Buenos Aires, 27 October 2008 Press release

Lost Neighbours: Vienna - Buenos Aires 1938 - 2008

The impressive façade of the synagogue destroyed in the pogrom night of 1938 in Vienna’s Neudeggergasse is visible for 14 days at the entrance to the Thays Park along the multi-lane boulevard Avenida Libertador in Buenos Aires. The thousands of people who pass this place every day are struck by the architecturally conspicuous, huge screen in bright brick-red.

Hidden behind there is a modern tent where from 26 October to 9 November a rich cultural programme of academic and didactic events designed to link the two cities is being presented. Prominent intellectuals, academics and artists such as Hannah Lessing, Anton Pelinka, Adi Hirschal, Peter Uray and Maria Bill of Vienna will participate in this event and discuss with Argentine partners the past and present of their two countries, present their works, and answer questions. The Austrian Embassy is organising an exhibition of works by the Jewish artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. A film festival on Jewish emigration will supplement the programme. Since the hour it first opened, the Vienna café has been particularly popular.

"Lost Neighbourhood Vienna - Buenos Aires 2008" is the second step of a commemorative project successfully organised by a group of committed neighbours in Vienna’s eighth district in commemoration of the synagogue destroyed in the pogrom night of 1938 and the neighbours who were forced to emigrate. The project is taking place under the auspices of Argentine President Dr. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Austrian Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer, who on the occasion of the opening on 26 October sent a video message that has received wide comment.

This project is symbolically dedicated to the history of those Austrians who arrived under tragic circumstances in Buenos Aires 70 years ago, the so-called "lost neighbours". At the same time the intention is to establish an intercultural bridge between Vienna and Buenos Aires to facilitate the dialogue between the two cities in the spirit of a "re-discovered neighbourhood". The organisers’ ambitious goal was to jointly commemorate the events of the ‘Crystal Night’ in a spirit of respect, remembrance and interest, and experience and get to know life in Argentina from a Viennese perspective.

Austrian Embassy Buenos Aires
Tel. ++54-11-4807-9192
Fax: ++54-11-4805-4016