Model of Austrian castle
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NOV 5, 2010

Model of Austrian castle where Nazis murdered thousands headed to US museum (The Canadian Press)

Model of Austrian castle where Nazis murdered thousands headed to US museum

By Veronika Oleksyn (CP)

VIENNA — A model of an Austrian castle where the Nazis murdered about 30,000 people — including many who were mentally ill or disabled — is headed to a U.S. museum.

Hartheim Castle was one of several notorious institutions that Adolf Hitler and his regime turned into the main venues for what they called "euthanasia" and where individuals who did not meet their ideals were gassed or given lethal injections.

William C. Eacho III, the U.S. ambassador to Austria, formally received the replica of the castle, located in the northern Austrian village of Alkoven, on Friday. It will now go on permanent loan to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.

"The model reminds us of what can happen when society loses its moral compass and forgets the intrinsic value of human life," Eacho said during a ceremony in the Austrian Foreign Ministry. "We must work together to ensure that this never happens again."

After years of denial, Austria has turned in the past few decades from depicting itself as Hitler's victim to acknowledging, and making amends for, its role in the Holocaust.

That includes spending millions on compensation payments and returning artwork and other assets seized by the Nazis to their rightful owners or heirs, most of them Jews.

Eacho praised Austria's efforts, saying the country has done, and continues to do, much to come to terms with its terrible past.

Upper Austria Gov. Josef Puehringer, who also attended the ceremony, said history could not be undone and that it was Austria's responsibility to learn from what happened and make sure such abuses don't occur again.

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