For the victims of the Nazi regime 1938-1945
“Denied. Jews cannot be admitted to a doctoral defense."
With these words, a Jewish student who had submitted his thesis to the University of World Trade in Vienna just a few weeks before the Anschluss was denied the right to complete his doctoral degree.
Austria’s incorporation into Nazi Germany in 1938 had fatal consequences for the University of World Trade (Hochschule für Welthandel, HWH), the institution that would later become today’s WU.
WU’s Commemorative Project hopes to bring a measure of closure to this chapter in WU’s history by researching and documenting what happened at the University of World Trade during the time of the Nazi regime. A commemorative sculpture on the new campus acts as a visible reminder of the fate of the victims.
WU would like to thank the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria and the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism for their generous support.
Developing the Memorial
In 2012, WU launched a research project investigating the history of the then University of World Trade at the time of the Anschluss and the NS regime. One of the main objectives of the project is to identify those students who were unable to complete their studies because of their Jewish faith or their opposition to the Nazi regime.
As part of a juried competition, students and recent graduates of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna were invited to submit design proposals for a memorial. The design developed by artist Alexander Felch was selected from a total of 28 submissions and was erected on a prominent location on Campus WU. The sculpture was unveiled during a ceremony held on May 8, 2014.
The sculpture, a steel sphere made up of the names of the victims, is now an integral part of the campus. The sphere was deliberately left incomplete to allow for further names to be added as they are discovered.