The guilt of the Shoah

To the
Jewish Community Vienna
Mr. President
Oskar Deutsch
Seitenstettengasse 4
AT-1010 Vienna

Vienna, 11.November 2018 18:08

Dear Mr. President Deutsch!

With great interest and greatest sympathy, I followed your interview in the “Press Hour” of the Austrian Broadcasting Company on Sunday. After that, I would like to express to you my deepest attachment. What can we all do to make people all live together in peace?

As you know, I come from an outstanding National Socialist family. My ancestors brought Adolf Hitler to power, even if nobody wants to talk about it today. My paternal grandfather, as the leader of the SS-Ried im Innkreis, was decisively involved in carrying out the “Anschluss” of Austria to Germany. The leather factory of my family produced, awarded by Adolf Hitler as a “German Musterbetrieb”, to a huge extent for the German Wehrmacht, the SA and SS.

My grandfather had told me about National Socialism on every visit already as a kindergarden child. I do not remember anything, only the feeling of comfort. However, he himself had resigned from the SS in September 1938, so before the November pogroms, and in solidarity with him all members of the SS of Ried. A lawyer from Ried, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who had then been hastily installed as leader of the SS in former Austria, later became executed as a major war criminal in Nuremberg.

So while my father’s family members were enthusiastic National Socialists, my mother’s family was characterized by glowing anti-Semitism. My two parents got to know each other in the environment of the so-called “Glasenbacher”, the former prominent National Socialists. The father of my uncle and godfather had habilitated as a gynecologist to work on “forced infertility in the course of racial struggle.”

Dear Oskar Deutsch, we all have to bear our heritage. And we all have to deal with it responsibly, responsibly towards all others, especially our descendants. Among other things, I tried to do this by producing a documentary about three Austrian resistance fighters and concentration camp prisoners after my first visit to the Mauthausen Memorial. This “Autumn Walk” from the year 1995 is today part of the archive of the Mauthausen Memorial.

My paternal grandfather did not live our “Autumn Walk”. He died shortly before, already in his old age, in his Upper Austrian homeland. His political legacy to me was in particular the books of Winston Churchill and Albert Speer. My maternal grandfather supported the FPÖ under Jörg Haider until his death. His political legacy to me was the Bible.

Dear Oskar Deutsch, what can I tell you? Maybe I want to tell you that we are all brothers, brothers and sisters, just siblings. We all come from Adam, from Adam and Eve, from “man” and from “life”. The “Jews” are our oldest siblings, followed by the “Christians” and then the “Muslims” as our youngest siblings. We also have others, especially “Hindus”, “Buddhists”, “Atheists” and “Agnostics”.

We are all human. From the perspective of the religions of Abraham, the books of the Jews, Christians and Muslims, we are all images of the same Creator, of Yahweh, God, Allah. We are all children of creation. We are all the people of God.

Our books teach us how difficult it is to live in peace. Murder and manslaughter are on the agenda right from the start. For some, Christians are traitors to Judaism, for some Jews are traitors to Christianity and for some Jews and Christians traitors to Islam, the “truth”. Greet Cain and Abel.

Dear Mr President, venerated Mr Deutsch, where does peace begin? “Peace begins in-house,” says Karl Jaspers. But what is our “house”? Is it our home, our city, our country, our continent or our planet? Or even our galaxy? Ultimately the worldall? Where do we start with it? Who starts with peace?

Since Franz Vranitzky’s chancellorship, Austria’s complicity in the planned extermination of Judaism by the murder of all Jews, the Holocaust, the Shoah, is an outspoken truth. The Greater German Third Reich has executed it under Heinrich Himmler. However, the idea was born here, by the Upper Austrian Adolf Hitler from Innviertel, here in Vienna. The Holocaust is an Austrian invention, the Shoah a child of our city.

A few years ago I told the son of your highly acclaimed predecessor, Doctor Ariel Muzicant, the real estate entrepreneur Georg Muzicant, that I had recently met two Orthodox Jews on the Hoher Markt in the inner city of Vienna. When we started talking, I asked them, “I want to apologize for the Shoah. To whom?”

When I told Georg this and added that the two could not answer me, he looked at me and said, “Well, you do not need to do it to me.”

Dear Mr. President, dear Oskar Deutsch. I’m sorry.

All the best to you! And from the heart: Shalom!

I wish you a happy Republic Day!

Yours faithfully

Peter Wurm

German Original:

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