Vienna Jewish community's archive goes on display

July 4, 2007 01:01

An exhibit featuring an array of materials - letters, photos, Nazi-era documents - detailing the history of Vienna's Jews opened in the Austrian capital late Tuesday. The documents, some of which date as far back as the 19th century, are part of an extensive archive belonging to the Jewish Community Vienna. The archive - described as a "unique historical document in the German-speaking world" - was officially founded in 1816 but contains material from as far back as the 17th century. Located at the Jewish Museum Vienna in the heart of the Austrian capital, the exhibit also includes World War II-era material that surfaced by mere chance in 2000, when members of the Jewish Community in Vienna stumbled across some 800 boxes and dozens of wooden cabinets while preparing to turn a building over to new owners. On closer inspection, it turned out the boxes and cabinets were filled with about half a million documents detailing the lives of Jews during Nazi times.

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