28 commemorative stones
28 commemorative stones for victims of the Nazi dictatorship were laid today on Max-Reinhardt-Platz, outside the Haus für Mozart.
28 commemorative stones for victims of the Nazi dictatorship were laid today on Max-Reinhardt-Platz, outside the Haus für Mozart. The Salzburg Festival’s centenary offers an occasion to commemorate those exiled and murdered artists who shaped the Festival decisively in the almost 20 years between its founding at the annexation of Austria in 1938. Therefore, the Salzburg Festival gratefully adopted the suggestion of the Stolpersteine Committee and the Jewish Congregation to place 28 “Stolpersteine” (literally, “stumbling stones”) in a prominent position on Max-Reinhardt-Platz, in front of the Haus für Mozart. The Association of Friends of the Salzburg Festival is also covering the costs of the 28 stones.
The biographies of the persecuted artists can be found here.
“Last year, two parties approached us with the idea of taking advantage of the Festival’s centenary to make a visible gesture of commemoration. It was the “Stolpersteine” Committee and Prof. Gert Kerschaumer, Thomas Randisek and Hanna Feingold, the President of the Jewish Congregation. We were grateful for the suggestion and are pleased to bear the financial responsibility for 28 additional ‘Stolpersteine’.
“100 years of the Salzburg Festival is a worthy occasion to commemorate those exiled and murdered artists who had such a decisive influence on the Festival in the almost 20 years between its founding and the Annexation. Invented after World War I as a peace project, the Festival is eternally responsible for living up to this mission. Peace is more than the absence of war. Peace, as the wonderful German Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker said in one of his great speeches, must be fought for actively: ‘In seeking peace it is a tremendous help if, instead of waiting for the other to come to us, we go towards him.’ We must not silently endure racist tendencies such as anti-Semitism, but must fight them decisively. These small stones may contribute to this struggle,” says Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler.
“During the centenary of the Salzburg Festival, it is high time to honour its founding fathers (but also its mothers, such as Berta Zuckerkandl) and its many other Jewish protagonists, and to draw attention to their fate. Starting today, 28 ‘Stolpersteine’ commemorate persecuted artists at one of the most important locations of the Salzburg Festival. President Rabl-Stadler deserves heartfelt thanks for this,” says Danielle Spera, Director of the Jewish Museum in Vienna.
“And what did one expect from an exiled artist such as Margarete Wallmann after liberation? Glamour and silence!” says the historian Gert Kerschbaumer, who researched the biographies of the 28 artists, during the ceremony. “No one was to know of her parents’ death
in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Decades afterwards, a stone outside the Festspielhaus honours the artist’s life.”
“The fact that this project exists is wonderful. No matter whether you are a politician or an individual, if you fail to study the past, you are not a full human being. Music means something different to each of us. Music can do anything, it is part of the world yet a world of its own. But one thing music cannot express: lies,” says conductor Daniel Barenboim.
“A person is only forgotten when their name has been forgotten.” This sentence from the Talmud inspired the artist Gunter Demnig from Cologne. In 1992 he began laying special cobblestones, calling them “Stolpersteine”, or “stumbling stones”. These consist of cubic concrete stones measuring 10 x 10 cm and bearing individual inscriptions on brass plaques, which are set into public pavements to commemorate victims of Nazi terror. In 1997 the first two stones in Austria were laid by public permission in Sankt Georgen near Salzburg. Ten years later, the first “Stolpersteine” in Salzburg followed, in seven different locations. From today, the City of Salzburg is home to a total of 469 “stumbling stones”.