Austrian President Heinz Fischer officially opened on Friday a memorial sculpture at the Ballhausplatz in Vienna, dedicated to victims of Nazi military courts persecution during World War Two.
Over 30,000 people were sentenced to death by the Nazi regime, including soldiers, prisoners of war, and civilians, most of whom were deserters and others accused of subverting the war efforts. Thousands also died after being sentenced by the courts to serve in "penal battalions."
The three-step, X-shaped pedestal memorial that can be walked upon was designed by German Olaf Nicolai, with the surface of the top step inscribed with the words "all alone," taken from a poem by Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay. Nicolai said the "X" reflects the anonymous nature of the victims, who, facing extinction, were to be turned to mere "X's" in a file.
Mayor of Vienna Michael Hauepl said during an opening speech that "it is time our country thinks of those who opposed the commands of the inhumane national socialist regime and came to that decision by themselves."
City Councillor for Cultural Affairs Andreas Mailath-Pokorny said the memorial fills an "important gap" and that the location was chosen as a central place in the Austrian capital, situated between the Office of the President and the Federal Chancellery, where future generations can come to see where totalitarianism leads to.