Municipal Support for PlagIarism

Across borders, across land and sea
That great disgrace had followed me
That the great and splendid Fatherland
had slain its own dead with its own hand...

The building called “Nestroyhof” remains today in the hands of the offspring of the family that acquired it through Nazi confiscation in 1941 from its original owner, Anna Stein. In 2001, Warren Rosenzweig first began to champion the cause of “cultural restitution” of the former Jewish Theater, then hidden (and unused), in its covered courtyard. Discussions with officials brought negative results.

Since 2003, the “Nestroyhof Initiative” of the Jewish Theater of Austria has attracted public attention at home and abroad via all news media. Rosenzweig has long proposed the establishment of an international Jewish theater – or “world theater” – at the original location of the Jüdische Künstlerspiele. He has also promoted public concern for justice on behalf of the offspring of Anna Stein.

In 2004, the Jewish Theater of Austria submitted its proposal for support, for four years (2005-2009), to establish an intercultural center for performing arts at the Nestroyhof, presenting works of Jewish relevance by international artists. One of the jurors later reported that he had never received a copy of the proposal and was unaware of its existence during the period of review.

Another symptom of the ongoing dispute is the conflict concerning swastikas in the basement of the building that, according to Rosenzweig, were not removed for one and a half years, and then only after numerous acts of intervention. Concerning his neglect, [one of the owners] explains that it is dark in the basement and accuses Rosenzweig of having painted the swastikas himself. [Someone who] stands behind [the owner] in this conflict […and] describes himself as a Jewish artist, accuses Rosenzweig of “inverse Fascism”.

In Dec. 2008, the jury recommended support for a new four-year proposal submitted by another company to establish a theater in the Nestroyhof with the same aims originally proposed by the Jewish Theater of Austria four years earlier. The proposal was submitted by the person cited in the paragraph above, who, in an interview in July 2006, had referred to Rosenzweig’s efforts as “inverse Fascism”.

For the same four-year period (2009-2013), the request of the Jewish Theater of Austria for a modest subsidy was again denied.

(1) Mari Lazar, quoted by Abisch Meisels, Chief Dramaturge of the Jüdische Künstlerspiele until 1938, Trans.: W. Rosenzweig
(2) “umgekehrten Faschismus”, Augustin, July 01, 2006, “Wenn ein Kreuz auch noch Haken hat” (When a Swastika Still Has its Hooks).
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