Museum am Judenplatz
Jabornegg & Pálffy - Wien (A) - 2000
Museum am Judenplatz, Foto: Werner Kaligofsky
Museum am Judenplatz, Foto: Werner Kaligofsky
26. November 2000 - Az W
In 1994 the chairman of the Jewish Community, Simon Wiesenthal, approached the mayor of Vienna, Michael Häupl, with the idea of building a dignified memorial to honor the Austrian victims of the Holocaust. Subsequently, the Judenplatz (Jewish Square) was designated as the appropriate location.

In 1996, Rachel Whiteread’s design for a memorial, which can be described as a minimalistic depiction of a hermetically sealed library, was selected. The stone books are a symbol for the Jews as a „people of books“ and for the bimah excavated on Judenplatz. A bimah was the heart of medieval synagogues, a platform from which the Torah was read during services. The empty interior of the sealed monument embodies the emptiness that the extermination of 65,000 lives left behind.

To accompany Whiteread’s contribution, the architectural team Jabornegg & Pálffy was commissioned to redesign the square and remodel the Jewish museum in the Misrachi-Haus on 8, Judenplatz. The square as well as adjacent streets were paved with old granite paving stones characteristic of downtown Vienna, creating a homogenous surface and designating the pedestrian zone. Lighting units, positioned on the rooftops of surrounding buildings, produce an even illumination.

An underground passage connects the new exhibition rooms on the ground floor and in the basement of the Misrachi-Haus with the center of the exhibit area of the archeological excavation site. The size and situation of this showroom are defined by the exposed contour of the synagogue, which was destroyed in 1421. The contour is now made distinctly visible through a burnished steel shell that outlines it. This shell also conceals the technical infrastructure of the rooms and offers a reflection-free background for the display of the excavations.

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Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien