President of the Austrian National Council visits Leo Baeck Institute in New York

German Original: NR-Präsidentin Bures besucht Leo Baeck Institute in New York

President of the Austrian National Council (the Austrian House of Representatives) welcomes Austrian legal initiative to allow women to serve as memorial servants

Vienna/New York - President of the Austrian National Council Doris Bures attended the 10th Meeting of female speakers of parliament in New York in August. On that occasion, she also visited the Leo Baeck Institute and its Austrian Heritage Collection in New York and met the Austrian memorial servants volunteering at that institution. Bures highlighted the importance of memorial service abroad and expressed her gratitude to the young Austrians for their commitment. “Memorial Service is important for remembrance”, Bures says, “young people contribute immensely to reminding us of the darkest chapters in our (recent) history.”

Bures welcomes the planned opening of the Austrian memorial service for women.

Currently, young men have the possibility to choose between a 12-months-memorial service abroad as an alternative to civil or military service [Nota: military service or its alternatives, i.e. civil, social or remembrance services are compulsory ONLY for young men]. The President of the Austrian National Council therefore highly appreciates the initiative of the Austrian minister of social affairs to open the framework of the remembrance service also to women.
Bures: “The present memorial year is a good occasion to also allow women to serve as volunteers in holocaust memorial institutions. This measure is long overdue, as women have always played a vital role in fighting racism, violence and discrimination. We therefore have to remove any barrier impeding their commitment.”

The draft bill for the reform of the volunteer service abroad also includes improved social protection of the volunteers as well as a qualitative valorization of the volunteer service abroad.

Leo Baeck Institute

The Leo Baeck Institute is a leading research institute for the history of German-speaking Jews from their historical very beginnings through extermination during National Socialism until the revival of Jewish life in today’s Germany.

A library of more than 80.000 books, its archive and art galleries make the Leo Baeck Institute the major repository of primary sources and research material on Jewish communities in Central Europe.

The Leo Baeck Institute was founded in 1955 by German-Jewish emigrants, amongst them Martin Buber, Max Grunewald and Hannah Arendt. The institute was named after Rabbi Leo Baeck, who was the last leading representative of the Jewish communities during National Socialism. Leo Baeck himself became the first president of the institute. The institute’s centers were established at the same time in New York, London and Jerusalem.

The institute also provides for a collection dealing exclusively with the history of Austrian Jews – the Austrian Heritage Collection, where two Austrian memorial servants currently volunteer.

Photos of the President of the Austrian National Council’s visit at the Leo-Baeck-Institute