He lost his parents to the Nazis. Now their names are engraved in a Viennese memorial he helped build

Kurt Tutter, left, with Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg at the unveiling of the Wall of Names on Nov. 9, 2021. (Photo courtesy Austrian Embassy Washington)

Kurt Yaakov Tutter was born in Vienna in 1930. Eight years later, Nazi Germany annexed Austria. The Tutters escaped to Belgium, only for the Nazis to follow in 1940. Kurt’s parents were arrested and deported to Auschwitz, while he and his five-year-old sister hid in an attic before being smuggled into an orphanage.

Austrians have long considered themselves Adolf Hitler’s first victims, and it took the Austrian government 50 years to admit its complicity in rounding up, deporting and killing Austria’s Jews. Kurt Tutter played one small but critical role in that transition.

On Nov. 9, 2021—the anniversary of Kristallnacht—the country finally unveiled a new memorial to the country’s Jewish Holocaust victims. The Wall of Names in Vienna features 64,440 names engraved on slabs of granite, and was spearheaded by an organization Tutter founded more than 20 years ago, in May 2000.

Having recently returned from the inauguration in Austria, Tutter—now 91—joins the show to discuss his years-long effort, the rise of antisemitism in Austria and his hopes and fears for the monument for which he spent more than two decades fighting.

What we talked about:

  • Watch the full unveiling of the Wall of Names on YouTube
  • Browse the Austrian Holocaust victims database at doew.at


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network; find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.