Museum Judenplatz - Jewish Square, Vienna

4 out of 5 stars 40 Reviews

Judenplatz 8, 1010 Wien +43 1 5350431

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  • Judenplatz
    Judenplatz
    by croisbeauty
  • the statue of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
    the statue of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
    by croisbeauty
  • Judenplatz
    Judenplatz
    by croisbeauty
  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Judenplatz

    by toonsarah Updated Jul 5, 2014

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Judenplatz was the centre of Jewish life in Vienna in medieval times. The Jews lived in a ghetto of just 70 houses, their backs turned to surrounding streets to form a wall, and in the centre was this large square. They were persecuted almost constantly, and in the 15th century driven out of this area and indeed all of Austria by Duke Albrecht V. But they returned, although settling in a different part of the city.

    The square has a museum, the Misrachi-Haus, devoted to Jewish history in the city from the pogroms of the 15th century to the Holocaust. It also provides access to viewings of the ruins of a medieval synagogue that were discovered beneath the square itself. And in the square is the prominent memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, the work of the English artist Rachel Whiteread. Our friends have told us that at the time of its erection here in 2000 there was a lot of controversy as not everyone felt that such a memorial was needed, while others disliked this particular design on aesthetic grounds. It is true that it is not immediately attractive, but its clean lines, such a contrast with the Baroque flamboyance of much of Vienna, have a certain calm appeal. It is intended to resemble a library in a room, maybe from one of the surrounding houses, turned inside out. The books are uniform and their spines turned inwards – we see only the edges of their pages. They stand for the vast number of victims, as well as the notion of Jews as the "People of the Book." The library has doors but they too are inside out and have no knobs or handles. They suggest the possibility of coming and going, but cannot be opened. It is deliberately bunker-like and brutal. Beneath the ever-closed doors a text in German, Hebrew and English reads:
    In commemoration of more than 65,000 Austrian Jews
    who were killed by the Nazis between
    1938 and 1945
    On the plinth around the other three sides are engraved the names of those places where Austrian Jews were murdered during Nazi rule.

    At the other end of the square is a 19th century monument to the German poet Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. The original statue of Lessing was created by Seigfried Charoux and unveiled in 1935, but four years later it was removed by the National Socialists to be melted down for weaponry. Lessing was a key figure in the Enlightenment movement and an advocate of religious tolerance. In the early 1960s Charoux created a second Lessing monument out of bronze; this was at first positioned Ruprechtskirche but moved to the Judenplatz in 1981, where it stands today.

    Near this is an attractive building (no. 11), the Verwaltungsgerichtshofs or Austrian Administrative Court of Justice, formerly the Bohemian Court Chancellery. It is very ornate with female figures above the entrances representing the cardinal virtues of moderation, wisdom, justice and bravery, and a telamon (as such male figures used as columns are known) either side of each – see photo three. High above an angel blows a trumpet, flanked by more figures.

    Next tip: lunch in the Judenplatz, zum Scherer

    Judenplatz Telemon
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    Holocaust Memorial and Jewish Museum.

    by breughel Updated Nov 7, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Judenplatz which I discovered in the 1990s and which impressed me by its architecture changed in the year 2000 to become a unique place of remembrance in Wien by the opening of the Holocaust Memorial and the Jewish Museum.

    The Museum is located in the Misrachi-Haus built in1694 at Nr 8 on Judenplatz and concerns essentially the medieval Jewry in Vienna and excavations of a medieval synagogue found in 1995 under the square. Here is also the data base with the names and fates of the Austrian holocaust-victims.
    The Holocaust Memorial in the square stands for the 65.000 Austrian Jewish victims of the Shoah, made by the English artist Rachel Whiteread. It consists of a 10 x 7 x 4 m block in concrete. The walls of the memorial show petrified books turned inwards. It is a "nameless" library which can not be entered.
    On a plinth are written the names of the 41 concentration camps where Austrian Jews were exterminated. One of the main extermination camps was of course Auschwitz-Birkenau (ref. my reviews on this camp near Krakow).

    The architectural contrast between this monument and the Judenplatz is certainly important and was not without controversy. Maybe it is done on purpose to remember what a terrible shock it was for the victims.

