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May 29, 2019 12:54 pm

Residents of Austrian Capital Come Together to Restore Defaced Holocaust Exhibit

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

People walk by images of Holocaust survivors defaced in Vienna. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

An art installation in Vienna featuring images of Holocaust survivors is being repaired and protected by Viennese residents after being slashed and defaced earlier this week.

The exhibit, by German-Italian artist Luigi Toscano, features the faces on textile of Holocaust survivors Toscano met and interviewed exhibited along the central Ringstrasse street. Several days ago, the faces of many of the subjects were cut away and swastikas were scrawled on them.

Viennese residents, however, have come together to restore the art, with women stitching the images back together and others holding nightly vigils to make sure no further such incidents occur.

According to German media outlet Deutsche Welle, Michael Ludwig, mayor of Vienna, called the vandalism “cowardly” and offensive to the “core values of our society.” He personally attended one of the vigils.

Among the groups offering help with restoring the images were Muslim Youth Austria and the Catholic charity Caritas.

Toscano himself said he had spoken with some of the survivors who were pictured and they had said, “Now more than ever before these portraits need to be shown.”

The artist blamed the vandalism on “right-wing radicalism.”

“We have to keep alive the discussion and analysis of the Holocaust,” he asserted.

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said he was “deeply worried” by the incident, while German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it was “an assault on us all.”

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