Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.


Vandalism Desecrated photographs of Holocaust victims on display in Vienna. May 2019

According to OSCE ODIHR, more than 80% of racist/xenophobic and anti-Semitic hate crimes are acts of vandalism. There were 339 cases of vandalism in 2016, up from 289 in 2015. In 2016/2017, vandalism and arson occurred with alarming frequency in housing for asylum seekers or refugees, as well as in the offices of NGOs supporting them. As in previous years, vandalism at cemeteries and religious sites was mainly directed against Jewish tombstones, as well as against monuments to Holocaust victims in Austrian cities such as Graz, Salzburg, and Vienna.

In late May 2019, an exhibition dedicated to Holocaust victims in Vienna was desecrated. The exhibition by Italian-German photographer and filmmaker Luigi Toscano, previously shown in 13 cities around the world, including San Francisco and Mainz, Germany. Photographs of Holocaust victims have been desecrated twice. First, some of them were disfigured with swastikas and cut up with knives, and a few days later, 10 images made on a textile surface had their faces cut out.

In a few days, the pictures were desecrated.

"This destruction is the worst possible scenario," the author of the exhibit told the Associated Press. "These survivors trusted me when I took their pictures, and now their pictures are ruined - I'm shocked." However, the act of vandalism had the opposite effect. Toscano said he spoke with some of the survivors after the vandalism, and although they were hurt, they told him that "now more than ever, these portraits need to be shown." The artist also received support from many people in Vienna. A group of young Muslims, a Catholic youth group, and a Vienna theater group organized a 24-hour vigil that lasted until the exhibition closed on May 31, 2019. According to Toscano, more than 60 people came to defend the exhibition all night. Some brought tents, lit a candle, and some even came with sewing kits. "I was especially touched by the women who came and pieced the pictures together," he said. "I didn't even think it was possible."

In recent years, a trend has developed around the theme of vandalism against monuments to Soviet soldiers who died fighting Nazi forces to liberate Austria.

A separate topic is also vandalism against Austrian churches, which is growing, as is the case in many other EU countries, such as France. On April 28, 2022, for example, graffiti appeared in the church of St. Vincent in Graz that welcomed Satan. The word "Satan", the number 666 and inverted crosses were written in red paint on the exterior walls as well as inside the temple on the altar. Red spray paint was also used to deface the angel statue. A Bible was burned.

Parish priest Wolfgang Pucher did not believe this was just juvenile vandalism, and regarded the incident as part of a "systematic attack on Christianity." Also recalling previous incidents in Graz, Thomas Stanzer, spokesman for the local Catholic diocese, linked the attack to "displeasure" with the Catholic Church. Such "displeasure" is sometimes fueled by the very media that condemned the attack.

On May 6, 2022, vandals attacked an evangelical church in Föcklabruck, Upper Austria. Unknown assailants smashed the donation box and stole money. However, it was not a simple theft, as they destroyed three streetlights in front of the church and caused havoc inside the altar, destroying the microphone and scattering advertisements, brochures, and flyers everywhere, which had been placed near the altar for free. They also tried to damage the organ. Also on May 6, the outside walls of the Catholic parish church in Mautern in Styria were covered with Nazi symbols and anti-Christian slogans. Two brothers, ages 21 and 27, have been identified as the perpetrators.

Back to list

© 2017 Civic Nation
Created by – NBS-Media