On the occasion of its 40th anniversary in December 2020, the Jewish Welcome Service launched a plethora of extraordinary initiatives. Among others, it launched the campaign “Vienna Trips”. It invites descendants of Holocaust survivors aged between 18 and 35 to Vienna – both to get to know the home of their ancestors and to search for traces of them.
The interest expressed in the program organized by the Jewish Welcome Service together with the Vienna Tourist Board for the young descendants of Shoah survivors has been huge: From October 2021 to August of this year, a total of almost 40 young Jews took up the invitation and visited Vienna.
The trips to Vienna cover the travel and accommodation costs for two people as well as research into their family history. In addition, the JWS provides a wealth of tips for organizing the stay in Vienna. Each stay should be documented in a kind of “Vienna diary” – especially with photos and videos for social media channels, like Instagram and Facebook.
Among recent visitors was Jacqui Smith from the USA, whose father Michael accepted an invitation from the JWS to the second generation and visited Vienna in 2019. Jacqui visited the city on the Danube with the “Vienna Trips” together with Michael in search of her roots. She wrote movingly about her stay: “Cheers to my grandma, her Sachertorte, her beautiful apartment, and my dad for exploring this city with me. I’m so grateful and in awe for everything she had to do to survive the Shoah and begin her new life in NYC.”