Statement Ruth Patzelt, Book Exhibition EDJC 2022

Ruth Patzelt:

How it came to find answers.

„Was für ein schöner Sonntag“, Jorge Semprun

„Shoah“, Claude Lanzmann

„Die große Reise“, Jorge Semprun

„Recht, nicht Rache“, Simon Wiesenthal

„Ist das ein Mensch?“, Primo Levi

In spring 2018, in a conversation with André Heller, the sentence - which he shouted very forcefully - was uttered: "You have to talk to the people! With everyone!" It meant with those at the regulars' tables, with the Nazis in their cellars, with the right-wing provincial politicians and their voters on the hiking days and... I thought about the children and young people in my home village. To whom no one tells what happened in Europe, in Austria, in Burgenland, in Lockenhaus, about 80 years before. They have today, like me many years before, no questions about it.

In the same year I initiated the commemoration week 1938.2018 Shalom.Nachbar and since then I have been researching the Jewish history of Lockenhaus. The names of the Lockenhaus victims of the Shoa should not be forgotten. I publish my findings continuously on the homepage shalom-lockenhaus.at. The idea for this book exhibition of my research books came too in 2018. At the time, I was overwhelmed by the information I learned about the events in my hometown in the years around 1938.

The history of Jewish Lockenhaus is unknown to many villagers and visitors. It does not exist. Only the memorial for the Lockenhaus victims of the Shoa, erected on the initiative of the Horvath family in 2008 and today unfortunately hidden behind a high hedge, reminds us of the silent Jewish history of Lockenhaus. No one asks questions to which soon no one will be able to give answers.

In archives and books, in catalogues and deportation lists as well as on the internet and among the few contemporary witnesses still alive, I have found some answers: At least 25 people of Jewish faith born in Lockenhaus were murdered in the Shoa. At least 16 Jewish neighbours were humiliated in Lockenhaus in 1938, expelled and expropriated in so-called wild aryanisations. For more than 100 years there was a Jewish community in Lockenhaus, a living Jewish culture. A rabbi lived in the village for a time, there was a synagogue and a peaceful coexistence of people of different religious affiliations. "Yiddishkeit" was a part of Lockenhaus.

I have acquired a lot of knowledge about Jewish Lockenhaus in the past five years (only five! but very intensive years) - especially during long nightly internet searches and in the emotionally demanding depths of the archives in Burgenland and the Austrian State Archives in Vienna. And in books! My own small library, which has grown steadily over the years and is available to me for research, is part of this exhibition "The Book as a Place of Memory".

I invite you to leaf through and read the books and learn astonishing things about the Jewish heritage and the bitter end of Burgenland's Jewish history. I would like to encourage you to pass on this knowledge as well.

I receive valuable support in my work to remember the Jewish history of Lockenhaus by reading books from Hans Raimund's extensive library, and the conversations with him himself are also an important enrichment for me and my remembrance work.

Ruth Patzelt, Hochstraß 2022