Dear Readers,

In June experts and government representatives from forty-nine countries met in Prague to assess the progress made in the areas of looted art and objects of cultural, historical and religious value since the 1998 Washington Conference on Holocaust Era Assets. Moreover, further discussions involved new, innovative approaches in education, social programs and cultural initiatives related to the Holocaust. The Austrian delegation was headed by Austrian Minister of Education Claudia Schmied, whose ministry has played a key role in the field of Holocaust education and restitution of looted art. In this regard, a number of recent news articles on restitution have been included in this issue, such as the recent amendment of the Law on Art Restitution and the restitution of valuable historical records seized by Russian troops during WW II which Russia recently returned to Austria.  

Finally, we are happy to provide you with a broad range of articles on recent cultural highlights and news on the Jewish Community Vienna that were published in the Austrian media, such as the 100th Anniversary of the Jewish Club Hakoah. 

Yours sincerely, 

Wolfgang Renezeder

Director of the Press & Information Service

Embassy of Austria 


1. Current Events, Symposia and Cultural News

  • One Hundred Years of Hakoah - A Small, Vibrant Jewish Community (Die Presse)
  • Eruv – Symbolic Enclosure of Vienna’s Inner Districts Delayed (Austrian Press Agency)
  • “Not Kosher:“ Viennese Jewish Choir Celebrates 20th Anniversary (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Hans Eisler Man and the Masses Jewish Museum Vienna
  • Have You Seen My Alps? A Jewish Love Story Jewish Museum Vienna
  • Jews and the Alps: Exhibition in Hohenems - Prolonged until November 15 Jewish Museum Vienna
  • Three New Members in Society for Exile Research (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Simmering: Commemoration of Victims of National Socialism (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Jewish Museum Vienna: “typical! Clichés about Jews and Others“ (Jewish Museum Vienna)
  • School Children Learn Twenty to Thirty Hours About the Third Reich (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Faymann and Schmied: Set of Measures for Holocaust Education (Austrian Federal Chancellery)
  • “Yes We Could“ – Peace Camp 2009 Initiative Ended Successfully (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Mauthausen Memorial Site Honors Film Maker Brauner with Restrospective (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Wiesenthal Institute Faces Possible End (Der Standard)
  • Wiesenthal Institute: Entire Board of Directors Resigns (Der Standard)

2. Restitution

  • Holocaust Conference in Prague on Looted Art (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Jewish Community Welcomes Amendment of the Law on Art Restitution (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Amendment to Art Restitution Act (Austrian Federal Chancellery)
  • Russia Returned Thousands of Historical Records (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Two New Restitution Cases Involving Six Paintings From Graz’s Joanneum Museum (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Linz Restitutes Klimt Painting Unanimous Decision of Town Council (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Austrian National Library Takes Over the Remaining Inventory of the Arthur Schnitzler Library (Austrian Press Agency)
  • City of Vienna Restitutes “Love Letter“ to Heirs (Austrian Press Agency)

3. Obituaries, Awards

  • Mourning Paul Grosz (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Eric Kandel Becomes Honorary Citizen of Vienna (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Neil Shicoff Receives Austrian Grand Decoration in Tel Aviv (Austrian Press Agency)
  • Anne Frank’s Aide Miep Gies Receives Grand Decoration from Austria  (Austrian Press Agency)

4. Publications, Books

  • Memorial Book for the Victims of National Socialism at the University of Vienna in 1938
  • Memoirs of a Hitler Refugee“ by Hannah Naiditch

One Hundred Years of Hakoah - A Small, Vibrant Jewish Community

Die Presse (08/22/2009) 


Party at the Tel Aviv Beach, the Jewish club Hakoah celebrates its 100th anniversary and a new community center is built. Is Vienna’s Jewish community experiencing a renaissance? No. Many of the young people among its 7,500 members are leaving.  

Vienna – Marcello loves parties, every day, also on the Sabbath. “I party then too, unfortunately,“ he says with a slight sense of guilt and continues to sip his drink. It is quite normal to go out on a Friday evening.  

