Jewish Cemeteries Gain More Attention

News Brief: Feb. 2010

Jewish cemeteries in Austria, many neglected since before World War II will finally receive financial support from the Austrian government, agreed on a majority in parliament on Fri, Jan. 29.

Most of Austria’s 63 Jewish cemeteries are in very bad condition. There were 200,000 Jews registered by the Nazis as living in Austria in 1938 when large-scale emigration began. By Reichskristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass) in November, there were 97,000 left, nearly all of whom were deported to concentration camps and died there. After the war about a thousand returned. With these small numbers, neither individual families nor the Jewish community as a whole were able to maintain the cemeteries.

A fund worth €20 million for the next 20 years will be provided by the Federal government. The Jewish Community is expected to raise another €20 million to match this amount. The provinces of Lower Austria and Vienna will participate as well. The city of Vienna is already providing €500,000 for the restoration of the Währinger Friedhof in the 19th District.

According to the application, the affected neighborhoods only get payouts for the particular graveyard, if they agree to maintain it for the next 20 years. The fund will be open for every Federal province to use.

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