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Jewish Vienna – a split of past and present

 

Only few metropolises in Europe can offer you such a long and extensive Jewish history like Vienna. Until the German annexation of Austria in 1938 more than 140.000 Jews lived in Vienna. While many Jews had to fled because of racist reasons in the following years Vienna still stayed connected to its Jewish culture. After the difficult reprocessing of the historical events the Jewish life was again integrated into Vienna’s daily life. Unfortunately the Jewish community – nowadays with 7.000 members – could never reach its size again. Even if the community stayed small it was totally integrated into Vienna and in 2012 the first Eruv was built in the city. This new awareness – combined with interesting relict of past days – make the Jewish Vienna a visitor’s hotspot every year. Today one can easily spent a whole day in Vienna to getting to know the Jewish Vienna. This was reason enough for us to get to know the Jewish history of Vienna and give you an insight.

 

Jewish Museum and Museum am Judenplatz

Get to know Viennese Jewish history at Museum am Judenplatz

Get to know Viennese Jewish history at Museum am Judenplatz

To understand better the Jewish Vienna and its historical background before and after the Third Reich we decided to start our day with a visit of the Jewish Museum and the Museum am Judenplatz. After costly renovations the museum was reopened in October 2011. Today visitors can experience the Jewish history at two sites within Vienna’s city centre. At the Jewish Museum near the Café Hawelka the exhibition called “Our City!” dedicates itself to the modern history of Jewish Vienna after 1945. Otherwise at the Museum am Judenplatz the Jewish history before 1938 is broached. The museum tries to give its visitors an understanding of the rise of Vienna as one of the main Jewish metropolis in Vienna and the Jewish every day life from medieval times to the time just before the annexation. Furthermore both museums offer interesting subjects and nearly endless historical contents which are displayed within special exhibitions. For us the Museum am Judenplatz was especially interesting. Especially the integration of ruins of an old synagogue within the museum combined with the historical information of the medieval rising of the Jewish community and the vandalism after 1938 gave an interesting point of view on the topic. The memorial of Rachel Whiteread in front of the museum brings a special atmosphere to the spot and lets visitors not forget the frightful acts which had taken place not so long ago.

Where: Jewish Museum, Dorotheergasse, 1010 Vienna – Museum am Judenplatz, Judenplatz, 1010 Vienna

When: Jewish Museum: Sun – Fri: 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. – Museum am Judenplatz: Sun – Thu: 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m., Fri: 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.

Admission: Adults: € 10,-; Students: € 5,–; admission to both museum within 4 days

How to get there: Both museums are located close to the metro station Stephansplatz. You can reach it from Palace Hostel Vienna directly with the U3 from Ottakring. From Hostel Wien Hütteldorf you can reach Stephansplatz with the U4 and U1.

 

Synagogue at the Stadttempel

The only synagogue which remained after 1945

The only synagogue which remained after 1945

The only remaining synagogue after 1945 was the synagogue at the Stadttempel. Its special location within apartment houses made it resistant against the vandalism of the Nazis. The synagogue was build by the famous Viennese architect Josef Kornhäusel in 1825/26 as a classical Biedermeier work. It was in combination with the memorial for the victims of the Shoa opened to the public in 2002. The synagogue can only be visited within a guided group. The tours start every Monday to Thursday at 11.30 a.m. and 2.00 p.m.

Where: Stadttempel, Seitenstettengasse 4, 1010 Vienna

When: only as a guided tour – tours: Mon – Thu: 11.30 a.m. & 2.00 p.m.

Admission: tour price: € 5,–

How to get there: The Stadttempel is situated within an apartment district close to the metro station Schwedenplatz. From Palace Hostel Vienna you can reach the metro station with the U3 and U1. From Hostel Vienna Hütteldorf you can take the U4 and U1.

 

Sigmund Freud Museum

Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna

Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna

One of the most famous Jewish characters of the city is beyond doubt Sigmund Freud. The founder of the psychoanalysis and one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century moved with his family to Vienna when he was four years and spent nearly his whole life in here. Only one year before he died and only a few months after the German annexation Freud fled to London. We wanted to learn more about this exceptionally gifted person and therefore we set out for his former apartment at the Berggasse 19. The museum is located in the former apartment of Freud where he spent most of his lifetime and where nearly all of his work was written. Furthermore a psychoanalytic research centre with more than 35.000 subjects is connected to the museum. You unfortunately cannot find the famous couch on which Freud’s patients took place. When Freud fled to Vienna he was able to take a bigger part of his furniture with him. That’s why you have to visit the Freud museum in London when you want to see his couch.

Where: Berggasse 19, 1090 Vienna

When: daily from 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.

Admission: Adults: € 9,– – Students: € 6,50,–

How to get there: From Palace Hostel Vienna you can reach the Sigmund Freud museum by taking U3 and U2 to Schottentor. From Hostel Vienna Hütteldorf it’s the best way to take U4 to Schottenring.

 

Memorial Museum

Mystical aura at the Memorial Museum

Mystical aura at the Memorial Museum

Our final stop during our tour through Jewish Vienna was a visit to the Memorial Museum. You can only visit the museum on appointment but it offers you an interesting and also sad insight into the life of the Jewish community during the years 1938/39. After the November progrom the British government loosen the visa regulations for Jewish under 18 to guarantee a secure emigration from Austria, Germany and Czechoslovakia. As a result the Kindertransports were organised. Without their parents, only one suitcase and few memories more than 10.000 children set out for a better life in Great Britain. Spread on 24 trains the children left their families and friends back with the friable feeling of possibly never seeing them again to start a new and better life for them in Great Britain. In spite of the plan of bringing the children back to their families after the war many of them never left their host families in Great Britain as they were parentless after the war. At the museum you can find countless exhibits, suitcases and utensils which children took with them and much more combined with aplenty of background knowledge.

