In early January, a five-month-long student project was initiated by two Austrian journalists, Andreas Kuba and Josef Neumayr, commemorating the 80,000 Austrian victims of the Holocaust.
Organized by the association, "Dealing With Recent History," it is supported by the Jewish Community in Vienna, the Austrian government, and several private organizations.
Under the auspices of Austrian President Thomas Klestil, Austrian students between the ages of 13 and 19 (with help from their teachers and historians) will research the lives of each of the 65,000 members of the Austrian Jewish Community along with the 15,000 members of other communities which were murdered by the Nazis. An elaborate internet platform was set up that will ultimately publish the results of the project. The establishment of this permanent database will ensure that the lives of all Austrian victims of the Holocaust will always be remembered and that the Nazis could not erase the cherished memory of the victims. The documentation of the project will ultimately become part of the Shoah Center planned for the City of Vienna.
This is the largest student project of its kind ever undertaken in Austria dealing with this dark chapter in Austria’s past.
The project will culminate in a multimedia event on the "Heldenplatz" in the afternoon and evening of May 5, 2003 the Austrian National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism. The 80,000 Austrian students who have been involved in the research will participate along with Simon Wiesenthal, former Chancellor Franz Vranitzky, President Thomas Klestil, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn and other prominent Austrians.
The estimated cost of the project and event on Heldenplatz is $500,000. The Austrian National Bank, the City of Vienna and OMV, the largest petroleum company in Austria, will each contribute $100,000. Donations will also be made by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and the Federation of Austrian Industry.
For further information please e-mail Andreas Kuba at firstname.lastname@example.org or Josef Neumayr at email@example.com. They can also be reached by telephone at 01143/699/19422425 or 01143/676/5394995.
This text was written by Consul Norbert Hack from the Austrian Consulate General in New York. The Austrian Consulate General in New York can be reached by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.