Dear Readers,

June 4 , 2004

The three-day convention of the Rabbinical Center of Europe in Vienna earlier this year was such a milestone for Austria that we brought several articles to your attention in the last issue. Here is one more report on the same topic.

Israel’s President, Moshe Katzav, will come to Austria on an official visit at the beginning of July. His stay will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the death of Theodor Herzl on July 3, 1904.

On July 20, the Armed Forces History Museum in Vienna will open a special photographic exhibition on the circumstances surrounding the assassination attempt of Adolf Hitler by Lieutenant von Stauffenberg.

With the accession of ten new member countries of the European Union (EU), many Israelis are currently trying to acquire European citizenship.

Read about the Jewish Cultural Festival, the opening of a new synagogue in Vienna’s Leopoldstadt, the performance of an oratorio by Ruth Faizal, and an exhibition on the contemporary Viennese composers, Egon Wellesz and Hans Gál in Vienna’s Jewish Museum.

The Austrian daily, Der Standard, has interviewed Vienna’s Archbishop, Cardinal Schönborn and Jacob Allerhand, Professor Emeritus for Jewish- and Hebrew Studies about the Christian-Jewish Dialogue.

A book on the historical significance of the noble districts of Währing and Döbling is now available in English.

Yours sincerely,

Christoph Meran
Austrian Press and Information Service

Europe Today: A New Era for Jewish Life

Lubavitch News Service (02/08/04)

By Baila Olidort

Vienna – Traditional Jewish life is burgeoning in Europe. Whole Jewish communities who last saw the light of day in the 1940s are rising up from the ashes, it seems. Yeshivas, day schools, mikvehs, shuls and kosher markets are becoming fixtures once again in Vilna, Bucharest, Budapest, Minsk, Leningrad and scores of other cities known to most westerners only from documentaries of a vanished Jewish world.

In another milestone widely covered by major news organizations, a Jewish teachers academy was inaugurated in Vienna last week. The last such academy in Vienna was destroyed in 1938, on Kristallnacht. The inauguration coincided with a three-day convention of the Rabbinical Center of Europe, hosted at the Lauder Business School by Rabbi Jacob Biderman, director of Chabad-Lubavitch activities in Vienna.

Austria’s President Thomas Klestil, who met with rabbis of the convention at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, used the opportunity to emphasize Austria’s openness to a strong Jewish presence. Notwithstanding the rise in anti-Semitism in countries around the world, he said, “our get-together today is a signal that Jewish people from all over the world are welcome in Austria.” One elderly Jew who recalled growing up in Austria “scared to utter the word ‘Jew’,” said he had to rub his eyes at the sight of Israel’s Chief Rabbi laying his hands in blessing on Austria’s President. With the revival of Jewish life in this region comes a host of Jewish legal issues that need to be examined and decided. Some of them are particular to these demographics where Jewish ancestry is oftentimes difficult to ascertain – especially in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (FSU) where communism made it a liability to identify as Jewish. How do rabbis help one verify their Jewish lineage? What happens when there are no records to refer to? The issue is fraught with serious ramifications for the Jewish community, and was studied along with a wide range of other halakhic questions at the convention. Some 120 rabbinical leaders attending the conference benefited from presentations by leading rabbinical authorities on matters of medical ethics, the construction of mikvehs, and the installation of a community of eruv.

Among them were Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger, rabbinical justices of the Jerusalem, London and Paris Beth Din, Rabbis Chaim Yehuda Rabinovitch, Chanoch Ehrentreu und Nissim Rebbibo, respectively. Also participating were Chief Rabbi of Antwerp, Dovid M. Lieberman, Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Ukraine, Ezriel Chaikin, and Dr. David J. Bleich of Yeshiva University in the United States, a leading authority on Jewish ethics.

But the convention weighed in with the world Jewish community for other reasons as well. Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission, flew from Brussels to Vienna to participate at the inauguration of the teachers academy. “There can never be another year like 1938 or another Kristallnacht in the Europe we are building,” he said to the delegation of rabbinic leaders and to the press. “We must keep a close watch on any manifestations of anti-Semitism. We must take firm action to put a stop to such phenomena and to protect all religious and cultural identities.

Mr. Prodi was also there to accept the RCE’s Humanitarian Achievement Award. “Given Mr. Prodi’s helpfulness and responsiveness to the concerns of the Jewish population of the European Union, we thought it an appropriate way to pay him tribute,” said Rabbi Moshe Garelik, Director of the RCE.

