Israel: Duzdar Visits Home of Her Parents

Kurier, 3.1.2017
German Original:

Trips to Israel are a delicate affair for Austrians given the history of the Holocaust. In the case of State Secretary Muna Duzdar, there is yet another aspect: the 38-year old Viennese is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. „My father is from Jerusalem, my mother from Jenin in the West Bank. An uncle still lives in East Jerusalem,“ Duzdar told Kurier. The social-democratic politician is still chairperson of the Palestinian-Austrian Society, she confirms. But it „mostly revolves around culture.“

Her actions, her gestures and statements on Wednesday will be watched closely, not just in Israel, but also by representatives of the Palestinian government in Ramallah. There will be no meetings with representatives from the Israeli government. Those were requested, but could not happen due to scheduling conflicts, according to Duzdar’s spokesperson.

Besides talks with Israeli start-up entrepreneurs and the leading official on the topic of digitization, a visit of Vad Yashem was on Tuesday’s agenda. For Druzda, who has been in „Israel and Palestine for the third time,“ this marks the first visit of the Holocaust Memorial, where she laid down a wreath.

„Very Depressing“
How does she feel after Vad Yashem? „It is very difficult – or like the French say, très lourd,“ says Duzdar, who also studied and worked in Paris, while looking for the right expression. „I was deeply moved,“ she added. The various life stories, the system of de-humanization, „also by normal people,“ have unsettled her. „The fact that so many Jews were murdered in the last days of the war, when it was already clear that the war was lost, was very depressing.“ However, this not news to Duzdar, who had looked into history very well.

She described the „duty for us all“ to „keep the memory alive and to pass it on to the next generation.“ This is why, as state secretary responsible for digitization, she puts special emphasis on digitally recording the survival stories and memories of the contemporary witnesses in order to preserve them for generations to come.