Credit: Martin Hieslmair
DI René Mathe (AT), Ars Electronica Futurelab (AT)
In the Pogrom Night in November 1938, a mob acting on orders of the Nazi regime broke into the Linz Synagogue—like so many other Jewish houses of worship that night—ransacked it and set it ablaze. All that remained of the synagogue was a burnt-out ruin. In conjunction with the work on his master’s thesis at the Technical University of Vienna, René Mathe created a virtual reconstruction of the Linz Synagogue.
His aim was to enable people today to experience that center of Jewish religious life. Now his work has made it possible for the Ars Electronica Futurelab to produce a 3D visualization that lets visitors to Deep Space 8K take a virtual tour of the Linz Synagogue. The reconstruction is supplemented by high-definition photographs of ceremonial objects—the curtain covering the ark in which Torah scrolls are kept, a pointer used when reading the parchment scroll, and a decorative plaque that adorns it in the ark—as well as a Jewish marriage certificate. All are from the collection of the Jewish Museum of Vienna and were photographed by famed artist Lois Lammerhuber. The photographer Florian Voggeneder from Linz visited the new Linz synagogue and photographed the Bima, the Rimonim, the Shofar and the Toramantel.
Dr. Danielle Spera (Director of the Jewish Museum Wien), Dr. Anna Mitgutsch (author and board member of the Jewish Community Linz), Gerfried Stocker (Artistic Manager Ars Electronica Linz GmbH), DI René Mathe (architecture graduate, University of Vienna), DI Herbert Peter and Prof. Bob Martens (architects and specialists in virtual reconstruction) and Lois Lammerhuber (photographer) presented the virtual reconstruction of the old Linz Synagogue for the first time at a Deep Space Live special on 15th of November 2016.