Bethaus

Jewish Site in Alsergrund & the University District

This tiny Jewish prayer house, replete with an atrium roof, is part of the Alten AKH university campus; it was originally built in 1903 for Jewish patients of the hospital. Destroyed by the Nazis in 1938, it was completely reimagined in postmodernist style in the 1970s, and functions today both as a memorial and as a contemporary art installation. Mostly it’s locked, but you can see inside.

The transparent floor chronicles the prayer house's fate: one level depicts Max Fleischer’s original design from 1903; above that is a text from the Gestapo about the pogroms of 1938 against Vienna’s Jews; the third layer is a plan of the transformer station. The atrium roof is a glass version of Fleischer’s original roof. Bulgarian-born artist Minna Antova was responsible for these conceptual features, which successfully capture a mood of vulnerability.


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