By the curb in front of the three-story yellow house at Salzburger Vorstadt 15, in the picturesque town of Braunau am Inn in northern Austria, stands a memorial stone taken from the quarries of the Mauthausen concentration camp.
In the days leading up to the lockdown, the Milanese Jewish community behaved “like good soldiers,” Gadi Luzzatto Voghera, director of the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation (CDEC), tells Moment, respecting public health ordinances and avoiding scenes reminiscent of those coming out of Brooklyn and Bnei Brak of minyanim gone rogue.
Though the number of Jewish births in the UK has outpaced the number of deaths since 2006, the community continues to skew older. Those over 60 are at a far higher risk of becoming sick or dying from the coronavirus. In addition, the majority of British Jews live in and around London, where the outbreak in Britain has been most pronounced. The city remains weeks away, reports suggest, from the coronavirus’s peak.
The House of Fates is ground zero in a struggle over history and memory, raising questions that are pertinent today not only in Hungary but also across post-communist Europe. The struggle is about the politicization of the Holocaust by an increasingly autocratic government and about who gets to tell its story, and how.
In January, Austria’s Freedom Party (FPÖ) hosted its annual Academics Ball, where women in gowns and men in tuxedos and three-piece suits dance and socialize in Vienna’s splendorous imperial palace. Attendees also proudly dress in the colors and regalia of their Burschenschaften—student fraternities founded during the 19th century, some of which espouse pan-Germanism.
Twenty-first century Ukraine, as Marci Shore notes in her extraordinarily deft, astute, and riveting new account of the dramatic 2014 Ukrainian Revolution, The Ukrainian Night, was too “heir to the grandeur” of the intentions of Nazism and Communism.