Simon Wiesenthal on the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute


For quite some time I have been occupied by the thought of which institution in Austria or abroad I should entrust with the holdings of my archive to make sure that the abundance of interesting material is made available for historical research in the best possible manner.


The initiative of the Jewish Community Vienna [Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien, IKG]to establish and develop a Shoah research centre at Rabensteig in Vienna has proved to be the perfect solution to my problem. As an Honorary Citizen of the City of Vienna it is important for me to be able to rest assured that the results of decades of my work will lie in good hands in the heart of the city. Therefore I have agreed that the research centre should bear my name.


Beyond that, this centre will bring together the scientific and educational work of existing institutions such as the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Vienna and the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance [Dokumentationsarchiv des Österreichischen Widerstandes, DÖW].


Only a few years ago, Vienna has been given a memorial dedicated to the commemoration of its fellow Jewish citizens murdered under the Nazi regime. Upon my suggestion, its realisation was due to the approval and commitment of the mayor of Vienna, Dr. Michael Häupl. For commemoration to be followed by knowledge about the Shoah, there must be a research centre of international standing in place, as is now planned.


For this reason I am asking the City of Vienna and the Republic of Austria for their support in realising this project which will be a mark of honour for both of them and balance out a deficit in the field of historical research.


Vienna, autumn 2002


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Simon Wiesenthal