    Jewish Museum. Holocaust Memorial.
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    Monument for Jewish nation

    by Raimix Updated Nov 2, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This monument is a great prove that Austrians love not only their nation, but others too. Jewish is one of them - this monument memorizing the times then millions of Jewish was killed then Second World War began.

    What is more, one of the initiative people to kill Jewish was Adolph Hitler, and he was not German as it seems like, but he lived in Austria, some period lived in Vienna. Monument is a complex of a few sculptures showing scenes of Jewish people lifes.

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    Judenplatz

    by croisbeauty Updated Oct 23, 2013

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    Judenplatz (the Jewish Square) was the center of Jewish life in the Middle Ages of Vienna, which was focused on this place. At the Judenplatz was the hospital, the synagogue, the bath house, Misrachi-house, the house of the Rabbi and the Jewish school. Because of the school the square bore the name "Schulhof", as it was a schoolyard at the time.
    There used to stand the medieval synagogue on the square, right underneath in the portion where now stands the Holocaust Memorial. The synagogue was destroyed in the "Wiener Gaserah" (Viennese decree or pogrom) of 1421. The Rabbi Johan set the synagogue on fire for the Jews at "or-sarua", to die as martyrs. This was a form of "Kiddush Hashem" (sacrification of the Name), in order to escape religious persecution and compulsory baptism. The remaining stones of the synagogue were taken for the building of the old Viennese university.
    The Holocaust Memorial, a project based on an idea of Simon Wiesenthal, was unveiled in 2000. It was created by UK artist Rachel Whiteread, in a shape of reinforced concrete cube, resembling the library.
    The monument of a German poet Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was created by Siegfried Charoux in 1932, but soon was removed from this place in 1939 by the National Socialists to be melted down for the purpose of making weaponry. Lessing was in Vienna in 1775/76, had an audience with Joseph II, and was therefore in a position to influence and shape the Viennese cultural climate. Lessing's drama "Nathan der Weise" is considered a key text of the enlightenment (the age of reason) and helped in the formulation of the idea of tolerance.
    In 1965 Charoux created a second Lessing monument, out of bronze, that was unveiled in Ruprechtkirche, but then in 1981 moved to Judenplatz, where it stands today.

    Judenplatz Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial inscription in front of the memorial the statue of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

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    Bohemian Court Chancellery

    by croisbeauty Updated Oct 23, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The former Bohemian Court Chancellery is housing now the Austrian Administrative Court of Justice. This building was erected from 1709 to 1714 on the designs of famous Austrian architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, but the palace received its present look in the 19th century.
    The building was originally the official seat of the B.C.C., which was united organizationally with the Austrian Court Chancellery. Then in 1848 it was occupied by the Ministry of the Interior and some other institutions before housing present Court of Justice.
    Its facade on Judenplatz was originally the back of the building but the main entrance gate was changed in the 20th century. There are two female figures, decorating the portal, which represent the Cardinal Virtues (prudence, justice, temperance or restraint and fortitude or courage). Above the portal are the coats of arms of the Bohemia and Austria. Two male figures are Bohemian kings Wenceslaus I and Wenseslaus II.

    Bohemian Court Chancellery coats of arms of Behemia and Austria Judenplatz

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Holocaust Memorial & Jewish Museum.

    by breughel Updated Jun 28, 2013

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Judenplatz which I discovered in the 1990s and which impressed me by its architecture changed in the year 2000 to become a unique place of remembrance in Wien by the opening of the Holocaust Memorial and the Jewish Museum.

    The Museum is located in the Misrachi-Haus built in1694 at Nr 8 on Judenplatz and concerns essentially the medieval Jewry in Vienna and excavations of a medieval synagogue found in 1995 under the square. Here is also the data base with the names and fates of the Austrian holocaust-victims.
    The Holocaust Memorial in the square stands for the 65.000 Austrian Jewish victims of the Shoah, made by the English artist Rachel Whiteread. It consists of a 10 x 7 x 4 m block in concrete. The walls of the memorial show petrified books turned inwards. It is a "nameless" library which can not be entered.
    On a plinth are written the names of the 41 concentration camps where Austrian Jews were exterminated. One of the main extermination camps was of course Auschwitz-Birkenau (ref. my reviews on this camp near Krakow).

    The architectural contrast between this monument and the Judenplatz is certainly important and was not without controversy. Maybe it is done on purpose to remember what a terrible shock it was for the victims.

