Dear Readers,

With the creation of the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, the City of Vienna will become a leading location for historical research on the Shoa. The institute named after Simon Wiesenthal, who passed away in 2003 and would have been one hundred years old this year, will serve as a research institute for visiting scholars and as a showcase for themed exhibitions. It will house Holocaust-relevant records of the Jewish Community Vienna, together with the documentation collected by Simon Wiesenthal. The archives will be made accessible for researchers and the interested public. The establishment of the Wiesenthal Institute in Vienna is one of several priorities of the new Austrian government in the field of Holocaust remembrance and restitution included in the program issued by the new government on December 2, 2008.

We are happy to provide you with a broad range of articles on recent cultural highlights and news that were published in the Austrian media.

Yours sincerely,

Wolfgang Renezeder

Director of the Press & Information Service

Embassy of Austria


  1. Current Events, Symposia and Cultural News
    • Vienna to become the international centre of Holocaust research (Austrian Federal Chancellery)
    • Vienna’s Center for Shoah Research (Der Standard)
    • Simon Wiesenthal’s 100th Birthday Commemorated with Ceremonial Act (Austrian Press Agency)
    • The Legacy of Holocaust Survivors (Austrian Press Agency)
    • Johannes Mario Simmel (Austrian Press Agency)
    • Exhibition “Places of Remembrance“ in Währing (Austrian Press Agency)
    • Kardinal Schönborn Meets with Rabbi Schneier (Austrian Press Agency)
    • Spots of Light – To be a Woman during the Holocaust (Der Standard)
    • Spots of Light – To Be a Woman During the Holocaust (Austrian Federal Chancellery)
    • Taken from “Hell“ Out into the Whole World (Der Standard)
    • Vienna’s Jewish Museum Presents Exhibition on Composer Hanns Eisler (Austrian Federal Chancellery)
    • Arnold Schönberg – Who I am (Austrian Federal Chancellery)
    • “I Have Never Read the Diary“(Die Presse)
    • “Memorial for victims of the NS Regime erected in St. Pölten (Austrian Press Agency)
    • A Tour behind the Facades of Linz (Die Presse)
    • Museum in Vienna’s 15th District: Lecture on the “Jewish Community on the Outskirts of the City” (Austrian Press Agency)
    • Modern Jewish Women of Vienna (Der Standard)
    • An Evening in the Epstein Palace with Texts by Anton Kuh (Austrian Press Agency)
    • Jewish Museum Dedicates Exhibition to Prejudice (Die Presse)
    • On the Anniversary of the Death of Joseph Roth: The Fallen (Die Presse)
  2. Restitution
    • Government Program 2008-20012
    • “Report on Restitution 2007 (Austrian Press Agency)
  3. Awards
    • Hannah Lessing Receives Second Highest French Decoration (Austrian Press Agency)
  4. Publications, Books
  • Book Review “The Wodaks – Exile and Return. A Double Biography”
  • Leap into Darkness: Seven Years on the Run in Wartime Europe by Leo Bretholz (Author), Michael Olesker (Author)

Vienna to become the international centre of Holocaust research

Austrian Federal Chancellery (01/05/09)

Before the end of the year the City of Vienna, which has always advocated a Simon Wiesenthal Institute in Vienna, made available the necessary financial funds. The Municipal Council agreed to provide a multi-annual subsidy to the association “Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies”. The City of Vienna will grant the association 1.3 million euros up to 2011 for establishing the Institute. Vienna is to become a leading research location for all topics concerning anti-Semitism, racism and the Holocaust. As from 2012 onwards, the Institute will be accommodated in Palais Strozzi (8th district of Vienna).

Vienna’s Center for Shoah Research

Der Standard (12/31/08 – 01/01/09)

The institute named after Simon Wiesenthal, which is temporarily in operation, will be promoting research on the Shoah.

Vienna –The new institution bearing the name of former “Nazi hunter” Simon Wiesenthal who died in 2003 will be up and running in January. The offices will be initially housed on the premises of the Jewish Community Vienna because Palais Strozzi in the Josefstäder Straße must first be adapted to house the facilities. The Vienna City Council awarded the new institution funding in the amount of 1.3 million Euros.

Simon Wiesenthal’s 100th Birthday Commemorated with Ceremonial Act

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (01/23/2009)

Muzicant against a one-sided perception of Wiesenthal as ‘Nazi hunter’ – coins and stamps are in the planning

Vienna – The 100th birthday of the late Simon Wiesenthal was honored with a ceremonial act in Vienna. Ariel Muzicant, President of the Israelite Community of Vienna (IKG), expressed his wishes against a one-sided reception of the anniversary: “I have always fought against his being characterized as ‘Nazi hunter.’ In commemoration of his birthday on December 31, plans are being made for a limited edition of a coin and stamp.

