Grand Opening: 3rd Part of the Brigittenau “Path of Remembrance”, June 25, 2019.
A group of around 30 people gathered at Gaußplatz in Vienna’s 20th District for the inauguration of five new stations to extend the existing Path of Remembrance through Brigittenau.
Roswitha Hammer opened the ceremony by introducing the “Stones of Remembrance” Association and describing its activities. She explained that the Brigittenau Path was created by the Association as a reminder of former Jewish life in the neighbourhood as well as a commemoration to its many citizens who were deported and murdered, providing them a renenewed presence in Brigittenau. She thanked the staff and volunteers without whom the “Stones of Remembrance” would not exist. Special special thanks were also offered to Rudolf Forster who proofread the brochure prepared for the day’s ceremony.
Unfortunately the District Councillor, Mr Florian Winkler, had to cancel his participation on short notice. In his place, Ms. Hammer said a few words about the existing Path of Remembrance, reporting that further expansion was planned in future thanks to the initiatives of several residents of the Kosterneuburgerstraße 58 and 60, and Jägerstraße 7 who have initiated applications for additonal stones and commemorative wall panels.
Benjamin Haspel, grandson of Wolf and Gusta, came from Israel to attend the ceremony. Benjamin’s father, Bernhard, was a great athlete at Hakoah. He studied medicine in Vienna and managed to finish his studies at the end of 1938 before fleeing to Palestine. Benjamin Haspel explained that he’d learned about the “Stones of Remembrance” from a friend and was inspired to initiate a stone for his family.
At the address, we remembered Margarethe Münz, Max Habers, and the brothers Alfred and Felix Katz’.
Attending from the UK were: Sir Peter Gershon and Lady Gershon, Katherine Gershon (Margarethe’s great-granddaughter) and her partner John O’Dwyer, their son Joshua Percival (Margarethe’s great-great-grandson), and Tim Gershon (Margarethe’s great-grandson).
Sir Peter said that his mother revealed very little about Margarethe, except that she and her daughter enjoyed Sachertorte in the famous Kaffee Sacher. Their love for sweets and baking is still present in the family today.
Ernestine and Leopold Kessler, and Rosa Neuhauser were commemorated here.
The Kessler’s grandson, Charlie Warmington of Belfast (Northern Ireland), spoke with great emotion about his family history. Although little is known about the private lives of Ernestine and Leopold, their two children, Gertrude and Fritz survived thanks to the children’s transport to England. Gertrude married a doctor from Northern Ireland and moved with him to Belfast.Regarding Rosa Neuhauser, only the dates of her birth and deportation are known. Winfried Garscha, historian from the DÖW (Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance), spoke in memoriam Rosa Neuhauser. He then described his work at the DÖW, recounting the situation of the Jews in Vienna during the time of the Second World War.
The Gershons and John O’Dwyer also initiated mourning for Ester Münz. Sir Peter described how Katherine’s research led to some important findings about Ester. Her grandchildren were able to escape to Switzerland and Australia, but that she herself was deported to Minsk at the age of 77 where she was murdered.
As for Salomon Binder and Heinrich Schneebaum, only their dates of birth and deportation are known.
At this address,we commemorated Amalie Kornspan and Ernest Kandler.
Grandson Harry, great-grandson Mario Merl and great-great-grandson Pascal Merl from Austria were present to inauguate the stone. Amalie had twice fled catastrophe, leaving her home of Lemberg for Vienna, and then from Vienna back to Lemberg where she she was murdered violently. Speaking on behalf of his family, Amelie’s great-grandson Pascal described how special it was as a descendant to be able to commemorate his great-great-grandmother with this ceremony, standing in front of her aparment which had been her at her long-standing address in Vienna.