt.
Die burgenländischen Juden hatten den sogenannten Anschluss Österreichs im März 1938 schneller und brutaler zu spüren bekommen als die Juden in den anderen Bundesländern. Buchstäblich über Nacht waren sie ausgewiesen und vertrieben worden.

Fast auf den Tag genau nach 80 Jahren fand am Dienstag, 30. Oktober 2018 um 17 Uhr in der Synagoge in unserem Museum die Be- und Gedenkveranstaltung der christlichen Kirchen zum Gedenkjahr 1938 – 2018 statt.
Im allerkleinsten Kreis beteten und sprachen Diözesanbischof Dr. Ägidius Zsifkovics, Superintendent Mag. Manfred Koch und Oberrabbiner Arie Folger, MBA. Kantor Rami Langer sang u.a. „El Male Rachamim“.

Sowohl Bischof Zsifkovics als auch Superintendent Koch formulierten in ihren Ansprachen deutlich ihre Betroffenheit sowohl über das „unaussprechliche Leid so vieler Menschen, aber auch Betroffenheit darüber, dass unsere christlichen Kirchen und ihre Mitglieder so viel schuldig geblieben sind. Von wenigen Ausnahmen abgesehen, haben katholische wie evangelische Christen sowohl in Österreich, auch im Burgenland, … zum Schicksal der Juden weithin geschwiegen, obwohl sie geahnt, wenn nicht sogar gewusst haben, was mit ihren Mitmenschen geschieht…“

Oberrabbiner Folger betonte, dass er gerne zu dieser Gedenkveranstaltung gekommen ist, vor allem auch, weil dadurch die seit geraumer Zeit stattfindenden internationalen Bemühungen auf lokaler Ebene zum Ausdruck gebracht und realisiert werden können. Die kleine jüdische Gemeinde in Österreich, so Folger, braucht Partner ‒ wie die Kirchen oder unser Museum ‒, die gegen Judenfeindlichkeit und Antisemitismus auftreten.

Danach überreichten Bischof und Superintendent dem Herrn Oberrabbiner einen ökumenischen Hirtenbrief aus Anlass der Novemberpogrome vor 80 Jahren:

Diözesanbischof Ägidius Zsifkovics und Superintendent Manfred Koch überreichen Oberrabbiner Arie Folger den ökumenischen Hirtenbrief

Diözesanbischof Ägidius Zsifkovics und Superintendent Manfred Koch überreichen Oberrabbiner Arie Folger den ökumenischen Hirtenbrief

Gegen ein Schweigen, das zum Himmel schreit.

Wenn Christen von sich sagen dürfen, Mitarbeiter im Reich Gottes zu sein, so heißt das nicht, eine Auswahl zu treffen, wer sonst noch dazu gehört und wer nicht.

Der Hirtenbrief umfasst sechs Seiten, am Schluss die dringende Empfehlung:

Dieser Ökumenische Hirtenbrief möge am 10. oder 11. November 2018 in allen katholischen und evangelischen Pfarren des Burgenlandes zur Gänze oder in Auszügen verlesen werden.

Download (pdf) des Hirtenbriefes auf der Website der Diözese Eisenstadt.

Dort siehe auch „Zsifkovics und Koch gegen ‚Unkultur des Schweigens‘„.

Danke ORF Burgenland für den Bericht online und im TV (ORF-Mediathek).

1 comment zu Die Tränen und Freuden der Hanna

Rosh Hashanah 5779

English version, see below Erev Rosh Hashanah Today. We wish all readers of our Kosher Melange a happy and healthy new year 5779th שנה טובה ומתוקה, כתיבה וחתימה ...

English version, see below

Today, Erev Rosh Hashanah. We wish all readers of our Kosher Melange a happy and healthy new year 5779th

Happy new year, good writing and signature!

Rosh Hashanah to 5776 (2015), we could leave our big project for older Jewish cemeteryTo Rosch Haschanah 5778 (2017) for the younger Jewish cemetery finish of Eisenstadt.

Commemorative Year 2018th

The Family Gellis ...

Just in time for Rosh Hashanah 5779, the birth, marriage and Sterbematriken of Eisenstadt are (currently Geburtsmatriken of data protection only until 1918) went from 1895 to 1938 online.

It is - as especially in this anniversary year - too much theory and generally about Jews, the spoken "Connection" and the Holocaust. The result is produced not only by empty words arbitrariness, but the Shoah threatens often well aware intended, thereby losing their singularity.

Indexes are not only a tremendous help for all genealogically interested and simply one of the indispensable necessities of an efficient and serious historical analysis of the history of the Jews, but the indices to write means above all - much of our work on the Jewish cemeteries - the Jews much more they reproduce their names and beyond their story.

Even when writing the Eisenstadt Matrikenindizes we were confronted with stories that often go to the substance:

On June 11, 1938 at a time when the Nazis had long since begun to evacuate the Jews from Eisenstadt and other Jewish communities of today's Burgenland, committed an unemployed shoemaker's assistant Samuel (Schmuli) Gellis 54 years suicide, he hanged himself.
His slightly older sister Therese married in 1904 Bernhard Simon. The couple had three children.
Therese Simon was transported on 06 February 1942 to Riga murdered in the Shoah. Her husband Bernhard Simon was transported on 23 October 1941 in the Lodz ghetto and also murdered.
What happened to the older sister of Samuel Gelli, Gisela, and his younger sister Pauline and whether they survived the Shoah, we unfortunately do not know.

