Judenplatz, Vienna, Vienna, 1010

The basics

A must for visitors interested in delving into Vienna’s 1,000 years of Jewish history, Judenplatz is a highlight of walking tours of Vienna and home to two of the city’s most important Jewish sites. The Jüdisches Judenplatz Museum narrates Jewish history and culture in Vienna since the Middle Ages with a collection of historical artifacts and documents. It is built over the synagogue site destroyed in 1420; its excavations form part of the exhibition.

Set just outside the museum, the Holocaust Memorial, a controversial and austere white marble box that contrasts sharply with the ornate Baroque architecture surrounding it, was designed in 2000 by British artist Rachel Whiteread. It honors the 65,000 Austrian Jews who died during World War II and lists the concentration camps where they were murdered.

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Things to know before you go

  • The focus of the Jüdisches Judenplatz Museum is the resilience of Austrian Jews over centuries of oppression. Exhibitions avoid graphic images of concentration camps, so the museum is appropriate for all ages.

  • Audioguides in English are available for an extra charge at the ticket desk; there is a special version for children.

  • Tickets to the museum are also valid for admission to the Jüdisches Museum Dorotheergasse, located in Palais Eskeles, a short walk away.

  • The Holocaust Memorial represents an “inverted library,” with four walls of books with their spines facing in so their titles are hidden. The wide plinth at the foot of the memorial bears the names of the concentration camps where Austrian Jews perished and a dedication to the victims in German, English, and Hebrew.

  • Both the Jüdisches Museum locations are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers via ramps and elevators; the memorial sits at the center of the paved square and is easy to approach on wheels.

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How to get there

Judenplatz sits at the heart of Vienna’s medieval old town and is easy to reach on foot from most sights in the city center. To reach the square by public transit, take metro line U2 to Schottentor station, line U3 to Herrengasse, or lines U1 and U3 to Stephansplatz.

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When to get there

The pretty historic palaces and townhouses that line Judenplatz are best admired by day, which is also when you can take in the Holocaust Memorial and visit the Jüdisches Judenplatz Museum. If you are interested in exploring the museum, remember that it is closed from Friday evening to Sunday morning.

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Jewish historical and cultural sites in Vienna

With almost a millennium of Jewish history, Vienna is thick in significant Jewish sites. In addition to the two Jüdisches Museums on Judenplatz and Dorotheergasse and the Holocaust Memorial, Jewish history enthusiasts can visit the Stadttempel Synagogue (tours of the interior are available upon request), the Jewish district of Leopoldstadt and its memorial to the destroyed temple, and the Palais Ephrussi, home of one of the most prominent Viennese Jewish families.

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