The Vienna project
MARCH 6, 2014 to MAY 8, 2014
The Vienna Project began in 2004, when Dr. Karen Frostig, artist and activist inherited letters written by her grandparents between 1938-1945, to her father living in exile. Dr. Benjamin Frostig was arrested by the Gestapo in an early wave of arrests targeting Austria’s intelligentsia. He was abruptly expelled from Austria in June of 1938. Translating the letters in 2005, Karen became acquainted with a large extended family she never knew existed, all of whom were exterminated. A journey of return to Vienna in 2006, and reclamation of Austrian citizenship in 2007, gave way to an emerging relationship between the artist and her father’s homeland. The Vienna Project grew out of this process starting in 2009, as a new social action, public memory project.
Developed through dialogue as a citizen-led initiative, The Vienna Project is a “process-based” expression of remembrance. The Memorial Project opened on the night of 23. October 2013, preceding Austrian National Day, the commemoration of the beginnings of the Second Republic of Austria, to convey the message that memory is a part of national identity. The Vienna Project marks the 75th anniversary year of the Anschluss in 1938, when racial persecution officially began in Austria; it will conclude on V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day). The memorial project unfolds over the course of six months as a dynamic series of performative events, dedicated to stimulating fresh conversations in novel formats regarding the Holocaust and National Socialism.