German Original: NR-Präsidentin Bures trifft in New York Holocaust-Überlebende
On the occasion of her stay in New York for the 4th World Conference of Parliamentary Speakers, the President of the Austrian National Council (the Austrian House of Representatives) Doris Bures attended a reception at the Austrian Consulate General in her honor where she met survivors of the Holocaust and emigrants.
Bures, who also assumes the presidency of the Committee of Austrian National Fund for the Victims of National Socialism, underscored that Austria has recognized its historical responsibility with the setting up of the National Fund 20 years ago.
Meeting the survivors who had suffered tremendously during the Holocaust but had never given up, always presents a very unique occasion, said Bures. “They are a reminder to politicians to strengthen democracy and to do their utmost never to let atrocities like these happen again. But we also need popular support to prevent such harmful developments from their very beginning, which is often only verbal. I appeal to every citizen to actively opposeanti-democratic trends and discrimination.”
The President also pointed to the vital role of Holocaust survivors and emigrants as witnesses: “Authentical life stories are essential for awareness raising, especially amongst young people, as they are way more moving than history books”, said Bures.
Amongst the numerous guests was also a sizeable group of Austrians, who came to England with the so-called children transports and later emigrated to the USA. Many of them lost their parents during the Holocaust; in the US, they federated as the “Kindertransport-Association ” in the USA. Other emigrants left Austria together with their parents or were brought to relatives in the USA. About ten guests were Holocaust-Survivors.
Furthermore, the host of the event, Deputy Consul General Waltraud Dennhardt-Herzog was delighted to also welcome Senator Franz Leichter, son of the legendary Austrian economist, women's rights activist, journalist and politician Käthe Leichter; Rabbi Arthur Schneier; Kurt Sonnenfeld, founder of the Austrian Culture Club in Exile; Gregorij von Leitis, president and founder of Elysium – between two continents; pianist Mona Golabek, who is currently on stage telling her mother’s life story; documentary film producer Gita Kaufman; Gregor Collins, author of „The accidental caregiver“ about Maria Altmann; poet Greta Elbogen; componist Ittai Shapira; president Leon Gould and Michael Schmidt of AJC; Frank Mecklenburg from the Leo Baeck Institute as well as a representative of the ADL.