Agreement on the Restoration and Care of Jewish Cemeteries

Austrian Federal Chancellery (01/04/2010)

The restoration and care of the sixty-three Jewish cemeteries in Austria has been ensured for a period of twenty years by making available a total of 40 million Euros. On December 21, 2009 the Federal government, the provinces (notably Vienna and Lower Austria), various municipalities, as well as the Jewish Religious Community (IKG), reached an agreement in a meeting at the Federal Chancellery.

A fund for the restoration of the cemeteries will be established, to which the Federal Republic will allocate 20 million Euros (i.e. one million Euros annually). The remaining difference of 20 million Euros will be granted by the provinces, municipalities and Jewish communities.

In addition, Lower Austria will cover 25% of the costs arising on its territory, and Burgenland considers a similar approach. The City of Vienna will provide the funds for the restoration of the “Kornhäusl“ (a building named after architect Josef Kornhäusl) located at the Währing Cemetery (costs: 500,000 Euros).

Chancellor Faymann described the agreement on the restoration of the Jewish cemeteries brokered by him as a “matter of responsibility, of “respect for history,” for fellow Jewish citizens and for the cultural-historical heritage of this country.

The Jewish Community referred to it as a “late Chanukah gift.“ The “last open claim under international law” was finally being settled,” informed the Jewish Community. Austria had committed itself to the preservation of the graveyards under the 2001 Washington Agreement, but all efforts had failed.

The Jewish graves are in bad condition, especially in Eastern Austria. This is mainly due to the fact that after the Holocaust there were almost no descendants. Based on the Jewish religion, Jewish graves are not removed and exist forever.