In his acceptance remarks, Mr. Prodi noted that he was particularly honored to receive the award on the Jewish calendar date of 10 Shevat – an important date in the annals of Chabad-Lubavitch history.

With hundreds of Chabad-Lubavitch representatives serving Jewish communities in Europe and the FSU, and many who participated at the convention, Chabad-Lubavitch is the leading catalyst in Europe’s Jewish revival.

The Rabbinical Center of Europe has its headquarters in Brussels and maintains contact with roughly 759 rabbinical leaders in Europe. “This is an organization with grass roots support working on behalf of Jewish communities in all of Europe,” said Rabbi Garelik. He explained that Vienna was chosen as the venue for this year’s convention because of its central location. “Until now the RCE has been operating primarily in Western Europe, but with the widespread growth of Jewish life in Eastern Europe, and with the ten new member countries from Eastern Europe slated to join the Union in the next few months, we expect to be focusing much of our efforts in that region as well.

In a closing statement issued by the RCE, it enumerated specific avenues of action on behalf of the region’s Jewish communities. Among these, the RCE pledged to facilitate the professional restoration of eighty torah scrolls pillaged and desecrated during the Nazi era, and restore them to communities of Europe in need of torah scrolls; to work, in conjunction with the Central Organization of Jewish Education – based at Lubavitch World Headquarters in New York – to send fifteen “roving” rabbis to service small Jewish communities in Germany, Scandinavia, Russia and the Ukraine; to expand social programs to assist needy families in Eastern Europe.

The RCE also resolved to appeal to the governments of Belarus and Turkey to address the needs of its religious minorities, and pledged to work with Germany’s local Jewish organizations in support of the country’s large immigrant Jewish population.

Armed Forces History Museum: Death of the Tyrants – July 20, 1944 and Austria

Informationen aus Österreich (05/24/04)

On July 20, 2004 the Armed Forces History Museum (Heeresgeschichtliches Museum or HGM) in Vienna will open a special exhibition, the first one of this kind in Austria. The exhibit will run through to September 8 and will focus on the historic event of July 20, 1944 – the day of the assassination attempt of Adolf Hitler – and its relationship to Austria. After sixty years, the day on which Lieutenant Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg tried to kill Adolf Hitler and to bring to an end the atrocious rule of the Nazis will be commemorated. Hitler escaped with scratches because the briefcase containing the bomb was obstructed by a table which saved his life, while four officers died. In Austria, Stauffenberg’s confidante waited for the liberating signal from Berlin. But Stauffenberg and three of his friends were arrested and immediately hanged. The exhibit in the HGM illuminates by means of photos the effects of the event on Vienna surrounding the Hitler assassination attempt.

Over One Million Israelis Could Soon Have a Passport from an EU Country

Austrian Press Agency (03/16/04)
lifted from dpa/Sara Lemel

Every Fifth Citizen of Israel – Stampeding the Embassies of the Enlargement Countries

More than 1.1 million Israelis could soon possess a passport from one of the EU member states if so desired. As an Israeli, becoming a citizen of the “most exclusive club in the world,” as the Israeli newspaper, Maariv, described the European Union, lies, however, in the distant future. As a study by the European Union reveals, every fifth Israeli could take this step as of May 1, the date of EU enlargement, adding eight new member states from Central Europe, together with Cyprus and Malta.

Six percent of the more than six million Israelis already possess a passport from one of the EU member states. Another fourteen percent, some 700,000 Israelis, can apply because either they or their parents originally came from one of the older or newer members states. According to reports by the media, thousands of Israelis are stampeding the embassies of EU member states in order to get a coveted passport. The run on passports is “so extreme, that some embassies are simply no longer able to cope with the number of applicants, “ wrote the newspaper, Yediot Aharonot. The waiting lines in front of the Polish, Hungarian and Czech embassies are particularly long.

At the Embassy of Poland alone, more than 120 requests for information were submitted everyweek. An estimated 300,000 people live in Israel who could submit their claim for a Polish passport.

Irrespective of the regular political tension, Israel and the EU have maintained active trade relations. In 1995 they signed an association agreement that went into effect five years later. The EU is Israel’s most important trading partner: While some forty percent of Israeli imports come from EU countries, Israel exports thirty percent of its products to Europe.

