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Welcome to the Vienna Project newsletter!
Welcome to The Vienna Project newsletter

If you are receiving this newsletter for the first time, you may want to visit the project web site www.theviennaproject.org to first gain an overview of the project.
 

The work of The Vienna Project addresses the meaning of memory in relation to ideas about building diverse communities. This newsletter covers the last four months of work focused on issues of community and dialogue. The writing reflects the enormous commitment made by members of The Vienna Project team to activate the 38 memory sites with public memory presented in a variety of engaging formats. The work blends rigorous historic research with artistic innovation that is the hallmark of this memorial project.  



Current Programs
 
Social Media
 
Johanna Taufner has been instrumental in expanding The Vienna Project’s profile to international audiences. Her expertise to create lively posts addressing a range of topics relevant to memory and to news about the multiple victim groups represented in The Vienna Project, has exceeded all expectations. When Johanna started working in the summer of 2013, our Facebook followers numbered 300.  We currently have over 1000 followers with “likes" coming from over 45 countries, including: Austria, US, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Iraq, Ukraine, Mexico, Singapore, Uruguay, Portugal, Israel, UK, France, Germany, Canada, and Spain. We have 209 followers on Twitter. On our Tumblr blog, Johanna writes about the project’s events in German, giving inside information about the project itself. Johanna hired a new blogger, Margot Landl, in the spring of 2014 to help cover the performances taking place at the 38 sites. Johanna notes: “We also interview people who work for the project to show the various approaches, the different layers of remembrance, and the variety of people involved in the work.”
 
Video Interviews
 
Historians Dr. Georg Traska and Dr. Jérôme Segal have worked as a dynamic team to develop a significant collection of video interviews capturing last testimonies from survivors in Austria and Israel, and eye-witness reporters in Austria, regarding the ravages of National Socialism taking place on the streets of Vienna between 1938-1945. Topics correspond to many of the 38 sites: Staatsoper, Stadttempel, Gestapo headquarters at Morzinplatz, Hakoah, and deportation sites such as Aspang Bahnhof. The interviews represent multiple victim groups and also include fresh conversations with two Austrian experts, Doron Rabinovici and Margit Berner, who discuss the history of National Socialism and its relation to contemporary expressions of racism and Xenophobia. The work is ongoing. 

Jerome also organized a film screening of “City without Jews” in partnership with the Prague Multicultural Center and the Jewish Museum Vienna this past spring, attracting close to 100 audience members. The program included live music.  Georg participated in the panel discussion that followed. 

Performance Art

Ildiko Meny, trained as an MD with a specialization in trauma (PTSD) and art therapy, also curates our Performance Art program. She used international remembrance days for the various groups as a guidepost for developing a series of compelling public performances and silent vigils. The performances also linked to human rights agendas included: readings, poetry, dance, performance art, plantings, and installations situated at the 38 memory sites. The eight performances drew different size audiences: from 6, to 20, to 30, and close to 50 at one event! Audience members for “Move this World” dance performance came from six countries. Ildiko remarks: “artists for the performance program came from Austria, Hungary, Israel, US, and Guatemala. I also launched a Facebook exhibition in 2013 called Hair Code that brought together 30 participants from different countries on the occasion of ’16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.’” (Photo of Memory Games by Nina Prada)

Guided Tours



Kate Melchior served as the tour researcher and guide for The Vienna Project. The guided tour program was focused on the 38 memory sites located in 16 districts around Vienna.  The program included the histories of multiple victim groups persecuted under National Socialism and reflected extensive research about this period of history. The three tours: “Highlights of the Vienna Ringstraβe,” “Political Systems: National Socialism in Vienna,” and “A Day in the Life: Pre-War Jewish Communities of the Leopoldstadt and Alsergrund Districts” were developed with diverse audiences in mind. Kate observes: “In April through June, I conducted seventeen tours. The Viennese Gymnasium teachers, the Austrian Jewish Student Union, and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Human Rights booked a number of tours, with additional tour registration coming from the general public. Tour attendees hailed from more than 25 different countries around the world, including visitors from Israel, Thailand, Russia, and Canada, and ranging in age from 11 to 75 years old! Groups such as Austrian Jewish Association, American International School of Vienna, and the AWA Vienna promoted my tours on internal social networks. Tour attendance grew over time, attracting crowds averaging 25 people, with the largest tour numbering 33 guests.”
 
Having worked as a teacher in Vienna for two years, Kate is headed to grad school in the fall. She is currently developing new curricula that will be posted on the project web site and Smartphone app, enabling teachers and students in Vienna and beyond, to investigate this history by taking virtual tours of the site.
 
Additional tours were conducted in the spring by Dipling Peter Mlczoch and Walter Juraschek, focused on destroyed Jewish culture in the second district.
 

While The Vienna Project does not provide a clear pathway for world peace, it does participate in the dialogue, and support and promote communities living in harmony with difference.
 
Please check the web site for program updates. Our next newsletter will introduce a world-wide call for “Archival Letters.” This outreach sets the stage for our Closing Events. We hope to see you in Vienna on October 18th!

Best,
Karen
 
 

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