VIENNA, Austria — In Austria, the birthplace of Adolf Hitler and many other Nazis, the European premiere of Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” became much more than a cultural event Wednesday.
The patronage of Austrian President Thomas Klestil and Chancellor Franz Vranitzky lent the evening the feeling of a government occasion.
The presence of many Holocaust survivors, including Simon Wiesenthal, who introduced the film, ensured it was both a memorial to victims and a reminder to fight neo-Nazism today.
Spielberg, who met Vranitzky earlier Wednesday in the federal chancellery, received a two-minute standing ovation after the curtain fell on the film, which was shown dubbed in German.
Then, the audience of 760 filed out in the same silence in which the film had played.
The only sound throughout was occasional weeping from some spectators, who included several Holocaust survivors.
The director earlier said he felt “very good” about the Vienna premiere.
Wiesenthal, who has battled to bring Nazi war criminals to justice, said he hopes “Schindler’s List” will stir popular anger against neo-Nazism and bring Holocaust history home to all.