Eruv – Symbolic Enclosure of Vienna’s Inner Districts Delayed

Austrian Press Agency (06/03/2009)

Vienna – The Jewish Community’s (IKG) plans for the symbolic “enclosure“ of Vienna’s inner districts has been delayed. “Talks with officials haven‘t been easy,“ explained project head Maurizi Berger, but: “We’re still working on it.“ The idea is to create a so-called “eruv“ that forms natural and real areas of the city, making it considerably easier for Orthodox Jews. 1 

“Not Kosher:“ Viennese Jewish Choir Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (06/26/2009)

Vienna – A piece of Jewish life embodied in Vienna’s Jewish Choir celebrated its 20th anniversary today in Vienna. Founded by the Smolka family, the choir of forty singers performed their anniversary concert - “A bissele Glik“ (“A Little Bit of Luck“) in the Mozartsaal of Vienna’s Concert House -  under the direction of Roman Grinberg.  Together with their audience, they traced various facets of luck and happiness, offering a wide spectrum of Jewish songs at their best.  

Hans Eisler - Man and the Masses

Jewish Museum Vienna

The composer Hanns Eisler is the subject of the next exhibition in the series "Music in Transition." He was born the son of Viennese philosopher Rudolf Eisler in Leipzig on July 6th, 1898. Returning to Vienna in 1901, Eisler studied with Arnold Schönberg from 1920 on, who acknowledged him as the equal of Berg and Webern. In 1925, he broke with his teacher over politics and moved to Berlin, where he strove to create a proletarian musical language that avoided the shallowness of hit-songs and the incomprehensibility of what he called the "bourgeois avant-garde". In 1933, as a Jew, he fled Nazi Germany while as a known Bolshevik, it was impossible for him to remain in Austria with its newly formed clerical fascist government. Exile turned into a period of political activism that took him from the Spanish Civil War to Moscow and the United States.

“Have You Seen My Alps?” - A Jewish Love Story

Jewish Museum Vienna (website:


“The history of the Alps roughly and succinctly reflects the history of Europe, in other words our civilisation,” wrote Arnold Zweig in Haifa in 1940 in his posthumously published book “Dialectic of the Alps. Progress and Obstacle” (“Dialektik der Alpen. Fortschritt und Hemmnis”). For the Jews of Europe the mountains in the middle of the continent have always been fascinating, challenging and puzzling. This waste of nature, this abundance of beauty, ruggedness and energy had to have a meaning that was surely worth discovering. Thus began a chequered relationship, the story of an often unrequited love.

Three New Members in Society for Exile Research

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (06/12/2009)

Vienna – Chemist, novelist and playwright Carl Djerassi, chemist Alfred Bader and chemist/historian Robert Rosner are new honorary members of the Austrian Society for Research in Exile Studies in Vienna. There are three „representatives of Austrian exiles who, following their expulsion by the National Socialists, have committed themselves to the fields of science, business and culture and have made significant contributions in these fields.  

Simmering: Commemoration of Victims of National Socialism

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (04/28/2009)

Vienna – Jewish residents of the house located in Rinnböckstraße 23 were forced to flee during the NS era, were then deported, and eventually lost their lives. Recently the owners of the building erected a memorial plate in remembrance of these victims of National Socialism. Now volunteers from a group with the district’s museum in Simmering are inviting guests to take part in a commemoration at the site of the building in Rinnböckstraße 23. Head of the 11th district, Renate Angerer, will also participate. 

Jewish Museum Vienna: “typical! Clichés about Jews and Others“

Jewish Museum Vienna website

The Jewish Museum Vienna (JMW) presents the exhibition “typical! Clichés about Jews and others” (running until October 11, 2009), which was developed jointly with the Jewish Museum Berlin. Visitors are confronted with different clichés and stereotypes from everyday life. It is an exhibition about seeing, perceiving, classifying and associating images and things pertaining to strangers and oneself. With the help of objects, pictures, photos, audio-visual objects and the like, opportunities are offered for overcoming prejudice-ridden classifications and attributes. As the title of the exhibition suggests, not only anti-Semitic prejudices are addressed. As anti-Semitism and philo-Semitism are only one aspect of racism – as Africa expert Walter Schicho stated – the exhibition draws analogies from other cultures. Stereotypes about native Americans, African Americans, Aborigines, etc. are also explored. The parallels are to sensitize the visitors to issues like stereotypes, the image of strangers and prejudices within a more global meaning. Particularly by including anti-Islamic stereotypes, the exhibition demonstrates that clichéd attitudes are a burning issue. This reveals once more to what extent we are entangled in prejudices, which have developed throughout history or are due to current political developments.  

