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Call to collect items – Explaining the consequences of October 7th to later generations

Nov 23, 2023 | JMW News

October 7, 2023 marks a turning point not only for Israel, but also for Jewish communities worldwide – especially in the Jewish communities of the former Nazi perpetrator countries Austria and Germany. Almost eighty years after the end of the Second World War, the terrorist organization Hamas carried out a pogrom on the Israeli population, to which Jewish women and men mostly fell victim. As a consequence thereof, as well as of Israel’s declaration of war a few days later, a shocking increase in antisemitic statements and attacks occurred. Memorial events for the victims of October 7th and for the 240 people who were kidnapped as hostages in the Gaza Strip, as well as artistic and civil society actions attempt to overcome fear, grief, and re-traumatization. Meanwhile, Israeli flags on Jewish institutions are being torn down, Jewish homes tagged, swastikas or antisemitic slogans scrawled, an antisemitic arson attack was committed at the ceremonial hall of the Jewish section of the Central Cemetery, and Jews are insulted and threatened on social media or in the real world. The result is that Jewish women and men are increasingly concealing themselves, symbols recognizable as Jewish are no longer worn, mezuzahs are being taken down, and shops are being closed.

This turning point, which will also divide Austria’s postwar history into a before and an after, must be documented and thus made communicable to the following generations. We therefore ask you to help us.

With your assistance, the Jewish Museum Vienna is collecting photos, documents, and objects of all artistic or civil society initiatives relating to the memory of the victims of October 7th or the demand for the release of the hostages that have taken place and are taking place in Austria. At the same time, we are collecting evidence of antisemitic actions after October 7th and trying to document the invisibleness of Jewish life.

We therefore ask you to preserve posters, objects, banners, artistic products, and the like for future generations and to make them available to us.

We ask you to collect possible objects. You can send photos of your suggestions to our collection curator Sabine Apostolo (sabine.apostolo@jmw.at) along with information such as date, location, type of object, and, if possible, a personal reference. We will also be organizing a day in January when we would be happy if you brought us your objects in person. We will discuss in a panel what the objects tell us and how the Jewish Museum Vienna collects and communicates present-day Jewish life.