Friday, April 3, 2015

A Library in the Cemetery

Krems Jewish Cemetery
Cemeteries are inspiring places, full of history and culture, but there’s one near Krems, Austria that also offers knowledge, in the form of books.

The Open Public Library
The Jüdischer Friedhof Krems  - the Krems Jewish Cemetery - was founded in 1853 among the local vineyards. During WWII, the cemetery came close to being obliterated by the Nazis. Today, it has been restored and is home to The Open Public Library - a library consisting of three bookshelves, where books may be borrowed or added to for others to read.

Books Ready for Reading
The idea of a library as a memorial came from artists Michael Cleg and Martin Guttmann in 2004. They wanted a way to memorialize over 100 local Jews who were killed or exiled from Krems during the war.  The men said that the library was a way for the community to remember those who were lost and also a way to make the cemetery more inviting to the public.

Metal Ribbon
Ribbon and Bookcases
In 1995, the cemetery was finally restored. Near the three bookshelves stands a 140-foot metal ribbon on which 129 names are inscribed, these are the Jews that were killed or exiled from Krems. 

Knowledge: what a fitting tribute to those who were persecuted by the Third Reich.

~ Joy

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