Dear Rector Schütze,
We are writing to you because of your University’s historical record of involvement in European genocides. Many faculty members of University of Vienna (UV) were active and eager participants in Holocaust. Even two UV Rectors were prominent Nazis: Fritz Knoll and Eduard Pernkopf.
Nazi Rector Pernkopf worked on his main work Topographical Anatomy of Man until his death in 1955 as a full member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Dr Sabine Hildebrandt (Harvard Medical School) stated that at least half of the material in this University of Vienna anatomy atlas came from murdered people: gay men and lesbians, Roma and Sinti, political dissidents and Jews.
It took more than fifty years after WW2 for the University of Vienna to investigate this issue.
Sadly, UV did not do this on its own initiative but because of the investigation launched by the Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
Fritz Knoll, another Nazi Rector of the University of Vienna, was celebrated until the late sixties.
In 1961 he received the Award of the Rector’s Medal of the University of Vienna by the Academic Senate “in recognition [of] honorable and courageous leadership in difficult times”.
He had the leadership role as Rector in the time of Holocaust, he was Rector from 1938-1943, so it seems he was celebrated for his role in Holocaust as late as 1967 , when he received the medal Bene merito for special services to the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Your direct predecessor Rector Engl managed to produce an artifact of the Bosnian Genocide, a document that in couple of sentences depicts islamophobic attitude to the genocide on Bosniaks: deception of victims and de facto rewarding genocide perpetrators, thus mimicking the behavior of the UN in Srebrenica.
Deception is the defining aspect of the systematically planned genocide on Bosniaks and culminated in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide when UN forces became active participants in the genocide. Officially the Bosniaks in Srebrenica were protected by the UN, but ended up slaughtered with the assistance of UN soldiers that helped the Serb forces in killings by identifying and separating men from their families.
In the same way as UN in 1995 in Srebrenica, Rector Engl deceived and insulted the victims of Srebrenica Genocide.
We (IGC) wrote to Rector Engl and made him aware of the fact that the University of Vienna is actively involved in the Bosnian Genocide. One of the professors of the University of Vienna Prof.. Walter Manoschek coauthored an academic study denying Genocide in Srebrenica. Mr. Menachem Rosensaft of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) referred to this study and warned that
“Bosnian Serb propaganda that downlplays the extent of the crimes committed during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in the 1990s, including the genocide against Bosniaks in Srebrenica, is reminiscent of Nazi antisemitism”
Additionally , Mr. Rosensaft noted that:
“The report is an embarrassment to scholarship and flies in the face of the established record in international law. In addition to being a legal and factual abomination, it blatantly ignores one judgment after another by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).”
This genocide denying study has directly influenced the new crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina which can lead to further bloodshed.
The response Rector Engl has sent us was not signed, it contained no address nor appropriate salutation. It was missing basic letter-writing etiquette. Because it was not signed, it can not be assigned to any legal entity thus making it void. Rector Engl managed to produce a void and disturbing document in such a delicate and serious crime as genocide. It seams that the lives of Bosniaks were not worth any effort to Rector Engl, to write a respectful and valid letter let alone to answer questions regarding the most grievous and monstrous crime – genocide.
This response is not only formal insult, because it lacks proper manners that children learn in elementary school, but an insult to the intelligence of Bosniaks, because the factual basis of genocide denial by your institution is very solid:
Besides coauthoring the genocide denying study for the Bosnian Serb entity, whose leader states that the Christians and Muslims can not coexist and who awarded as recently as January 2023 a medal of honor to Putin, Professor Manoschek has a record of genocide denial.
According to his own statements on the ARTE TV channel (4:08 min Arte TV) , Prof. Manoschek from the University of Vienna worked on a study that denies the Genocide in Srebrenica for the needs of the Bosnian entity Republika Srpska (RS).
Furthermore, in an article from 2008, Prof. Manoschek is attacking and discrediting ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia), falsifying historical facts by blaming the victim. He labeled Bosniaks as Muslims and Serbs as Serbs and not as Orthodox Christians in this text. This is islamophobic because he reduces only one side to the religious category. This article has been publicly available for the last 15 years. In those years your institution celebrated him on more than one occasion 2012 2016 2019 and continues to be proud of him.
Although, in July 2022 Austrian Parliament has adopted a resolution on the genocide in Srebrenica honoring the victims, your institution did not publically distance itself from Professor Manoschek and he is still member of your institution. This shows the disturbing show of disrepect toward the victims of Srebrenica Genocide and also toward the Austrian Parlament itself. The actions of your institution mimic again the behavoir of the UN and the International Community towards the Srebrenica Genocide. Although, the site of Europe’s only official genocide since 1945, Srebrenica was given under the control of the same Serb forces that perpetrated the killings.
Analogously, the behavior of the Univeristy of Vienna rewards the perpetrators of the Srebrenica Genocide by acrediting the genocide denial with the name of your institution – University of Vienna.
We hope that you Rector Schütze are not going to follow in the footsteps of your infamous predecessors.
We expect You to take messaures to dissociate your institution from the genocide denial.
Dr. Emir Ramic
Director of the Institute for Research of Genocide Canada
Member of the International Expert Team of the Institute for Research of Genocide Canada