21 January 2004

Holocaust memorial vandalised
From correspondents in Vienna
January 20, 2004

VANDALS desecrated a Holocaust memorial near Vienna with an electric saw and spray-painted the German word for "lie" over an informational plaque describing Nazi-era crimes, a news agency reported today.

The attack was discovered yesterday at the site of a Hitler-era concentration camp in Hinterbruehl, a village 10 kilometres south of Vienna, the Austria Press Agency reported. Police were notified but had not yet found the vandals.

Heinz Nussbaumer, one of the initiators of the memorial, told APA he was saddened that even decades after World War II some people try to deny the atrocities carried out by Nazis.

The German word for "lie" - "Luege" - was spray painted over the plaque bearing information in several languages.

Up to about 1800 people were imprisoned at Hinterbruehl between August 1944 and April 1945, mainly political enemies of the Nazi regime from several parts of Europe.

The inmates were forced to work building airplanes in an underground factory there, Nussbaumer said.

When the Russians advanced there in 1945, the Nazis planned to move the inmates to Austria's most notorious concentration camp, Mauthausen.

Some 1840 tried to escape, but were caught, and most were shot to death.

Another 51 in the camp's infirmary were killed either with petrol injections into the heart or by strangulation.

The Associated Press