Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW)
was founded in 1963 by former members of the Austrian Resistance, victims of NS-persecution, and committed scholars from the sciences and humanities. The centre's initiator and its scientific director until 1983 was Herbert Steiner, who had returned from exile in Great Britain. From the very beginning the centre had a nonpartisan and pluralist orientation: the Communist, Socialist, and Catholic-Conservative associations for the victims of Fascism, the Catholic Church, the Jewish community, representatives of the Roma and Sinti, and politicians sat on its executive board.
A landmark in the development of the centre was the establishment of the DÖW Foundation in 1983, which is supported by the Federal Government, the City of Vienna, and the DÖW Society, thus putting the centre on a sound financial footing. From its modest beginnings, when work was carried out mainly by idealistic victims of Fascism and later by a qualified younger staff, the centre has developed into an authoritative institution, respected in Austria and abroad. The focal points of the centre's broad range of tasks can be summarized as follows:
- Resistance and persecution
- Nazi crimes, in particular the Holocaust, concentration camps, and criminal medical policies
- The justice system in the Nazi era and the prosecution of Nazi criminals in the post war era policies
- Right-wing extremism since 1945, (neo-Nazi) Holocaust denial
- Welfare service for victims of Nazism, restitution and compensation since 1945
The activity of the centre encompasses the following areas:
- Collecting and archiving relevant source material and its scientific evaluation; publications.
- Managing archive and library; advising or supervising students, pupils, journalists, and other visitors.
- Managing the highly valuable Oral History-collection (2800 tapes from more than 1000 interviews) and the extensive databases created in recent years (Austrian victims of the Holocaust, political victims of Nazism, those persecuted by the Gestapo and the Nazi justice system, Austrian anti-Fascists in the Spanish Civil War, etc.).
- Informing the younger generation and adults about the crimes of National Socialism by compiling teaching material for schools, organizing groups to visit the DÖW and its permanent exhibition, providing victims of Nazism with opportunities to talk in schools, offering courses at university, etc.
- Updating the centre's homepage with details of events, the presentation of projects and their findings, book reviews, current news on the extreme right-wing scene; servicing the databases mentioned above.