Simon Wiesenthal drawings on display in Vienna

The world knows the late Holocaust syrvivor for his tireless work to bring Nazi criminals to justice. Few remember that before the war, he was trained as an architect.

By
May 30, 2019 16:40
1 minute read.
Simon Wiesenthal drawings in  "Café As" at the Jewish Museum Vienna.

Simon Wiesenthal drawings in "Café As" at the Jewish Museum Vienna.. (photo credit: JEWISH MUSEUM VIENNA)

The world knows Simon Wiesenthal for his tireless work to bring Nazi criminals to justice. Few remember that before the war, he was trained as an architect.

The Jewish Museum of Vienna inaugurated on Wednesday an exhibition that sheds light on this forgotten aspect of Wiesenthal's life, reflecting on what could have been, but wasn't.

"Café As. The Survival of Simon Wiesenthal" features dozens of drawings that the Holocaust survivor produced in 1945.

During his internment in Mauthausen, Wiesenthal started to imagine the design for a future coffee house that his fellow prisoner Edmund Staniszewski dreamed of opening in the Polish city of Poznan, his hometown, after the end of the war. After the liberation of the camp, Wiesenthal perfected the sketches into drawings.

"The exhibition places the sketches of Simon Wiesenthal in the context of his training as an architect in Prague and Lviv, which was little considered by his biographers," "Café As" curator Michaela Vocelka told the Jerusalem Post via email.

"The sketches represent not only a symbol of hope in Simon Wiesenthal's struggle for survival in the Mauthausen concentration camp, but also document a hitherto little-known aspect of his biography," she added.

The color drawings feature designs for the café's interiors and exteriors, the staff uniforms, and even the baked goods to offer at the establishment.

Born in Galicia in 1908, Wiesenthal survived several concentration camps. As soon as his health started to recover, he began to prepare evidence against Holocaust perpetrators for the US army.

Identifying Nazi criminals and bringing them to justice would soon become his life mission. In 1977, he founded the Simon Wiesenthal Center to promote Holocaust Remembrance and the fight against antisemitism and racism. He died in 2005.

Edmund Staniszewski never established his coffee house.

"His house was confiscated during communism," Vocelka explained. "Staniszewski and Wiesenthal lost sight of each other until 1960 when Staniszewski was able to find out Wiesenthal's address in Linz. The two men then remained in contact until Staniszewkis's death in 1984."

The Jewish museum acquired the drawings from Staniszewski's son-in-law. The exhibition will be open until November 24, 2019.




 


Related Content

August 23, 2019
Terror victim: 'Your death leaves a void in the heart of nation'

By TOVAH LAZAROFF

Cookie Settings