School Children Learn Twenty to Thirty Hours About the Third Reich

Austrian Press Agency (APA)(05/26/2009) 

Vienna – Every child that attends school in Austria learns about National Socialism and its consequences. In the eighth grade one is taught twenty to thirty hours of history about the totalitarian system, the era of Nationalsocialism and Jewish life before and after the Holocaust. In high school the topic is again reviewed. Although teachers approach the topics with empathy and try to make it more understandable by having contemporary witnesses give lectures, “ we are really perplexed as to how we can prevent young people from becoming involved in such things as what happened in Ebensee,“ said Manfred Wirtitsch, head of the section for political education in the Ministry of Education.  

Faymann and Schmied: Set of Measures for Holocaust Education

Austrian Federal Chancellery (06/08/2009)

In view of the recent neo-Nazi activities of some young people, Chancellor Werner Faymann and Minister of Education Claudia Schmied presented a set of measures on May 29, 2009, to improve political education at school. “We have to convey to the pupils values such as tolerance, humanity and respect for others,“ stressed the Chancellor. We must not keep silent in the face of Fascism and disrespectful treatment of others. “Being vigilant instead of ignoring“ is also Schmied’s motto, as she emphasized. The fact that the new set of measures was presented to the public at the Documentary Archives of the Austrian Resistance (Dokumentationsarchiv des Österreichischen Widerstandes/DÖW) was described by her as a “political statement.“  

“Yes We Could“ – Peace Camp 2009 Initiative Ended Successfully

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (07/13/2009)

Website of the Jewish Community Vienna 

Reibers/Wien – Under the motto, “Let’s talk peace in Reibers,“ a group of young people between the ages of fourteen and eighteen from Israel, Palestine, Austria and Hungary met together at a “peace camp“ to search for ways to learn how to resolve conflict peaceably and strive for understanding. “It was the best peace camp there has ever been,“ commented initiator Evelyn Böhmer-Laufer on the sixth meeting of its kind, this time held in Reibers in the district of Waidhofen an der Thaya. The ten-day camp ended with “Show4peace“ in Vienna’s museum sector of the city. 

Mauthausen Memorial Site Honors Film Maker Brauner with Restrospective

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (08/17/2009) 


Linz  - Former concentration camp of Mauthausen honors film maker Artur Brauer from August 19 – 22 with a retrospective entitled, “Responsibility as Contemporary Witness.“ The ninety-one year-old survivor of NS Jewish persecution is not only well known for his productions about anti-Semitism, such as “Hitler Youth Salomon“ and “Witness from Hell,“ but also for his films on Karl May and Edgar Wallace.  

Wiesenthal Institute Faces Possible End

Der Standard (10/01/09) 

By Peter Mayr, Nina Weißensteiner 

General meeting to decide whether to continue 

Vienna - The fronts have hardened since the seven-member board of the Wiesenthal Institute resigned out of protest against the Jewish Community Vienna (IKG). Two general meetings in September had to be postponed when they yielded no result. Today, Thursday, another attempt will be made when the assembly meets again.

Holocaust Conference in Prague on Looted Art

Austrian Press Agency (June 27, 2009) 

Prague – On Saturday more than one hundred experts and government representatives from forty-nine various countries came together for a conference on the Holocaust lasting several days. Above all, they discussed the return of so-called looted art and Holocaust education in schools and universities. The participants hope to establish guidelines for art restitution and found a European Institute in Terezin when adopting the Declaration of Terezin (Theresienstadt). 

Jewish Community Welcomes Amendment of the Law on Art Restitution

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (06/18/2009) 

Vienna – In a press announcement released today, the Jewish Community (IKG) expressed its satisfaction with the government’s agreement to amend the law on art restitution. The “revisions and specifics spelled out in detail of the current law“ proves to what extent it is important to the government that NS looted art and cultural objects, currently in possession of Austria’s Federal museums and collections, be clarified and returned. The consensus reached by the partners of the coalition government in terms of rightful beneficiaries takes into account Austria’s role as a forerunner when coming to terms with the past.  

Amendment to Art Restitution Act

Austrian Federal Chancellery (06/22/2009) 

Based on an agreement by Vice Chancellor and Minister of Finance Josef Pröll and Minister of Culture Claudia Schmied, the Amendment to the Art Restitution Act is favored to be passed by the Council of Ministers on June 23, 2009. According to the draft amendment, the Ministry of Finance will have a voting right on the Advisory Board on Restitution, and the Office of the State Attorneys at the Ministry of Finance will act in an advisory capacity. Apart from works of art, the Federal Republic should also be authorized to return “other movable cultural assets.” In addition to items from the collections of the federal museums or the Federal Furniture Collection, the new law will cover “other federal property.”