Unveiling of 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.
Originally scheduled to be finished on 9 November 1996, the 58th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the completion was delayed for four years due to various controversies both political and aesthetic, but also setbacks due to concerns over the archaeological excavations beneath the site. The total costs paid by the city of Vienna were 160 million Schillings, including 8 million for the memorial by Rachel Whiteread, 15 million for planning, 23 million for the beginning of construction work, 40 million for structural measures for Misrachi-Haus, and 74 million for the archaeological viewing area. The memorial was unveiled on 25 October 2000, one day before the Austrian national holiday. In attendance was the President of Austria Thomas Klestil, Mayor of Vienna Michael Häupl, President of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien Ariel Muzicant, Simon Wiesenthal, Rachel Whiteread, and further dignitaries and guests. The memorial was created five years before the erection the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin.