Euro Cup Arena Covers Vienna's Dark Past

More than 1,000 Jewish prisoners died after being held there
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Jun 28, 2008 7:10 PM CDT
The referee for the final of Euro 2008 Italy's Roberto Rosetti, center, and his assistants pose for photographs in the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna, Saturday, June 28, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Vienna stadium that will host tomorrow's Euro Cup final hides a brutal past beneath the stands, where more than the 1,000 Jewish prisoners were held in 1939. Nazis took medical samples and made plaster casts of the prisoners, who were allowed outside daily but could not step on the grass—because soccer games were still being played there.

Almost all of the prisoners held at Ernst Happel Stadium later died in the camps. A tablet outside the stadium recounts how Nazis took them away, but one historian says he fought to have the word "murdered," not "died," included at the end. "Austrians still have an enormous problem dealing with the truth about their wartime past," he told Radio Free Netherlands.