Dear Readers,

December, 2005

The year 2005 was a year of remembrance. We commemorated the end of World War II and the liberation of the concentration camps sixty years ago; Austria’s independence and its membership in the United Nations fifty years ago; and ten years of Austria’s European Union membership.

This year would be incomplete, however, without the symbolic compensation which Austria’s General Settlement Fund is now starting to pay out to the victims of the NS Regime and their heirs. You will find some articles on this topic in the current issue, including personal stories and interviews with people who were involved in one way or another, such as Ludwig Steiner, Richard Wotava, and others.

The death of Simon Wiesenthal in September has been widely covered by the Austrian media. His relentless efforts and life-long contributions to bringing Nazi perpetrators to justice have been honored by numerous dignitaries. His work will be continued by the head of the Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, Ephraim Zuroff. He said: We will remain true to his spiritual testament and continue the fight with the same decisiveness.

You will also find an interesting article on a lecture given by French Cardinal Lustiger at a conference organized by the Coordinating Committee for Christian-Jewish Cooperation. The conference was prompted by the 40th anniversary of the "Nostra Aetate" of the 2nd Vatican Council which in 1965 had brought a new comprehensive reappraisal of Judaism by the Roman Catholic Church.

Happy Hannukah,


Christoph Meran
Austrian Press and Information Service