The EU study also revealed, however, the deep Israeli ambivalence toward Europe. Around three-fourths of all Israelis take the position that the EU is one-sided in its pro-Palestinian support in the Middle East conflict. The association of Europe with century-long persecution of the Jews and the Holocaust resonates still among many Israelis.

Nonetheless, given the unstable political situation, a European passport appears to be a “securitypolicy” for many Israelis. “It cannot hurt to have a foreign passport,” said the 54 year-old Mordehai Gil, who applied for a Polish passport. “I love Israel, but one can never know what it will be like tomorrow.” Others hope that possessing a European passport will make it easier to travel or study in Europe and the U.S.A. Also one can travel to countries that normally have remained closed to Israelis.

At a time when Israel is constructing a six hundred kilometer fortified wall along the territory of West Jordan, many Israelis look to the opening of borders between countries within Europe with quiet envy. One commentator from the newspaper, Maariv, wrote: “Many Israelis look with yearning to an enlarged Europe and want also to be able to dance at the party.”

Israel’s President Katzav Visits Vienna

Austrian Press Agency (APA) lifted from Die Presse (04/19/04)

Vienna – Federal President Thomas Klestil has invited Israeli President Moshe Katzav to a statevisit in Austria beginning July, writes Die Presse. Katzav will be in Vienna on July 1 and stay two to three days. Klestil will leave office on July 8.

Die Presse writes that according to the Hofburg, the state visit is “long overdue.” After Klestil’s visit to Iran and after the official visit of the Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, it is the wish that one “round off” matters and signalize the equidistance taken to both sides regarding Middle East policies. A symposium commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of Theodor Herzl has been postponed in order to have Katzav’s public appearance at this symposium coincide with his official visit. Originally, the Herzl Symposium should have taken place merely under the auspices of Klestil and Katzav.

Franz Morak: New Synagogue Expression of the Vitality of Jewish Faith

Informationen aus Österreich (03/01/04)

“The opening of a new synagogue is the expression of the diversity and vitality of the Jewish faith in Austria. Today is for me a sign that Jewish life has a future in our country,” said State Secretary for the Arts, Franz Morak on February 22, 2004 at the opening of the synagogue of the liberal Jewish community, Or Chadasch, in the Robertgasse of Leopoldstadt, a part of Vienna’s 2nd district.

For Austria, Jewry is a “treasury of intellect and culture,” claimed Morak in his opening speech. The culture of the Fin de Siècle was extraordinarily influenced by Jewish intellects, artists and patrons. “The unspeakable tragedy of the Holocaust brought this element of Austrian identity to an abrupt and tragic end. It began with the November pogrom in 1938 and was followed by the extinction of a culture. Death and decay came over Vienna’s Jewish community and destroyed Jewish life,” announced the State Secretary. The opening, however, signalizes that “the Jewish culture is putting down new roots in Austria.” Open-mindedness and liberal thinking has had a long history in Viennese Jewry. Particularly in the Leopoldstadt, the diversity of Jewish life and faith is better reflected than in any other district of Vienna.

The new synagogue, whose construction and artistic form was supported by the City of Vienna with € 125,000, “hopefully will be a place of spiritual study for the Jewish community in Vienna and will make a contribution to the diversity of Austrian Judaism as well as a bridge to inter-religious dialogue,” stated State Secretary Morak at the closing of his speech.

Performance of New Oratorios

Informationen aus Österreich (03/15/04)

Following the performance of the oratorio, The Song of Terezin, by the German-Jewish composer, Franz Waxman (1906-1967) which took place in the former concentration camp of Mauthausen in 2003, the oratorio by Ruth Fazal was performed in the Viennese Concert House on March 11. This oratorio had its world premiere in Toronto in 2003. The poems by Jewish children who had been deported to a fortress northwest of Prague between 1941 and 1944 provided the subject matter of this work. Some 15,000 children were sent to this camp, of which only 100 survived. The emotionally moving poems written by the children at that time, together with verses taken from the book of Tannach of the Old Testament, form the oratorio’s libretto. The focus of the piece with the picture of the heart of God engulfed by human suffering is represented by dramatic and also soft and lyrical music.

Ruth Fazal, native of Great Britain, immigrated to Toronto in 1975 where she acted as the concert master of the Mississauga Symphonic Association, as a songwriter and keyboard player.Following its performance in Vienna, the oratorio goes to Prague and in 2005 to Israel.