The Legacy of Holocaust Survivors

Austrian Press Agency (01/26/2009)

A “Letter to the Stars“ Presents a Unique Report to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day: ”The Last Witnesses“

Vienna – They were children and young people when they were humiliated, persecuted and expelled, and their families were murdered. Today some forty-five Austrian Holocaust survivors living in the U.S., Israel, England, Australia, South American and Austria, are telling their life stories.

Exhibition “Places of Remembrance“ in Währing

Austrian Press Agency (01/05/2009)

Vienna. The District Museum of Währing (Vienna’s 18th district) opened its doors once again on January 8, 2009 with an elaborate historical collection and special exhibition entitled, “Places of Remembrance.” The special exhibition focuses on Jewish cemeteries in Vienna’s district of Währing as well as Altona in Hamburg. It documents different kinds of approaches to Israelite burial sites. In Hamburg the area has been renovated for a fairly long time wheras the complex in Währing is in dire condition. Impressive photos and texts emphasize the importance of cultural memorials and encourage restoration of the cemeteries in the 18th district. The exhibition, “Places of Remembrance” runs until January 25.

Johannes Mario Simmel

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (01/02/2009)

Best selling author a strong advocate of his political convictions

Vienna – Critics gladly ranked his works with those considered “sophisticated popular fiction” The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung even compared him with Germany’s newspaper, Bild. He tells fairytales of old and repackages them into a contemporary context. Nevertheless, the allegation that he recycles clichés never held true for the best selling author Johannes Mario Simmel, native of Vienna who lived decades in Switzerland, using a socio-critical approach in his literature.

Cardinal Schönborn Meets with Rabbi Schneier

Austrian Press Agency (02/06/2009)

Native Viennese rabbi is the founder and head of “Appeal of Conscience Foundation,” which strives toward achieving interreligious dialogue worldwide

Vienna – Cardinal Christoph Schönborn met with Rabbi Arthur Schneier, founder and head of “Appeal of Conscience Foundation.” The Viennese Archbishop is member of the “Appeal of Conscience Foundation,” which tries to achieve interreligious dialogue worldwide. The friendly exchange between Cardinal Schönborn and the rabbi dealt primarily with the issues of Jewish-Christian dialogue.

Spots of Light – To be a Woman during the Holocaust

Der Standard (02/10/2009)

The multi-media exhibition runs from April 1 – 31 in the Nestroyhof Theater

More than three hundred million women and young girls were murdered during the Holocaust. The exhibition, “spots of light,” under the curatorship of Yehudit Inbar, sheds light on the role women played during WW II. NS ideology demanded the extermination of the “entire Jewish race,” with women representing bearers of fertility within the policy of persecution. However the goal of the exhibition is not to retell the mass murder by the Nazis but rather the focus is on the reactions of Jewish women to their lives and situation during the Holocaust.

Spots of Light – To Be a Woman During the Holocaust

Austrian Federal Chancellery (03/16/2009)

Under the aegis of Federal President Heinz Fischer, the international exhibition “Spots of Light – To Be a Woman During the Holocaust,” curated by Yehudit Inbar of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, is shown at Vienna’s Nestroyhof Theatre –Hamakom (Vienna’s 2nd district, Nestroyplatz 1) from April 1 to May 31, 2009. Jewish women during the Holocaust applied their minds at a place that threatened to deprive them of their minds, brought strength to a place where they had no strength, where they marched all the way to death and invested every additional moment of life with meaning.

Taken from “Hell“ Out into the Whole World

Der Standard (02/10/2009)

One hundred twenty years of Jewish cabaret in Vienna is currently being shown and celebrated in LEO (Letztes Erfreuliches Operntheater)

Vienna – Before the turn of the 20th century, an intellectual Jewish culture blossomed in Vienna which, beginning with enormous artistic energy with the creation of “Hölle” (“Hell”) and “Fledermaus” (“Bat”) conquered the stages of the entire German-speaking region, then finding exile in Paris and Shanghai during WW II. Vienna is celebrating its 120th anniversary of Jewish cabaret with a festival in Vienna’s LEO organized by the Armin Berg Society.

