We've gone a few blocks from the Inn to Wallnöferplatz, a square on Maximillianstrasse in Innsbruck, and we're examining a monument marking the Kristallnacht pogrom. The momument is the menorah-like structure in the foreground on the left, and the engraved words on the right can be found in the monument's circular base.
The Kristallnacht was a program of coordinated riots against, and murders of, Jews in the Third Reich on the night of 9 November 1938 (9-11 in European usage). The pogrom takes its name, "crystal-night" or "night of broken glass", from the broken windows of thousands of businesses operated by Jews. Across the Third Reich, roughly two hundred synagogues were destroyed, at least ninety-one Jews were murdered, and thousands of Jews were arrested and deported.
Innsbruck had become a city in the Third Reich after the Anschluss of Germany and Austria on 12 March 1938, and so it was no exception to this night of violence. Most of the board members of the Jewish Community in Innsbruck were murdered, and the synagogue was destroyed. The monument above was erected in 1997, almost sixty years later.
Behind the small Kristallnacht monument is a much-larger eagle-topped monument that commemorates the "liberation" of Tirol in 1945. Both monuments are in Wallnöferplatz, which is named after Eduard Wallnöfer (1913-1989), governor of Tirol from 1963 to 1987. In 2005, news reports finally made public Wallnöfer's membership in the Nazi party during World War II. That adds a bit of irony to the presence of these monuments in a place called "Wallnöferplatz".
In 1993, fifty-five years after the Kristallnacht's destruction of the old synagogue, a new synagogue was opened in Innsbruck. It stands on the site of the old synagogue at 15 Sillgasse (see below). Across the street, the city of Innsbruck has erected signs to remind passers-by of the history of buildings associated with the city's Christian institutions. However, the city has erected no sign noting that, on this site on a night in 1938, a house of worship was destroyed in a murderous pogrom.
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Sources for the text above include
and Wikipedia pages on Eduard Wallnöfer and the Kristallnacht.
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