At the end of June / beginning of July, a group of the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) from London visited Vienna at the invitation of the JWS. Family research sessions, a reception with the Federal President, and visits to memorials and sights were on the program.
The group comprised 22 Jews of the second generation, who accepted an invitation of the Jewish Welcome Service to go on a “heritage trip” to Vienna organized in cooperation with the AJR, which was founded over 80 years ago. Among the guests were some people, both of whose parents came from Vienna, and some whose parents saved themselves by taking a Kindertransport to England.
One of the highlights of the extensive visitor program was a reception with Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen. “That you are here today,” said the Federal President on this occasion, “pleases me very much for several reasons. It shows that you have or are looking for a link to present-day Austria in spite of all that happened.”
Visits to the Shoah Wall of Names, to synagogues, the Jewish Museum Vienna, and the Kindertransport Museum “Für das Kind” as well as to wine taverns, a city tour through Jewish Vienna, and a shared Sabbath meal were as much a part of the stay as family research sessions in the archive of the Jewish Community and at the Jewish Community Cemeteries Office.
Heidy Hague, whose parents were able to leave Vienna in 1938, said of her stay: “Whenever my husband and I come here, I feel so at home. … It’s good to have that last opportunity to connect with my heritage.”
- “Jewish Welcome” for the descendants of the persecuted – a report by “W24
- Holocaust victims’ relatives confront the past in Vienna – Report by Liam Hoare in the “Jewish Chronicle”
- Photos of the reception given by the federal president
- Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR)