Inauguration of 2 Stones of Remembrance in Ottakring on April 25, 2017

Nietzscheplatz 2

On a sunny, warm afternoon, around 45 people gathered at Nietzscheplatz 2 where a new Stone of Remebrance was laid for resistance fighters: Hermine and Lothar Dirmhirn.  Those gathered included relatives of those commemorated, as well as District representatives, members of the Kuffner-Sternwarte and Stones of Remembrance Associations, and many interested Viennese.  Matthias Beier of the Stones of Remembrance Association opened the ceremony, describing the goals and activities of the Association.  District Head Franz Prokop welcomed those in attendence, saying: “History must be told… The resistance fighters and their actions in the Sandleitenhof must never be forgotten…”.  Unfortunately, Herwig Dirmhirn, the grandson of Hermine and Lothar Dirmhirn and initiator of the Stone was not able to attend the ceremony. Daliah Hindler read out a text he had prepared for the ceremony booklet on his behalf. “Hermione and Lothar Dirmhirn were sentenced to death for high treason by the People’s Court for Defensive Forces and executed on February 26, 1943 at the Vienna Regional Court.” Birgit Elsner and Dinah Leupschitz-Stocker were also introduced, presenting their Eyewitness Project for Sandleiten which would be visited at the end of the afternoon. It documented the actions of resistance fighters who, in the last days of the war, peacefully disarmed Wehrmacht soldiers, thus saving Sandleiten from destruction.

Kuffner Observatory, Johann Staud-Straße 10

The group then moved to the Kuffner Observatory at Johann Staud-Straße 10 where a wall plaque in memory of Moriz von Kuffner and his relatives was solemnly unveiled.  The plaque commemorated Moritz von Kuffner, a renowned personality, honouring his scientific and social work, and describing his persecution by the Nazis.  Those present included Michel and George Eberstadt (great-grandsons) and their wives Nina Beattle and Cynthia Young, all having travelled from the USA. They expressed their gratitude that a memorial plaque had been established for von Kuffner and his relatives. (link to the speeches in full)  For Norbert Fiala and Günter Wuchterl of the Kuffner-Sternwarte Association, establishing the plaque at the entrance of the observatory was “a matter of the heart”. A book about the Kuffner Family by Ms. Klaudia Einhorn, also from the Association, was also available for consultation.

Sandleiten Exhibition

Birgit Elsner and Dinah Leupschitz-Stocker then guided people through a touching exhibition of Sandleiten prepared by the Eyewitness Project.  This comprised an impressive mobile display of photos and descriptions portaying the lives of individual resistance fighters, detailing their political and human commitment.  The entire day was organized by Daliah Hindler who managed to interweave these various initiatives in a way that enabled all to express their individual ways of remembering in a dignified manner.