A compilation. In the Spring Tony and I took a day trip to the former Reichswerke Hermann Göring in Linz, now in part the Vöestalpine Museum of Contemporary History. Over the summer Jack and I had occasion to drop in on the little-known Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance in Vienna; and, disappointed by a new French cafe that was way oversold, found ourselves one afternoon wandering the Servitenviertel neighborhood of Vienna’s 9th district, rich in Jewish history.
In 1938 a massive iron and steelworks was constructed in Linz, serving as an essential part of the nationalist-socialist arms industry. The museum tells the story of this forced labor camp and its laborers in several well-curated stages.
Not all forced laborers were considered equal, of course.
Barracks were constructed as living quarters; not surprisingly, many were placed near to factories that would ultimately become targets for destruction during WWII. In the post-war era the barracks served as family homes for a period.
The last segment of the exhibit described the struggles facing the now, “Displaced Persons” after the war.
To quote the motivation for the exhibit, “Such a museum is in response to the company’s own responsibility toward its history. Voestalpine is fully aware that the company can truly face the future only when it has come to grips with the past.”
A couple of months later Jack and I happened upon the Documentation Center of the Austrian Resistance, tucked into the courtyard of the old City Hall. The permanent exhibit is small but informative, offering a description of the Resistance along with several stories of Viennese who were part of the movement.
On a completely unrelated outing to investigate a new French Bistro (that did not impress us) Jack and I continued wandering because I had remembered reading something about the neighborhood and its memorial to the Jewish persons who had been deported. Alsergrund was home to the city’s second-largest Jewish population prior to 1938, and entire blocks of families were deported. The memorial is a case containing 462 keys, each with a name symbolizing a Jewish person who had lived and worked in the neighborhood.