Both parents of Samuel Gelli and his sisters, father Abraham Gellis, D. 1919, and mother Josefine Gelli born, Rosenthal, D. 1925, are also buried in the Jewish cemetery of younger Eisenstadt.

On the younger Jewish cemetery we find the graves of grandfathers and the grandmotherSamuel Gelli and his three sisters:Bernhard Gellis, D. 1887, and Franziska Gelli born, straw, gest. 1905.

And on the older Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt are the great-grandfather, Moses, Elijah Gellis, D. 1865, the great-grandmother, Amalia Gelli born, Schischa, D. 1868, and the Ururgroßvater, Jakob Gellis, D. 1858, and the great-grandmother, Gütel Chaja Gellis, D. 1843, buried.

The great grandfather, Jakob Gellis is described in the Hebrew grave inscription as a distinguished and Torah scholar.

Also on the older Jewish cemetery, the graves of the find great-grandfathers and the great grandmother maternal: Jakob straw, D. 1856, and Rösel straw, gest. 1866.

Five generations of family Gelli. 220 years lived, lived, and the family Gelli worked safely and satisfied in Eisenstadt.
Until the 1938th

Wishing you all

Happy New Year and good Signature

filled with good health and happiness!

At Rosh haShana 5776 (2015) we could finish our project „Localizing the Graves in Eisenstadt's Older Jewish Cemetery„, at Rosh haShana 5778 (2017) we were able to complete the project on the younger Jewish Cemetery of Eisenstadt.

The Commemorative Year 2018.

The Gellis family…

Just in time for Rosh haShana 5779 we could publish the indices for the birth-, marriage- and death records of Eisenstadt 1895 – 1938.

There is – especially in the commemorative year – often too theoretical talk about the Jews, the „Anschluss“ and the Holocaust. As a result the Shoa is threatened to lose its singularity.

Indices are not only a tremendous help to anyone interested in genealogy, but writing indices is – similar to our work on the Jewish Cemeteries – above all about giving back jews their names and their history.

Even when writing the Eisenstadt indices, we were confronted with touching stories.

On June 11, 1938, at a time when the Nazis had long begun to deport the Jews from Eisenstadt and all other Jewish Communities of today's Burgenland, the unemployed shoemaker's assistant Samuel (Schmuli) Gellis committed suicide.

His slightly older sister Therese married Bernhard Simon in 1904. The couple had three children. Both Therese and Bernhard Simon were murdered in the Shoa.

Unfortunately we don't know, what happened to the older sister of Samuel Gellis, Gisela, and his younger sister Pauline, and whether they survived the Shoa.

Both parents of Samuel Gellis and his sisters, their father Abraham Gellis, died 1919, and their mother Josefine Gellis, nee Rosenthal, died 1925, are also buried at the younger Jewish Cemetery of Eisenstadt.

There we too find the graves of the grandparents of Samuel Gellis: his grandfather Bernhard Gellis, died 1887, and his grandmother Franziska Gelli, nee straw, died 1905.

At the older Jewish Cemetery of Eisenstadt are buried the great-grandfather Moses, Elijah Gellis, died 1865, the great-grandmother Gellis Amalia, nee Shisha, died 1868, the great-great-grandfather Jakob Gellis, died 1858, and the great-great-grandmother Gütel Chaja Gellis, died 1843.

The great-great-grandfather Jakob Gellis is described in the Hebrew grave inscription as a distinguished man and Torah scholar.

Also at the older Jewish Cemetery we find the graves of the maternal great-grandfather and great-grandmother: Jakob straw, died 1856, and Rösel straw, died 1866.

Five generations of the Gellis family. For 220 years they stayed, lived and worked safely and contentedly.
Until 1938.

1 comment Rosh Hashanah to 5779

Thank you

A very big thank you to the Eisenstadt, their mayor Mag. Thomas Steiner and especially to Josef Kornfeld and his two employees and Thomas Bernhard from the municipal building yard Eisenstadt, ...

A very big thank you to the Eisenstadt, their mayor Mag Thomas Steiner and especially to Josef Kornfeld and his two employees and Thomas Bernhard from the municipal building yard Eisenstadt to us today -. A again - and have helped tremendously in over 30 degree heat!

In the course of digital acquisition of the younger Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt 2017 showed that almost a third of the grave stones were toppled and often broken. Half of which had sunk into the ground or lay, often in several parts, even in other places in the cemetery. Many of the Hebrew grave inscriptions were no longer legible, many of the grave stones were sunk shortly completely in the ground and have been virtually untraceable.

It was to save order of the day, in fact, what can still be saved: After detection and classification of the grave stones, the stones had now established, be returned to their original locations and at least positioned so that the inscriptions are legible and the grave stones not damaged further.

Since most grave stones weighing several hundred kilos, of course, was not to think about a job on their own initiative. And it may be repeated: We still do not find it for granted and are really happy that the Eisenstadt does this so valuable contribution to the restoration of the cemetery, a work the way that goes far beyond all closed contracts and obligations!
(The Green Monster vehicle that I call down "heavy equipment", incidentally, is called "Telescopic handlers" as I learned today).

Not least because it is also in this work one of the most important mitzvot, the "Kavod Hamet", respect and protect the dignity of the dead.

Work on the younger Jewish cemetery is, however, continues: Some stones have yet to be established, because the space for the large telescopic loader was too tight now and we are working hard on in the creation of QR codes for each grave stone as well as permanent additions and corrections the digital version. We will keep you posted ...

1 comment Thanks to


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