From 1906 to 1940 Herklotzgasse 21 was the centre of Jewish life in the 15th district of Vienna. This exhibition, which takes a scientific approach, links the urban space of the 15th district as we know it today with the once-bustling life of a Jewish suburban community. The direct reminiscences of 14 survivors who spent their childhoods in this neighbourhood represent the main source for the exhibition.
Once a centre of Jewish life in the 15th district of Vienna, the situation here changed rapidly after the Anschluss between Austria and Nazi Germany. People of Jewish descent were denied human rights; their possessions, both collective and private, were destroyed or confiscated. Even after the war, Jewish life here remained buried in oblivion; only very few places were reclaimed and revived by the newly formed Jewish community.
The aim of the research and exhibition project at Herklotzgasse 21 is to pick up the traces of the Jewish community here and to make it visible once more. The idea was initiated by the current residents of the building. The project organisers worked in close cooperation with survivors who grew up here as well as with historians and Jewish organisations, filmmakers, photographers and artists. This project focusing on the Jewish life of a local Viennese community, which hardly anyone in the city knows very much about, also attracted a great deal of attention in Israel. Thanks to conversations with ten Israeli citizens who once attended the kindergarten in Herklotzgasse, numerous important locations of Jewish life in pre-war Vienna can be retraced in today’s urban area – with Herklotzgasse 21 right at its centre. The exhibition is held at Herklotzgasse 21, 1150 Vienna from 29 October 2008 to 19 December 2008.