Austrian Press Agency (APA) (09/26/2009)
Political Scientist Maislinger founded the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service volunteering at Holocaust memorial sites
Vienna – The founder of the international Holocaust Memorial Service “Gedenkdienst”, Austrian Andreas Maislinger, will be honored for his lifetime work by the Los Angeles Holocaust Museum. A press release by the Museum stated that his “ten-year struggle” to establish a Volunteer Holocaust Memorial Service, will finally be distinguished. The award will be officially presented on November 8, 2009.
Maislinger, born in St. Georgen near Salzburg, founded the organization “Gedenkdienst” in 1992 as well as the Verein “Österreichischer Auslandsdienst” (organization “Austrian Service Abroad”), of which he serves as official director. The fifty-four year-old political scientist is the publisher of numerous publications on contemporary history and often heads seminars, such as the Braunau Conference on Contemporary History (“Braunauer Zeitgeschichte Tage”) in Upper Austria. Likewise he is committed to projects promoting highly talented children. He was distinguished by receiving the Medal of Service of the Province of Tyrol and with the Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria.
The “Gedenkdienst” is a politically independent organization, which deals with the causes and consequences of National Socialism and its crimes. Since 1992 it assigns volunteers to countries where Holocaust survivors, who suffered crimes perpetrated by the Nazis and their accomplices, are living today.
During their service young Austrians care for the elderly or work in archives and museums. The service provided by these young men is primarily financed by the Republic of Austria and serves as a substitute for military service. Young Austrian women have the possibility of working with the voluntary service within the framework of the European Voluntary Service (EVS).
The organization “Austrian Service Abroad” is one of the sponsor organizations recognized by the Ministry of the Interior which offer Austrians one year of completing civil service as an alternative to military duty. This can be achieved by volunteering in one of the organizations such as the Holocaust Memorial Service, the Social Service or the Peace Service.
The volunteers volunteering for “Gedenkdienst” work with survivors of National Socialism, particularly Jewish victims of NS persecution. The work at various Holocaust Memorial sites throughout the world involves mainly organizing tours or delivering lectures at universities and schools, as well as conducting talks with contemporaries who witnessed the Holocaust and documenting their stories in order to maintain remembrance for posterity.