Vienna Synagogue Caught in Shooting Spree No Stranger To Terrorist Attacks
The synagogue in the heart of Vienna that was initially feared as the target of Monday night’s terrorist attack in the Austrian capital is no stranger to such outrages.
Originally built in the 19th century, the Stadttempel (City Temple) on Seitenstettengasse has been the target of two terrorist attacks since the late 1970s.
On April 22, 1979, a one-pound bomb made of plastic explosives exploded in the synagogue’s courtyard, causing damage to the building but killing no one.
The synagogue was attacked by terrorists again just over two years later with deadlier consequences.
On Aug. 29, 1981, a machine gun and grenade attack carried out by two Palestinian terrorists from the Abu Nidal Organization on the synagogue resulted in two deaths and more than 30 wounded. The attack took place as worshipers celebrated a bar mitzvah in the synagogue’s main sanctuary.
The synagogue was famous for having survived the brutal Nazi pogrom of Nov. 9-10 1938, when hundreds of Jewish institutions and businesses were ransacked and burned alongside the arrest of thousands of German and Austrian Jews. The synagogue was spared only because setting it on fire was deemed too risky for the neighboring buildings.
In 2002, a monument was constructed at the synagogue that bears the names of 65,000 Austrian Jews murdered during the Holocaust.