Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Tamara Sessler - February 4, 2008

Returning to Vienna

Funny thing when we were in Vienna fours years ago--the first time I went to Vienna was in '81 and then we couldn't get into my shul because somebody threw a grenade the day before so nobody was allowed in. But now in '81--not in '81, no--four years ago we got in there, there was a young Israeli who took a few Euros from everybody and he took us around the shul and I had the shock of my life. First of all, when I was child I thought this was a huge place, you know, it was so big, so imposing. Suddenly when I get there it's, it's, it's uh, like a big shteible. It's, it's nothing anymore. And he started telling us about our shul which I every Shabbat went to and this is the only place in Vienna that I felt emotionally spent--completely spent. Because I remember, you know, I remember sitting in the Weiber ??? upstairs and I remember--I remembered so clearly these services and I couldn't get over--I was, you know, I was palpitating, I was really, really completely out in that place. And then I realized why the Germans let this synagogue stand. Have you heard about it? They let it stand because to the left and right are goyish places and if they would have harmed the synagogue they would've harmed the places. But the, the museum they put there, it's really a horrible thing. It looks like nothing. Doesn't even got a Magen David on it from the outside, just a lot of concrete. It's nothing.

Do you think they're still hiding?

I don't know. You know the Viennese were born anti-Semites; with the mother's milk they got it--they were born. But mind you I've got some nice practical families in Vienna so they're not all like that.

They have a long history of anti-Semitism.

Sure, sure.

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