Picture Credit: CEN/ Mirko Malik & CEN/ IKG/ Ouriel Morgensztern
A photo exhibition featuring Holocaust victims faces has been daubed with swastikas in Austria where 56 percent are unaware that six million Jews died.
The photo exhibition called ‘Against Forgetting’ is taking place at a prominent location on the Vienna Ring Road, a grand boulevard in the historic Innere Stadt district of the Austrian capital.
Organised by the ESRA Psychosocial Centre, which focuses on the victims of the Nazi regime and their descendants, the exhibition features portraits of Nazi concentration camp survivors taken by the German-Italian photographer and film director Luigi Toscano.
Just days after the exhibition was opened by Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, the huge portraits have been vandalised.
Knife cuts are visible on many portraits while also some were painted over with large swastikas.
An ESRA spokesperson called it an “antisemitic and disrespectful act of disruption”.
The spokesperson said that everyone at the centre was “shocked and outraged” that an exhibition honouring victims of the holocaust could result in such an ugly reaction.
The centre spoke of a “disrespect for art” which above all “shows disrespect for the people portrayed”.
ESRA warned that “anyone who does not understand this part of Austrian and European history runs the risk of succumbing to today’s unscrupulous politicians with their totalitarian and contemptuous ideals”.
Archive Pictures – Austria Sends Kids And Migrants To Visit Nazi Concentration Camps
A complaint has been filed with the police who have confirmed that they are investigating the incident.
Earlier this month, the Austrian Government announced plans to send schoolchildren, migrants and asylum seekers to a Nazi concentration camp to learn about the horrors of World War II.
The project, launched by state secretary of the Ministry of the Interior Karoline Edtstadler, called for pupils and migrants to visit the country’s Mauthausen Concentration Camp.
According to reports, 42 percent of Austrians involved in a recent Holocaust study were completely unaware of the Nazi death camp.
Edtstadler launched the plan in response to a recently published ‘Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness’ study which showed that 56 percent of Austrians were unaware that six million Jews were murdered during World War II.
Meanwhile, 13 percent even said that the number of killed Jews was “widely exaggerated” while 21 percent did not even known that Adolf Hitler was a fellow Austrian.
Edtstadler said it is time to reacquaint Austrians with their recent dark history and period when Adolf Hitler, born in Braunau am Inn in the state of Upper Austria, annexed the country into Nazi Germany with wide support from the local population at the time.