No Catholic Can Blame the Jews

Der Standard (03/24/04)

Cardinal Franz König who will be buried next Saturday, March 27, was a pioneer of Christian- Jewish dialogue. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn and the Viennese Professor for Jewish Studies, Professor Jacob Allerhand, wish to carry on this tradition. A conversation with Hans Rauscher.

Standard: Professor Allerhand, you held conversations on a regular basis with Cardinal König. What did you speak about?

Allerhand: I once invited him to a lecture given at B’nai B’rith and since that time we spoke once a month. We compared the Bible, the Koran and the Psalms and discussed the question, who is Christ? I told him where I cannot agree is the claim of Jesus as the son of God. For me Christ is a Pharisee (in the sense of a scholar) who revolted.

Standard: Cardinal Schönborn, have you seen the film from Mel Gibson?
Schönborn: Neither of us has seen it and I have also discovered that neither of us will see it. One doesn’t have to see everything. I don’t wish to let myself be influenced by the current hectic regarding the film. There are many ways to meditate about the Passion of Jesus. I have my own way.

Allerhand: I don’t allow myself to be dictated to just because a certain Mel Gibson has hit upon the idea. I don’t wish to be part of the psychosis surrounding this film.

Standard: But there are Catholic voices, as for example that of the priest von St. Stephan, who welcomes the film.

Schönborn: Every year we hear during Easter time the story of Christ’s sufferings. We have learned a great deal over the past few decades about the trial of Jesus through a more detailed knowledge of the Jewish tradition. That has been acknowledged in the catechism of the Catholic Church. Today, no Catholic who relies on Catholic teachings can claim that the Jewish people are globally guilty of the death of Christ. Thanks to Cardinal König’s considerable contribution, the text containing the declaration of the Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate, on the relationship to non-Christian religions explicitly stated that. From a Christian standpoint, we must admit that the death of Christ is, in a mystical sense, the consequence of our sins. In admitting this, a final stroke is given the tragic story of the accusations of the Jewish people.

Allerhand: I would like to go a bit further. It concerns basically the death of Christ. What would have been if he hadn’t died on the cross? No resurrection? Let’s assume that we really killed Christ. Then the Christians, said profanely, should be thankful that we killed him, otherwise there would be no Christianity.

Schönborn: From a Christian understanding, he is the Son of God who became man and he was man from the first moment of his human existence. It’s not like in the Jewish tradition which has the idea that Elijah ascended into heaven without going through death. We naturally dismiss what Islam says of Jesus that he didn’t die on the cross but someone else did and that Jesus ascended into heaven.
Standard: So, you are carrying on the Christian-Jewish dialogue?

Schönborn: I am proud and grateful because it is something more than just an inter-religious dialogue. For me it is clear that God chose a people. And through these people, according to the prophets as well as to Jesus, all people throughout the world should be blessed. This is God’s unique decision and no one can dismiss it.

Standard: Now, there is, however, a third monotheistic religion that concerns the Jews and Christians and that is Islam.
Allerhand: Some months ago a professor from the Al Azhar University in Cairo was here. And someone said: ‘Thank goodness we have at our universities a hermeneutics of the Bible’s New- and Old Testament. And these hermeneutics’, he said, ‘do not diminish the value of these books. I hope that we one day can speak also about the Koran the same way.’ The Professor stood up and said: ‘never, never, never.’

Schönborn: We cannot avoid listening to one another, nor not allow ourselves to differ; we must show respect for one another’s religion. If in Saudi Arabia religious freedom is still totally ignored, we must say that that is unacceptable in the 21st century.

Standard: It looks as if there will be negotiations regarding Turkey’s accession into the European Union (EU). What does that mean for you?

Schönborn: I have a very simple question: Where are Europe’s borders? There is surely a number of countries that lie geographically within Europe, such as Croatia or Serbia or Bosnia, with which accession negotiations are, however, not being conducted. As long as Europe is not geographically unified, it is a step taken too early.

Christoph Kardinal Schönborn is the Archbishop of Vienna since 1995 and as of 1999 the Cardinal. As Secretary of the Editorial Committee, he has worked in collaboration with others on the“Catechism of the Catholic Church,” published in 1993.

