At the time of the acquisition of the late Baroque town house Zur Kleinen Dreifaltigkeit by the European Heritage Project in 2004, the listed property was in a dilapidated state. The empty building in its uninhabited state, the unlet shop on the ground floor and its dreary grey façade contrasted starkly with the other buildings on Judenplatz. The focus of the EUROPEAN HERITAGE PROJECT was, in particular, to honour and keep alive the lively and at times traumatic history of Judenplatz, which had been converted into a pedestrian zone in 2000. Together with Misrachi Haus, which is adjacent to the Kleine Dreifaltigkeit and today houses the Museum Judenplatz Wien as well as the memorial for the Austrian Jewish victims of the Shoah, located directly in front of the Baroque building, it is today the most important place of remembrance of Jewish Vienna and the origins of the Austrian capital. As a place of peace and tranquillity, Judenplatz has been a place of remembrance since its reconstruction. In 2002, the city of Vienna was awarded the special architectural prize “Dedalo Minosse International Prize’s Jury” for the design of the square. Since 2006, the EUROPEAN HERITAGE PROJECT has made a significant contribution to actively preserving and shaping this heritage of international importance through ongoing and extensive restoration and maintenance measures. In search of a long forgotten piece of Viennese and Jewish history, a large-scale excavation project began in 1996 at today’s Judenplatz.
Initial investigations carried out by the excavation team revealed that the synagogue they were looking for was actually located in front of the houses at Judenplatz 8, 9 and 10, and that some of its foundations had been completely destroyed, while others were still in good condition. Finally, hopes of finding traces of the foundation walls were far exceeded when the Bimah – the traditional reading desk, prayer rooms, porch, the foundations of the Torah shrines and much more were discovered; parts of the former Roman barracks were also found at a depth of about two meters. Due to the immediate vicinity of Misrachi Haus, it can also be speculated that the area where the building Zur Kleinen Dreifaltigkeit is located was used for municipal purposes. The square, which was converted into a pedestrian zone in 2000, is now a central place of remembrance of Jewish Vienna. Baroque Misrachi Haus in the northwest corner of the square is part of the Jewish Museum, which also exhibits the remnants of the synagogue destroyed in 1421. On the square itself, the Namenlose Bibliothek (Nameless Library) is an urgent reminder of the Holocaust and the Shoah during the Second World War, which took the lives of more than 65,000 Austrian Jews. In view of the human tragedies that have taken place in this place, it is not surprising that the monument to the great dramatist and Enlightenment philosopher Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729 – 1781) is a reminder of these events and that it emphasizes the idea of tolerance.
Another highlight was the visit of Pope Benedict XVI in 2007, who together with the Viennese Chief Rabbi Paul Chaim Eisenberg stood in silent devotion in front of the building of the Kleine Dreifaltigkeit. Defying the transience of time, the stone figure of the Holy Trinity still today gives its blessing to those who visit this special place and commemorates the bloody history of Vienna as part of an ensemble which, far beyond Austrian borders, represents one of the most important memorials of a pan-European past and tragedy.
Visit of Pope Benedict XVI in 2007