Silent Heroes – Hohenems

The project called Silent Heroes is a Grundtvig Learning Partnership financed by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission. The context of hiding during the Second World War as a challenge for cultural memory organisations.
Thanks to this opportunity I was part of an international group meetings in Amsterdam, Hohenems, Berlin, Warsaw and Budapest. Through this journey I learned and experienced a lot as a historian and also as a filmmaker. This opportunity inspired me to create a short video for each of the locations where I was. Every piece reflects on an exact place, square, river, monument or memorial where the time and history stamped in, but a lot of people do not even know about it. Most of these places had a nice, culturally vivid past, that changed under the Holocaust. The aims of the videos are to create attention on the present and the future of this places.

In 1938 Hohenems was the crossing border for Jews from Austria to Switzerland. The refugees had to cross the Alter Rhein river between Hohenems and Diepoldsau. On the German side of the border refugees faced arrest, even as SS men actively helped Jews cross the border illegally. When war broke out in 1939 the German authorities tightened security along its borders. Emigration was to be made impossible. People on both sides helped refugees get across the border, usually for money. Some of them never arrived to the other side of the border.

More information about the historical background:

Silent Heroes Hohenems from Andrea Ausztrics on Vimeo.

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