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Mauthausen Victims to Be Remembered

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The 30th anniversary of the liberation of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, May 5, will be marked by the laying of a cornerstone for a monument to the thousands of Jews who died there, it was announced here by the Mauthausen Monument Committee. Mauthausen, located 100 miles northwest of Vienna, was one of the largest Nazi extermination centers.

The monument, in the form of a seven-armed menorah, is the project of a special committee of Jews still living in Vienna, including Dr, Anton Pick, president of the Jewish Community of Vienna, who serves as chairman of the committee; Simon Wiesenthal, tracer of ex-Nazis; Chief Rabbi Akiba Eisenberg; and Dr. Anton Winter, president of the Keren Hayesod of Vienna, Former Israeli Ambassador to Austria, Yitzhak Patish, serves as patron of the project, which also has the cooperation of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, the monument committee here said. The ceremony that will feature the laying of the cornerstone is expected to be attended by Otto Roesch, Austrian Minister of Interior and by other Austrian dignitaries and the leaders of the Austrian Jewish community.

Dr. Leon Zelman, manager of the Austrian Travel Agency, who was recently in the U.S. to promote the project, was remanded to Mauthausen in 1944 at the age of 17, and spent four months as a prisoner in Ebensee, one of its satellite camps, the monument committee reported. He pointed out that other monuments had been erected at Mauthausen by nations whose citizens had been imprisoned there–France, Poland, the USSR, Luxembourg–but that up to now the Jewish victims of the Holocaust have been represented only by a few small plaques in inconspicuous places. The site for the new monument, he said, has been provided by the Austrian Interior Ministry.

The monument, designed by Israeli sculptor Dov Hoff, will stand five meters tall, and will be made of stainless steel. The Hebrew word “z’chor” (remember), also in stainless steel, will stand a few feet away from the main sculpture. “Six arms of the menorah will symbolize the six million Jews cruelly murdered in the Holocaust,” Dr. Zelman said. “The seventh arm, standing out from the rest, will symbolize the indestructible soul of the Jewish people.” The seventh arm will also be equipped with a torch base that can be lighted at memorial ceremonies, he said.

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