Jacob Allerhand is Prof. Emeritus for Jewish- and Hebrew Studies at the University of Vienna. His special area includes, among expertise on other topics, the history and origins of Yiddish, about which he has published a book. He was also Vice President of the Jewish Association, “B’nai B’rith.”

Wrested from Oblivion

Die Presse (02/25/04)

Daniela Tomasovsky

Hans Gál and Egon Wellesz, two masters from the era of the Wiener Moderne were exhibited in the Jewish Museum in Vienna from February 25 to May 02.

Modernist music had it hard in Vienna after 1945. Nonetheless, following the international debate on Vienna’s composers during this time, masters such as Mahler, Schönberg or Berg were considered established since the 70s. The era between the wars was, however, much more musically diverse than today’s performances tend to reflect.

Before the Nazi takeover, Hans Gál and Egon Wellesz, both native Viennese, were among the most well known contemporary composers. The Jewish Museum of Vienna dedicated an exhibit to them with the motto, Music of the Breakup. On exhibit were musical scores, scripts, personal documents and photographs of historical performances. With an audioguide, one could listen to samples of music and interviews. The curators hoped that through this exhibit, more recognitionwould be allotted to the lesser-known Viennese composers. Particularly from a musical standpoint, Gál and Wellesz, after initial resistance to their music, were officially honored for their compositions. Unfortunately, however, their music sank into oblivion. The exhibit’s finale was jolting: one entered the last exhibit room which was completely empty except for a national award.

During the era between the wars, the works of Wellesz and Gál were performed by the most famous directors of that time – Clemens Krauss, Fritz Busch, Georg Szell, Josef Krips, Wilhelm Furtwängler. Both of them were also teaching at the Institut für Musikwissenschaft (Institute of Musicology) at the University of Vienna.

The exhibit revealed the biographical similarities of the two composers. Both musicians fled in 1938 to Great Britain. However, whereas Wellesz, through his appointment at Oxford University wasable to survive exile without great financial problems, Gál, along with his family, had to eke out a living as a caretaker or through small concerts, despite energetic support of his friends. “He is a person and musician that speaks to our hearts” – with these words, Fritz Busch begged his English acquaintance, Sir Donald Tovey, to support his friend. Tovey invited Gál to work at the University of Edinburgh. It was only after the war, however, that he became professor there.

Another painful episode joined the lives of Wellesz and Gál. Both composers were detained at the beginning of the war as “hostile foreigners” in Great Britain. The detention camp was decreed by Churchill. He feared that Nazi agents, disguised as refugees, could sneak their way into the crowds.

The two musicians dealt with encampment in different ways. As Gál’s diary revealed, he wasinitially shocked by the arbitrariness and narrow-mindedness of the camp’s guards. Soon, however, his creativity returned and Gál composed the Huyton Suite for the only musical instruments available in the camp. “I am happy with this piece; it looks like the air, the light and the sun’s dust particles. Never have I been so grateful for my talent as I am today.”

Before his release, Gál directed his revue, What a Life, before some 1,000 people: musical scenes which parodied life in the camp. Wellesz’s creative talent, however, lay fallow. He held merely a few lectures on music.

Neither musician returned to Vienna after the war. Gál turned down an attractive position offered him. Wellesz would have gladly taken up his position again as professor in Vienna. It was occupied, however, by a former Nazi, Erich Schenk.

For those interested in knowing more, see: under exhibitions, “Continental Britons. A New Era of Music: Hans Gál and Egon Wellesz.”

* This article was originally written on the day of the opening of the exhibit. Since that time, the exhibit has closed; therefore, we have used the past tense in this translation.

One Hundred Thirty Years Viennese Cottage

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (10/24/03)

Book Presentation and Exhibit Emphasize the Historical Significance of the Noble District of Währing and Döbling

Vienna – During the fall of the Habsburg Monarchy, the middle class reflected a symbiosis of the well educated- and the economic prosperous people attracted to the Cottage, the exclusive villa area located in the periphery west of Vienna. The book, Im Cottage von Währing/Döbling …interessante Häuser- interessante Menschen (English: In the Cottage of Währing/Döbling….Interesting Houses, Interesting People), is dedicated to the historical and cultural heritage of this still exquisite and favored residential area, whose layout at one time oriented itself toward the English archetype of residential living. At the opening of a special exhibit in the Währinger District Museum, the author, Heidi Brunnbauer, presented her book on the topic.

