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Holocaust memorial monument

The memorial site at massuah Institute

The memorial site is an installation that steers visitors toward an associative matrix of thinking about the Jewish world that once was, the Western world’s moral responsibility in the aftermath of the Holocaust, the determinism of Nazi Germany, and the humanism that Jewry bequeathed to Western civilization.

The site rises to the elevation of the museum ceiling—nine meters. The floor is made of rough stones in an evocation of the East European Jewish shtetl. On top of them lay six slabs that cast shadows on a white wall on the western flank of the site. The southern wall is made of black steel, representing the Nazis’ deterministic ideology and lethal antisemitism, which left the Jew with no way to escape. Across from it is a synagogue with an allusion to the Priestly Blessing and a pane of stained glass bearing the commandment “Do not murder.” The eastern wall was designed to symbolize the destruction of the Temple, in keeping with the Jewish tradition. Reproduced on the exposed segment are inscriptions that Jews left behind in their last moments in various locations in Europe. Light penetrates through narrow cracks, bathing the site in a pensive atmosphere.

The site was designed by the artist Roda Reilinger.

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