An attack in Vienna

The BBC reports:

At least one person has been killed and several more are feared dead after a shooting in central Vienna, according to the city’s police.

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said he believed the incident was an “apparent terror attack”.

A number of suspects armed with rifles launched the assault in six locations, police said. Among the injured was a police officer.

One attacker was shot dead by officers during a large-scale security incident. …

One of the locations of the shooting was reportedly on a street near a synagogue.

Jewish community leader Oskar Deutsch tweeted that it was unclear if the Vienna synagogue was targeted in the attack as it was closed at the time.

“It sounded like firecrackers, then we realised it was shots,” said one eyewitness quoted by public broadcaster ORF, according to AFP news agency.

An officer guarding the synagogue was injured, reported newspaper Kronen Zeitung.

Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Incredibly sad that they had had this terror attack.

It is especially poignant for me. I’ve been to the synagogue which may have been attacked. It was the only synagogue to surive the Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass as it was a block of buildings and can’t be burnt down without burning the entire block.

When I visited it, it was just to look for at the holocaust memorial wall. But to my delight, I discovered they had masses of genealogical records for my family, back to the 1600s and 1700s. They had my father’s birth certificate, my grandparents marriage certificate etc.

The staff there were so helpful. They were actually closed when we visited but as we were from NZ, allowed us in and the archivist showed us around. When he heard my grandmother’s maiden name was Mandl, he was very excited as it turned out the Mandls were quite famous.

So my heart broke a bit when I saw the headlines that the synagogue may have been a target. It is the strongest link I have to my family’s former life in Vienna.