In the dialect of Vienna, “koteesch” corresponds to the English word, cottage, little house, or small, elegant country house in rustic style. The origin of Vienna’s Cottage district, currently consisting of about 8,000 residents, is inseparable from the name of the famous architect who designed the Ringstraße, Heinrich von Ferstel. His vision (which became a reality with the founding of the “Viennese Cottage Association” in 1872/73 and still exists to this day) was to build a middle class one- and two-family house with a garden as an answer to the palaces in Wilhelminian style and the after-effect of the housing speculation.

In order to protect the character of the park-like area and permanent quality of living, the Cottage-Servitut emphasized the principle of mutual consideration and obliged everyone who purchased property to respect certain limits regarding style and usage.

Originally conceived as a form of residential living for middle class civil servants, officers and teachers, the Cottage (which since 1890 belongs to Vienna) soon became the domicile of artists, composers (Emmerich Kálmán, Theodor Leschetitzky, Mathilde Kralik) and writers. Arthur Schnitzler characterized the psycho-social fabric of the area’s milieu of Viennese society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Among the many prominent people living in the Cottage were actors like Max Devrient or the Thimig family, or the pioneer of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, the physicist, Ludwig Boltzmann, the philosopher, Richard Kralik Ritter von Mayrswalden, the economist and sociolgist, Othmar Spann, the historian, Erich Zöllner and the sculptor, Fritz Wotruba. There, where the Turkish besiegers of Vienna barricaded themselves in 1683, wealthy representatives from the world of finance and industry built their homes. Such was the case of the sugar industrialist, Siegfried Strakosch von Feldringer, whose villa was “arianized” by the Nazis in 1938. Those families whose members were persecuted, like Schnitzler’s son, Heinrich, were forced to emigrate.

Brunnbauer, Heidi; Im Cottage von Währing/Döbling…interessante Häuser – interessante Menschen. Edition Weinviertel. 268 pages, ISBN 3-901616-61-6, €29.70

Forced Laborer Submitted a Familiar Signature

Der Standard (07/09/04)

Andrea Waldbrunner

Guy Gault had only one piece of evidence that he had worked as a French forced laborer in Vienna: a letter from Federal Chancellor Raab, signed by his secretary, Ludwig Steiner. Today Steiner is head of the Reconciliation Fund and Gault visited him in Vienna.

Vienna - In 1942 Guy Gault was doing well in Austria and that was nothing to be taken for granted because as of that year he was a forced laborer in Vienna. But because he was so lucky in the Nazi firm to which he was assigned to work as an orthopedic specialist, he wrote a letter after the war to Federal Chancellor Julius Raab. In that letter he thanked him for the "memories of friendliness shown by the Austrian people."

It was this letter from Raab which was signed by his secretary at the time, Ludwig Steiner, which paved the way for Gault as a forced laborer to be compensated by the Austrian government.

Until now the story sounds like another one of the fates of 150,000 forced laborers with which the Reconciliation Fund has dealt over the past few years. But one small detail makes the story somewhat special: The letter of gratitude from Raab to the forced laborer was signed with a simple signature, "Steiner." And this "Steiner" was secretary to the Chancellor.

Today he is head of the Committee of the Reconciliation Fund. That is where Gault handed in his papers in order to receive compensation. Because he had no proof of his forced service in the orthopedic firm "Volkert," he sent in his letter signed by Steiner. And, Ambassador Steiner exclaimed, "I am familiar with the signature." Some months later the eighty-two year-old Gault, who lives in the southern part of France, was compensated with 2,543.55 euros.

The two men met together for the first time. Mr. Gault had so many experiences to tell from his times in Vienna, such as the burning of the opera house after its bombing - "it was on a Monday, I remember." And how he experienced the street fights between the Russians and the German Armed Forces. How a German solder first shot at a Russian and the Russian shot back, killing the German with a shot in the head.

"Unmastered" History
He remembers well that he was able to move about because he didn’t have to work in a camp. He was even invited to dinner by the Volkert family. But very little did Guy Gault speak of his experiences with the Gestapo. They interrogated him because he had brought pamphlets with him about "Vive de Gaulle."

Basically he is very careful since one never knows. The French forced laborers are considered to this day as collaborators of the Nazi regime. He has experienced that his own Red Cross never concerned itself with people like himself. In fact, he was better looked after in Vienna. His application for compensation as forced laborer was concluded with the words: 'Vive l’Autriche."