Where: Radetzkystraße 5, 1030 Vienna

When: Mon – Fri, on appointment

How to get there: Take the U3 from Palace Hostel Vienna and the U4 from Hostel Vienna Hütteldorf nonstop to Wien Mitte.

Ringstraße anniversary

This year the Viennese Ringstraße celebrates its 150 years existence. We take this opportunity to inform you a bit about the Ringstraße itself and to give you an overview on upcoming exhibitions which are focused on the Ringstraße and its history. The 5.2 kilometer boulevard is one of the most important sights of Vienna and is seen as a great starting point for the discovery of the city centre. Due to this we would like to present you some of the great sight along a great street

 

The history of the Ringstraße

Ringstraße, parliament, Hostel Vienna, Vienna

Ringstraße at the beginning of the 20 century

With the famous words „It is my will” Emperor Franz Joseph I. commissioned the demolition of the old city walls and creation of an impressive boulevard in the city centre of Vienna in 1857. In the following summer of 1858 85 projects had been submitted and the demolition was started. From the beginning on the Ringstraße was planned as a boulevard which should combine space for private transport, public transport and recreation areas. This plan was kept until today and nowadays the Viennese population can find five vast park areas which offer a huge recreation area within the city centre. Seven years after the beginning of the construction work the Ringstraße was festively inducted by Emperor Franz Joseph himself and his wife Elisabeth of Austria. Even if you could not find to many building by this time at the boulevard the boulevard was opened and the convoy moved via the new boulevard to the Prater. The final construction work was done by 1913. At this time the last representative building, the Ministery of War, was opened. Today you can countless magnificent buildings, hotels, restaurants and many sights along the boulevard. Whether you are looking for a typical Viennese coffee house, a luxury hotel or a classic Viennese dinner – the Ringstraße offers you culture, history and present at one place.

 

Anniversary exhibitions

Secession, Vienna, Ringstraße, Naschmarkt, Hostel Vienna

The Secession – too modern for the Ringstraße

Many museums in Vienna are focused on the anniversary of the Ringstraße this year. Especially this year you will have the chance to get to know as much as possible about the Ringstraße. Thereby the topics are totally different and there is something interesting for everyone. The Jewish museum for example shows the Jewish life at the Ringstraße and the role of the Jews as builders and patrons. The Secession in contrast takes a look on its own building history. The museum was originally planned at the Ringstraße but intense protests smashed those plans and the “too modern” museum was moved to the Naschmarkt where you can find it until today.

 

 

Jewish Museum

The ring – a Jewish boulevard

Dorothergasse 11, 1010 Wien

www.jmw.at

Secession

Too modern for the first row

Friedrichstraße 12, 1010 Wien

www.secession.at

Sightseeing at the Ringstraße

Opera, Ringstraße, night, Hostel Vienna, Vienna

The opera @ night

For many tourists a ride in the Vienna Ring Tram is an important part of their Viennese bucket list. Similar as the famous hop-on hop-off buses you can enjoy a ride along the Ringstraße and an informative audio guide gives you information on sights and buildings along the way. If you search for a cheaper version you can also take the public tram routes 1 and 2. With only one change you can drive round the city centre. You have to miss out the audio guide on this tour but if you have a smartphone you can use our Audio guide which will give you also great information on the sights at the Ringstraße. If you decide to take a look at the sights along the Ringstraße you probably won’t stop wonder. From the Hostel Hütteldorf you can get nonstop via the U4 to Karlsplatz. There the famous Charles Church from the 18th century is waiting to be visited by you. Famous for its distinctive columns at the main entrance it is inspired by Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. Also at the metro station Karlsplatz situated you can find the Opera really close to Charles Church. Every year it is scene of countless high quality performances and the Vienna Opera Ball. If you follow the Ringstraße clockwise you will pass by the Hofburg Palace, seat of the Austrian president and formerly emperors, within a few minutes. On the opposite side of the Ringstraße you can find the Museums of Natural and Cultural History. In a row the Ringstraße leads you to city hall and passes by the Burgtheater, Austria’s most important theatre, and the parliament. The 113 metre tall city hall is one of Vienna’s most distinctive sights and offers great events at its forecourt. Experience the life ball, the Christmas market or one of the many festivals.

lifeball, city hall, vienna, hostel vienna

Lifeball @ the city hall

All of our Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) fans can find the countdown for the event also at the forecourt of the city hall. Passing by the University of Vienna and the old stock market you then reach the Danube channel. If you need a break then we recommend you to have some ice cream at the Schwedenplatz. Especially famous with locals and tourists is the Eis Greissler. A small ice cream shop half way between the Schwedenplatz and Stephansplatz. After the break you can tackle the rest of the boulevard. Following the Danube channel you pass by the police headquarter and the Museum of Applied Arts. Especially between the Museum of Applied Arts and the Opera you can find many coffee houses, restaurants and famous hotels. There you can bring your day to a perfect end by experiencing Viennese coffee house culture and lifestyle.