Ceremony marking the Opening of the 15th Section of the Path of Remembrance in Leopoldstadt, 2nd District, Part one, on Sunday, September 12th, 2021
The brilliant autumn sun made it feel more like a summer’s day in Manes-Sperber-Park where the Opening Ceremony was held.
Ms. Roswitha Hammer warmly welcomed the more than 50 participants present. She noted that people had travelled from all corners of the world to be present, despite the difficulties presented by the on-going pandemic. This included many relatives of those to be honoured who had come from the USA, Colombia, Italy, Great Britain, Germany and, of course, Austria. She then presented the tour of the various “Stones of Remembrance” to be laid during the course of the day.
Following this, 2nd District Representative Mr. Manager Alexander Nikolai, spoke with simultaneous translated by Ms. Hammer. He expressed his joy and satisfaction at witnessing how the Viennese population and city’s politicians have developed an increased historical awareness over the last few decades, noting that the 2nd District is now once again the Viennese neighbourhood with the largest Jewish population. He remarked that the “Stones of Remembrance” have played an important part in making this happen. Their ‘Stones’ ensure that the names those who had been displaced and murdered are once again present in the city and visible to the public eye.
Opening remarks were followed by songs by the musical ensemble, Avanim- with Daliah Hindler (vocals), Christoph Kögler (accordion and vocals), and Agnes Riha (violin). Their music provided a festival atmosphere as the group set off on their tour of the day’s sites.
At this address Simon Alois Kronfeld, and Margarete and Albin Neus were remembered.
Ilse Mor, a friend of the Neu family, was the initiator of this ‘Stone’. Ms Mor wanted to commemorate those murdered here, in the presence of family members.
Tomas Neu, the youngest son of Margarete and Albin, and his wife Ximena Neu, as well as his daughter, Manuela, along with her husband, had travelled from Bogota, Colombia to be present. Their daughter, Veronica, who lives with her family in Florence, Italy, was also present, accompanied by her children, Camilla and Emilio. Tomas Neu’s second daughter, Gabriela, from Hamburg and her daughter, Carolina, from London, were also in attendance.
Mr. Neu spoke touching words about the history of his family.
The stone for Elsa and Otto Böhm as well as Ernestine und Herbert Stark was initiated by “Stones of Remembrance”.
Malvine Wagner and nine other residents deported from this address were remembered here.
A plaque has been hung directly on the building as the municipality of Vienna (through Wiener Wohnen) has decreed that plaques may be hung on all buildings owned by the City.
Mr. Victor Wagner spoke to commemorate his great-grandmother, Malvine Wagner.
With great emotion, he recounted stories about his family history, outlining how the many failures on the part of the Republic of Austria over the last decades had impacted them. He expressed his relief and gratitude that the persistent work of many committed people has gradually improved the way that the Republic regards the families of Holocaust victims. He also expressed his appreciation to the Association and gratitude that these memorial ‘Stones’ exist.
The Stones of Remembrance Association commemorated the 9 other victims who had also been resident at this address.
Rosa and Berthold Richter were remembered here, along with Berthold’s siblings, Melitta and Otto Richter.
Emmerich and Auguste Seidl were present to inaugurate the ‘Stone’ for their aunt Rosa, and for Berthold’s family. Three generations of the Seidl family had gathered to attend the ceremony although, sadly, members of the youngest generation living in New York were unable to attend due to Corona travel restrictions.
Although their Aunt Rosa never spoke about this terrible part of her life, her descendants had successfully researched how some of their Rosa’s relatives had managed to escape. These stories were recounted today.
At this address, we commemorated Jakob Samuel and Emma Rosalie Reisz.
The Reis family from the USA and Germany and the Speiser family from Austria jointly initiated this memorial ‘Stone’. It was only through researching this commemoration that the Reis and Speiser families came to know each other. Both were delighted to have come together.
The musical group, Avanim, played other songs in this final stage of the tour.
Sigmund and Irma Balasz (check name), and Leontine Friedmann were honoured here.
Unfortunately, members of the Balasz family were unable to attend due to the pandemic. In their place, Ms. Hindler read the biography of the Balasz family from the brochure text prepared by the family.
The “Stones of Remembrance Association” initiated the ‘Stone’ for Leontine Friedmann which was then sponsored by Ms. Uta Lang.