The Jewish Welcome Service Vienna hosted a group of Jews from Vienna from September 15 to 22 – among them three Holocaust survivors and second generation descendants. The 37 guests came from the USA, Israel, the UK, Australia, Argentina and Uruguay.
The three Holocaust survivors Julika Marin, Max Jäger and Henry Weil celebrated their birthdays during their stay in Vienna. The highlights of the visit program organized by the Jewish Welcome Service, which is now used by whole groups of siblings, were receptions with Federal President Alexander van der Bellen and at Vienna City Hall.
“Their stories,” says the Federal President in his speech, “the stories of their ancestors, are part of Austria’s story. They are part of our country. Holocaust survivors and their descendants have been invited to Austria by the Jewish Welcome Service Vienna for many years. I am delighted to be able to welcome them to the Hofburg Imperial Palace as my guests. It is important that the Republic of Austria, that Austrian society not only accepts and acknowledges their fate, their suffering, but also takes responsibility and does something tangible for them.”
At Vienna City Hall, the group was received by District Councilor Peter Florianschütz. Apart from a tourist program, which included interesting insights into Jewish Vienna, the members of the group were also assisted with searching for traces of their families – such as in the IKG Archive and researching graves. In addition, there were consultations at the Psychosocial Center ESRA and for obtaining Austrian citizenship. Legislation currently making its way through parliament will simplify access to Austrian citizenship for descendants of the victims of National Socialism from September 1, 2020.