    Jewish Museum at Judenplatz. Holocaust Memorial at Judenplatz.
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    Remarkable architecture.

    by breughel Updated Jun 28, 2013

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    On my first visit of the Judenplatz in the 1990s my interest was especially oriented to the architecture of the surrounding buildings as this is one of the nicest squares of Vienna. The Holocaust Memorial and the Jewish Museum date from the year 2000.

    The most impressive building on the Judenplatz, at number 11, is the Böhmische Hofkanzlei or Bohemian Court Chancery built by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach from 1709 till 1714. Today it is the seat of the Verfassungsgericht (Constitutional Court).
    It has imposing baroque portals figures representing the Cardinal virtues and above is the coats of arms of the Bohemia and Austria. Actually this façade on Judenplatz was originally the back of the building. By walking around into the Wipplingerstrasse one can admire the other side of the Hofkanzlei.
    Other remarkable buildings I liked are at Nr 10 the Haus der Genossenschaft der Kleidermacher (house of the tailors corporation) and even more that beautiful house at Nr 5 in late historic style with entrance hall in Secessionists Style as built in 1899 by architect Max Löw. On the ground floor is now a "Friseur - hairdresser".

    B��hmische Hofkanzlei - Verfassungsgericht. House at Nr 5 Judenplatz.
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    The heart of the Jewish District

    by Jefie Updated Jan 7, 2013

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    The first Jews came to Vienna aournd the middle of the 12th century and established themselves in the area now known as Judenplatz. They built a synagogue, a school and a hospital. At the beginning of the 15th century, the Jewish population, which by then had grown to about a thousand people, was persecuted and finally driven out of the ghetto in 1421. The synagogue was destroyed, and the empty houses were sold or given away. This explains why most buildings around the square today have little to do with the Jewish community. There is, however, a Jewish museum (located at Judenplatz 8) and a Jewish Holocaust Memorial. This modern-looking monument is a large concrete block that created some controversy at first. It was designed by British artist Rachel Whiteread, and it sort of looks like an inside-out library, with the splines of the books facing inwards. Although it features a door, it is only symbolic and the monument is not accessible. One of the most striking buildings around the square is the Bohemian Court Chancery (Judenplatz 11), built at the beginning of the 18th century. This was the seat of the kingdom of Bohemia, then ruled by the Habsburg. It now houses the Austrian Administrative Court of Justice. Its main entrance featuring elegantly carved statues is its most remarkable characteristic. There are also some nice little cafes around the square.

    Holocaust Memorial on Judenplatz Cafes around Judenplatz Main entrance of the Bohemian Chancery Court Statue of a Bohemain king above the gateway
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    The Holocaust Memorial

    by leics Written Nov 18, 2012

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    Judenplatz.....'Jew's square'...was the centre of Vienna's Medieval Jewish community.

    Beneath Judenplatz lie, amongst parts of other Medieval buildings, the remains of the synagogue which was destroyed during the 'Wiener Geserah' (pogrom) of 1420/21.

    The Holocaust memorial which now stands there was designed by UK artist Rachel Whiteread. It was erected in 2000 , a huge concrete block in the form of library shelving with the books turned spine-inward. The memorial was never intended to be beautiful, nor to fit within its surroundings...and it is neither beautiful nor does it fit easily within the Baroque charm of Judenplatz. It was intended to disturb you, to make you notice, to make you think.

    >In commemoration of more than 65,000 Austrian Jews who were killed by the Nazis between 1938 and 1945.

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    Survivors.

    by breughel Written Aug 19, 2012

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    Each time I visit Vienna I remember a girl I met when I was a teenager and became friend with.
    She was born in Vienna. Her father and grandfather were exterminated by the Nazis because they were Jews. With her mother and grandmother she could flee to Belgium where they stayed hidden till the Liberation.

    We would talk of French literature, read together poems of Rimbaud and more daring (for that time) the "sulfurous" Baudelaire. She would play Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Not too well but she was playing for me and that was more important.

    Strange enough, when I remember her, she never spoke about the Shoah nor did her mother who was a colleague and fried of mine. I don't know how they escaped Austria, where and how they got hidden and protected in Belgium.

    We were young, alive and were just thinking of the future.

