Leon Zelman, head of Austria's Jewish Welcome Service, dies aged 81

zelmann.jpgVienna (dpa) - Holocaust survivor Leon Zelman, head of the Jewish Welcome Service, died aged 81 at a Vienna hospital on Wednesday morning after a prolonged illness, Vienna's city administration said in a press release.
Zelman, who survived the concentration camps in Auschwitz and Mauthausen, was born 1928 in Poland. After WWII, Zelman, a prominent journalist, worked on developing travel between Austria and Israel.

The Jewish Welcome Service, a non-profit organization founded in 1980, works to promote Jewish culture in Austria, in order to "improve understanding between Jews and non-Jews."

A major focus of the body is organizing visits to Austria by Jews who were driven out by the Nazi regime in order take away their initial fears about visiting their old home.

Up to now, more than 4,000 displaced Austrian Jews and their families have been invited back by the organization.