STONES OF REMEMBRANCE
Each stone tells a story of real people… people who had their lives stolen.
REMEMBERING + HONORING
Throughout Vienna, gold plated plaques called “Stones of Remembrance” have been placed by German artist Gunther Demwig in front of the buildings where Jewish families once lived. These symbolic gravestones were designed to honor victims of the Holocaust who were not afforded a grave and serve to commemorate their lives.
Vienna’s Jews were under immense pressure to emigrate or were forcibly removed by the Nazis. After being physically beaten, insulted, demoralized and abused, Vienna’s Jews had their property and personal belongings confiscated. The vast majority of these Jews were sent to their deaths in the concentration camps. Here and around the city, approximately 22,000 Stones of Remembrance have been embedded in the walls or placed in the sidewalks in front of these residences.
You can learn more at the Stones of Remembrance Association for Jewish Victims of the Holocaust.
In Leopoldstadt, at the corner of Nestroyplatz and Praterstrasse, is a large ornate white building in the square. This is the Nestroy Hof, one of Vienna’s historical theaters. With a restaurant, beer garden and dance club, the Nestroy Hof was once a focal point of Jewish social life in Leopoldstadt.
The Nestroy Hof was built in 1898 by Austrian architect Oskar Marmorek, but not for himself. After marrying his young bride, painter Nelly Schwarz, Oskar decided he might need to get in good with his in-laws. So… he built this magnificent theater for his father-in-law, Julius Schwarz. The Anschluss changed everything.
In 1940, the Gestapo confiscated the theater from the Schwarz family. They promptly gifted ownership to the Polsterer family, prominent German industrialists supporting the Nazi war effort. After the War, this majestic theater was neglected and forgotten. In 1997, it had become a supermarket. Then in 2003, the original ceiling was rediscovered. Shortly after, workers surfaced the long-forgotten theater stage. Although the theater has been restored to its former glory, even today it is still owned by the descendants of the Polsterer family.
On the corner of Nestroyplatz, closest to the Ubahn sign and Praterstrasse, is a gold plaque embedded in the sidewalk. This stone honors two passionate theater lovers, Bernhard and Adele Sachs. Bernhard and Adele lived in an apartment building that was once located where you are standing. The Sachs’ neighbors were the actors who performed at the Nestroy Hof.
In 1941, the Nazis confiscated their apartment and deported the Sachs to the Łódź Ghetto in Poland where they perished. Kurt Sachs, their surviving son, placed the plaque where he knew his parents walked often, happy and full of life, crossing the square on their way to the theater.
OTHER STONES OF REMEMBRANCE THROUGHOUT VIENNA
If you make your way through the city of Vienna, you will undoubtedly see Stones of Remembrance embedded in the sidewalk and the exterior walls of buildings. Leopoldstadt was the heart of the pre-war Jewish community. As such, there is the largest concentration of Stones there. Please be respectful and courteous.
These victims of the Holocaust “Fled to Milan, Italy. They were deported to Auschwitz where they were killed.
In memory of the 117 Jewish women and men, and twelve children. They lived here in this apartment building before they were deported by the Nazis. Only nine survived.