A Significant Place

tandel4We do our work at a very significant place: Vienna. The Jewish community here was the third largest in the world before 1938. Because of this there were many possibilities of contacts between Christians and Jews and fruitful encounters. But anti-Semitism was also a part of Vienna’s society at the end of the 19th century and it contributed much to the extermination of Jews during the Nazi era. The experience of the Nazi time in which many Austrians were involved in the forefront is painfully present still. It is a challenge to remember this time and to educate the new generations.
That however were not the only horror Jewish communities had to undergo in the course of history: three times before since the Middle Ages Jewish life in Vienna had already been extinguished (1196/ 1420/ 1670).
In contrast to the historical importance of Vienna for Christian-Jewish relations the actual organization is rather small: it has only about 450 members all over Austria. But this is no obstacle to the relevance and acknowledgement of our presence by the Churches, the Jewish community and political bodies. Currently there are two employed persons on a part-time basis. The wide range of activities can be carried out because of a good number of volunteers who support our work with their interest and competence.