Head of the Jewish Welcome Service Has Passed Away

Der Standard (07/11/2007)

Leon Zelman 1928 - 2007

Polish-Austrian journalist Leon Zelman passed away in a hospital in Vienna at the age of 79 following a grave illness

Vienna – Head of the Jewish Welcome Service Vienna Dr. Leon Zelman has passed away in a hospital in Vienna at the age of 79 following a prolonged illness.

Leon Zelman was presented in 2001 the ‘Ring of Honor’ by the City of Vienna and plans were in the making for awarding him honorable citizen in the fall. As co-founder of the “Jewish Welcome Service Vienna,” he committed himself to making it possible for thousands of exiled Jewish Austrians to renew their ties with their former homeland – now, the new Vienna – thereby contributing toward reconciliation with the past.

The funeral will be held on Friday, July 13, 2007 in Vienna’s Central Cemetery at 12.30 p.m.

Survived the Concentration Camp

Zelman was born in 1928 in Szczekociny, Poland.  He survived the Auschwitz and Mauthausen-Ebensee concentration camps, where he was freed in May of 1945 by the Americans. He studied Journalism at the University of Vienna. During his studies, he was a leading contributor to the Jewish student group at the University. In 1963, Leon Zelman took over as head of Reisebüro City of the Österreichisches Verkehrsbüro  (Austrian Tourism Office) for the purpose of developing tourism with Israel.  

The Year 1980 saw the founding of the non-profit organization, Jewish Welcome Service Vienna. Since its beginning, the Jewish Welcome Service succeeded in inviting thousands of Austrians to Vienna expelled in 1938 by the NS under the program, “Welcome to Vienna.” Moreover, the Jewish Welcome Service organized youth exchange programs between Israel, the USA, and Austria, in addition to many other   projects.