"What they neglected, we did."

Performance and Intervention in public space by Zsuzsi Flohr, Benjy Fox-Rosen, Eduard Freudmann, Eva Reinold, Luisa Ziaja (2015)

The project dealt with commemoration culture in public space in Vienna. It linked the elements of ritual, discourse and intervention in a performative setting. The project consisted of a panel discussion, a choir, an actress and a crew of workers who illegally erected a monument for a group of survivors who in 1951, had illegally built a memorial to the victims of the Gestapo.

"What they neglected, we did."

Performance and Intervention in public space by Zsuzsi Flohr, Benjy Fox-Rosen, Eduard Freudmann, Eva Reinold, Luisa Ziaja (2015)

The project dealt with commemoration culture in public space in Vienna. It linked the elements of ritual, discourse and intervention in a performative setting. The project consisted of a panel discussion, a choir, an actress and a crew of workers who illegally erected a monument for a group of survivors who in 1951, had illegally built a memorial to the victims of the Gestapo.
In 1938 the local Hotel Metropole at Vienna’s Morzinplatz was confiscated by the Gestapo, which turned it into their headquarters, making it the largest Gestapo office outside of Berlin. This became a prominent site for opponents and victims of the regime who were interrogated and tortured there, and sent to various concentration camps. The site was eventually bombed by the allies and torn down, eliminating any visual memory of its role and function.

"What they neglected, we did." is a quote from the newspaper of the Austrian association of concentration camp survivors. After the Nazi regime, they demanded a monument to be built in the shape of an obelisk to commemorate the Gestapo victims. The city rejected this request and as a protest, in 1951, these survivors illegally set up a monument on site: "What they neglected, we did." Over the decades the monument changed its appearance and got repeatedly relocated. Over 30 years after its erection, in 1985, an official monument was built by the city, substituting the illegal monument, yet including that monument’s original inscription. The new monument enlarged the scope of commemoration: in addition to the red triangle, representing political victims, a yellow star was added, representing Jewish victims. Since the 1990s there has been a struggle to commemorate homosexual and transgender victims as well – so far with limited success.

"What they neglected, we did." dealt with the genesis of commemoration at Morzinplatz. It linked the elements of ritual, discourse and intervention in a performative setting. The project consisted of a panel discussion, a choir, an actress and a crew of workers who illegally erected a monument for the group of survivors who in 1951, had illegally built a memorial to the victims of the Gestapo. This humble meta-memorial is located at the backside of the 1985 monument and remains in place until this day.

"What they neglected, we did." was presented at Hotel Metropole, curated by Anton Lederer, Birgit Lurz, Margarethe Makovec and Wolfgang Schlag, Into the City/Wiener Festwochen, 2015.

Credits
Mistress of ceremonies: Eva Reinold Musical arrangement: Benjy Fox-Rosen Choir: Gegenstimmen (Choir director: Stefan Foidl) Panel discussion curated and moderated by Luisa Ziaja. Participants: Ruth Beckermann (filmmaker), Marty Huber (activist), Harald Walser (politician), Florian Wenninger (historian). Workforce: Sheri Avraham, Julia Edthofer, Zsuzsi Flohr, Eduard Freudmann, Niki Kubaczek, Tomash Schoiswohl. Concrete cast by Mischa Guttmann. Supporting structure by Ulrich Dertschei.

(Photos: Benoit Bollon)