Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Austria -- Government to Help Fund Jewish Cemetery Restoration

 Historic Jewish cemetery in Eisenstadt, Austria. Photo: Ruth Ellen Gruber

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

The Austrian government is mandating 20 million euro over the next 20 years toward the care and restoration of abandoned and neglected Jewish cemeteries in Austria. An agreement reached Monday night broke what Austrian Jewish leader Ariel Muzicant said had been a stalemate lasting nine years, following an agreement made in 2001 under which Austria had committed to care for Jewish cemeteries as part of a compensation deal for Nazi crimes.

Vienna's Jewish community called the government's 20 million euros (29 million dollars) a "late Hanukkah gift." "Nearly nine years after the signing of the Washington Agreement, the last issue that was still open in terms of international law is settled," the community said in a statement. Under the new funding agreement reached late on Monday, Jewish communities are to raise an additional 20 million euros, while the city of Vienna and the province of Lower Austria also pledged contributions.
          Read full DPA story

          Read Associated Press story

There are about 70 Jewish cemeteries in Austria, about 20 of which are said to be in particularly bad condition. The Austrian Jewish Community web site has an extensive page listing all the cemeteries and giving their history, size, location, condition and notes on any current or recent restoration efforts.

No comments:

Post a Comment