Last year historian Timothy Snyder gave the first Speech to Europe on Vienna’s Judenplatz. In 2020 cultural theorists Aleida and Jan Assmann ask which text can be read out from this urban space today and how it fits the European narrative. The aim is not only to give Europe a place in the center of the city, but also in our minds.
‘Rarely in history do a few visionaries succeed in realising their dream and creating something entirely new. But that is precisely what the progressive thinkers and architects behind the European idea have managed to accomplish. Their project has become history and now looks back on a 75-year success story. Except that not everyone sees it that way. More and more people are in favour of withdrawing from that history, betraying the core concepts of European unification. It is not something the founders ever envisioned. Indeed, for many Europeans, Europe has now become the bogeyman. In such a situation, it is more important than ever to know where Europe has come from, and what it stands for, so it can be defended against its detractors.’ Aleida and Jan Assmann
An event by Wiener Festwochen, ERSTE Stiftung and IWM.