Mourning Paul Grosz

Austrian Federal Chancellery (09/07/2009) 

Paul Grosz, President of the Jewish Community Vienna (IKG) from 1987 – 1998 and Honorary President thereafter, died in the early morning hours of August 30, 2009 at the age of 84. 

Born in Vienna as the son of a furrier in 1925, he, together with his father, escaped deportation by the Nazis. He survived by remaining in hiding until the end of the war. After emigrating to the USA in 1950, he returned to Austria in 1955. When he assumed the office of President of the Jewish Community Vienna, Kurt Waldheim was Austria’s Federal President. “I faced a worried community,“ said Grosz. He encouraged its members “to present themselves in a manner reflecting more self-confidence.“ 

As Jewish Community Vienna President, Paul Grosz saw the establishment of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism and the Mauerbach Auction in autumn of 1996. On behalf of the IKG, the auction house Christie’s, auctioned off objects that had been looted by the Nazis and then stored in the Carthusian monastery of Mauerbach for decades.  

In 1992 the Minister of Education at the time, Rudolf Scholten, awarded the President of  the Jewish Religious Community the professional title of “Hofrat“ (“Court Councillor“). In 1999 Paul Grosz received the title of “Citizen of the City of Vienna.“ President Heinz Fischer was shocked when he was informed of the death of the fine, quiet man: “During the twelve years Paul Grosz was the President of the Jewish Community Vienna, he represented the concerns of the Jewish community with a great sense of responsiblity and efficiency, cooperating on an equal footing with the public institutions of our Republic.“