This December marks 40 years since the establishment of the Jewish Welcome Service. Since its founding, which took place together with the city of Vienna, the then Mayor Leopold Gratz, City Councilor Heinz Nittel, and Leon Zelman, the Jewish Welcome Service has fulfilled an important communication and mediation function between Jews expelled from Vienna as well as their descendants.
Together with the city of Vienna as its main sponsor and partner, the Jewish Welcome Service has initiated and done a lot of development work for the mediation of an active and living culture of remembrance. It was the city of Vienna that first issued invitations to expelled Jews following the setting up of the Jewish Welcome Service.
Over the decades, the organization has sent invitations to more than 4,000 people. Most have been to participate in visit programs for expelled Viennese Jews and their descendants, and study trips for the younger generation. Many personal invitations have also been issued and small groups of visitors organized. Demand for visits to Vienna remains high and we hope to be able to welcome people to Vienna again soon, at least in smaller groups.
On the occasion of “40 Years of the Jewish Welcome Service”, we want to document in detail these many activities, projects, and programs, the support of commemoration and remembrance initiatives, the annual awarding of the Leon Zelman Prize for Dialog and Understanding, and much more besides. We will also mark the occasion with numerous other activities. Film documentation will be included.