Vandals strike memorial to Austrian Jews

An artwork remembering the suffering of Austrian Jews under the Nazis was destroyed days after it was installed.

Artist Peter Wagner had planted the 70 wooden stakes last week alongside a road in the town of Oberschutzen, near a controversial memorial that serves as a reminder of Germany’s annexation of Austria on March 12, 1938.

According to the Kurier newspaper, Wagner’s project was called “zone38 – 70 years after the annexation,” and was dedicated to the memory of the Jews of the Oberwart district.

Wagner reported the incident to the police.

Oberschutzen Mayor Gunter Toth said he had noticed that many stakes had been removed but thought it had something to do with traffic regulations.

Wagner said the vandalism was probably a deliberate act by those who disliked being reminded of the past. Austria has been slow to recogize its complicity in the Nazi crimes.

“Someone deliberately did this, removing the stakes so we can’t set them back up again,” he said.

Wagner’s has another art remembrance project scheduled to open nearby in mid-March.

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