Vienna’s Jewish Museum Presents Exhibition on Composer Hanns Eisler

Austrian Federal Chancellery (03/02/2009)

With the exhibition “Hanns Eisler, People and Mass,” the Jewish Museum of Vienna continues its series “Music in Transition,” running until July 12, 2009. It documents Hanns Eisler’s works against the background of the history of three generations of the Eisler family. Eisler’s life and work and his special relationship with Vienna are examined from the perspective of the complexities of European contemporary history. The composer was born as the son of Viennese philosopher Rudolf Eisler in Leipzig in 1898. He lived in Vienna during several different epochs. The last years of the Empire, WW 1, the “Red Vienna” of the 1920s, the beginning of Austro-Fascism, his subsequent exile as well as the post-war years – each of these periods marked a new beginning in the life and work of Eisler - Vienna became a key venue in his biography.

Arnold Schönberg – Who I am

Austrian Federal Chancellery (03/16/2009)

The Vienna-based Arnold Schönberg Center (3rd district of Vienna, Schwarzenbergplatz 6) is presenting a multi-media exhibition about the composer (1874-1951) running until the end of the year. What makes “Who I am” so special is the fact that the exhibits are directly related to the life of Schönberg. The exhibition was designed by Nuria Schönberg Nono, daughter of the composer and widow of Luigi Nono.

“I Have Never Read the Diary“

Die Presse (02/16/2009)

by Helmut Hetzel

Anne Frank. Native Viennese, who saved the young girl from the Nazis, is 100 years old.

Den Haag. “I am now 100 years old. Still in relatively good health, that’s an impressive age which I’ve been lucky enough to live to see. In retrospect, I can safely say that luck was the recurrent theme running throughout my life.”

Memorial for victims of the NS Regime erected in St. Pölten

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (02/02/2009)

Art project should connect three sensitive places – deadline for submitting recommendation ends June 8

St. Polten – Lower Austria and its capital St. Pölten have indicated that they will hold a competition in remembrance of the victims of the NS regime. The memorial is to be erected in St. Pölten’s district of Viehofen. Where today the Viehofner Lake is located was once the site of a forced labor camp for Hungarian Jews as well as a work camp for so-called Eastern workers from 1944 to 1945, reported in a press release by “Art in the Public Domain of Lower Austria.”

A Tour behind the Facades of Linz

Die Presse (03/12/2009)

Jewish quarter, places of revolution and art of the future: With the “Austria Guide” Linz can be rediscovered

What’s hidden behind the façade? It appears damaged. Strips, both wide and narrow, without any plaster can be seen on the wall of the Brückenkopf building located on Linz’s central square; and beneath the stucco, red brick and grey grout peer through.

Museum in Vienna’s 15th District: Lecture on the “Jewish Community on the Outskirts of the City”

Austrian Press Agency (03/12/2009)

Vienna – The district museum of Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus (Vienna 15, Rosinagasse 4, Ecke Gasgasse) extends an invitation on March 15 to a lecture by Dr. Georg Traska. Within the framework of the series, “Culture and Coffee House,” the speaker lectures on the topic, “A Jewish Community in Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus on the Outskirts of Vienna (1830 – 1939).” Following the lecture guests are allowed to pose individual questions to Dr. Traska. The listeners in the audience receive an abundance of instructive information on the origin and development of the Jewish community in the 15th district. The speaker supplements his stories with video interviews, including with Israelis who grew up in Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus.

Modern Jewish Women of Vienna

Der Standard (03/14/2009)

In her first novel, “Hashems Lasso,” Alexia Weiss describes how Jewish women in current-day Vienna are living with religious rules

Seven women, seven stories of lives from Vienna, New York and Israel that all cross each other’s paths in Austria. What connects the women is Judaism into which they were born or have deliberately decided for themselves. Their existence, their everyday life determines and is supported by, is influenced and inhibited by religious rules and traditions that often stand in contradiction to modern-day life.

An Evening in the Epstein Palace with Texts by Anton Kuh

Austrian Press Agency (03/25/2009)

A persecuted and forgotten author rediscovers his audience

Vienna – Anton Kuh was an Austrian author, essayist and feature writer who described events surrounding the fall of the Monarchy with humor and satire and sketched the literary customs and mood of the times between the two world wars. As a native of Vienna with roots in Prague’s Jewry, he lived from 1928 to 1933 in Berlin where he was expelled by the Nazis. Anton Kuh’s life was exemplary for an artist of his time: In 1938 he fled from Hitler’s occupation of Austria and landed in New York where he died in 1941. A reading from the works of the author who was briefly forgotten and then rediscovered was held in the Epstein Palace upon the invitation of President of the National Council Barbara Prammer. The coordinator of the exhibition in parliament, Peter Fritz, gave an introduction to the life and work of the author. Actor Stephan Paryla-Raky’s reciting the highpoints of Anton Kuh’s literary creations were received with much applause by the largely attended audience.