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    The worst time in Austrian History

    by globetrott Updated Jul 30, 2012

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    Right opposite of the famous Albertina you see this monument for the victims of fashism, made by Alfred Hridlicka.
    When you click on my 2nd picture, you might understand the meaning more easily:
    There are the 2 marble sculpture-towers and between them there is another sculpture and on the right a very small person on his knees - that sculpture has a sad meaning, dating back into the times, when the Nazi regime took over in Austria :
    This sculpture shows one of the many jews, who had to brush the streets of Vienna after the take-over by the Nazis - Doctors, Professors from university and other formerly rich and famous citicens of Vienna on their knees, cleaning the streets, watched and jeered at by their neighbours...
    Btw.: The sculptures were made by Alfred Hrdlicka, who still calls himself a communiste today.
    in the beginning the sculpture of the jew on his knees did not have any thorns on top - they had to been added, because lots of tourists used that sculpture like a bench, taking a rest on the back of the sculpture, certainly not in a bad meaning, but simply not at all understanding what they were doing....

    the sadest time in Austria's history the monument for the victims of Fascism
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    The Holocaust memorial in Vienna

    by yvgr Written Apr 3, 2012

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    The memorial is a steel and concrete construction with a base measuring 10 x 7 meters and a height of 3.8 meters.

    On the concrete floor before the locked double doors is a text in German, Hebrew, and English:

    Zum Gedenken an die mehr als 65 000 österreichischen
    Juden, die in der Zeit von 1938 bis 1945 von den
    Nationalsozialisten ermordet wurden.

    זכר למעלה מ-65.000 יהודים אוסטריים
    שנרצחו בשנים 1945-1938
    .ע''י הפושעים הנציונלסוציאליסטיים ימ''ש

    In commemoration of more than 65,000 Austrian Jews
    who were killed by the Nazis between
    1938 and 1945.

    — Inscriptions below the doors.

    The Holocaust memorial in Vienna The Holocaust memorial in Vienna Inscriptions on The Holocaust memorial in Vienna
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    Reality Check: Judenplatz

    by Ekaterinburg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Putting Judenplatz first on my 'To Do' list is a very conscious decision. In a week filled with pleasurable and interesting things to see and do this was the place that jolted my complacency and made me remember that Vienna wasn't always a home for everyone. For Jews it was never a secure place and long before Anschluss they had already been expelled twice, in 1420 and in 1670. When I arrived at Judenplatz, the centre of the old Jewish ghetto I got very taken up with admiring the proportions and buildings of this really pretty square. I knew the jewish Museum was here but was in no way prepared for the Rachel Whiteread Holocaust Memorial which by some oversight I had not read about. It's at the opposite end of the square from the statue of the playwright Ephraim Lessing and turning round I actually wondered what 'that shed' was doing obstructing my view. The 'Shed' was the memorial and going closer I felt a real physical shock quickly followed by emotional meltdown. It's described as a bunker but to me it was a gas chamber and nothing else. Bleak and uncompromising, it has no ornamentation apart from the bricks shaped like book spines, symbolising the thousands of burned books. It's a sickly greyish-white colour with a large locked door and no means of escape. On the raised kerb surrounding it are lists of the Nazi death camps.
    Is this a fitting memorial to the 65,00 Austrian jews exterminated by the nazis ? Personally, I still find it hard to decide and it's a memorial that has caused huge controversey. The levels of loathing and revulsion that it aroused in me were quite hard to cope with but I suppose that could be seen as a measure of its success.

    Holocaust Memorial in Judenplatz
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    Jewish Holocaust Memorial

    by Roadquill Written Jul 19, 2010

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    Located in Judenplatz, the Memorial to the 65,000 Austrian Holocaust Victims was unveiled in 2000. Designed to reflect 7,000 books turned inside out, the doors are locked to represent the loss of those who were murdered.

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    Holocaust Memorial

    by gubbi1 Written Jun 20, 2010

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    On the Judenplatz in the inner city of Vienna you will find a memorial dedicated to the 65.000 Austrian Jews that were murdered during the 3rd Reich. It was designed by the British artist Rachel Whiteread and unveiled on 25 October 2000.
    On the basement you will find the names of concentration camps.

    For an explication on the design and the concept of this memorial please have a look at the link below.

    Holocaust Memorial, Vienna, AT Holocaust Memorial, Vienna, AT
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