Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service

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Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service
Purpose Holocaust Memorial
Founder and Chairman Andreas Maislinger
Andreas Maislinger and Branko Lustig at the LAMOTH 2nd Annual Dinner (2).jpg
Andreas Maislinger (left) with Branko Lustig (right)
Office Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria
Foundation 1992, Innsbruck
Website www.auslandsdienst.at/en/austrian-holocaust-memorial-service

The Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service (AHMS) is an alternative to Austria's compulsory national military service / alternative service founded in 1992. Since 1998 it is part of the Austrian Service Abroad. AHMS representatives[1] serve at major Holocaust memorial institutions in 23 countries worldwide.

History[edit]

First young Austrian started in Auschwitz on September 1, 1992

Prehistory[edit]

The Political Scientist from Innsbruck and Scientific Director of the Braunauer Zeitgeschichte - Tage Andreas Maislinger on the 10th of October 1980 received on the invitation from Anton Pelinka the possibility to present his “civilian service in Auschwitz” in the of Dolores Bauer’s ORF-broadcast “Kreuzverhör”. Federal President Rudolf Kirchschläger declined his concept with the statement “An Austrian has nothing to atone in Auschwitz”. Later Kirchschläger accredited the “positive achievement” of the “accomplished holocaust memorial service” of Andreas Maislinger.

1980/81 Maislinger with Joachim Schlör was volunteer in the Poland seminar paper of the German Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienst, which is led by Volker von Törne and Christoph Heubner. In the Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau he supervised the German juvenile group. After his return he was even more convinced to realize a similar programme in Austria. He was mainly supported by Simon Wiesenthal, Teddy Kollek, Ari Rath, Herbert Rosenkranz, Gerhard Röthler and Karl Pfeifer. One of the sons Röthlers had accomplished Holocaust Memorial Service and Karl Pfeifer puplished an interview in the IKG-Newspaper “Die GEMEINDE”.

Realisation[edit]

In May 1991 Andreas Maislinger received a letter of the Minister of Interior Franz Löschnak. He was informed that the Holocaust Memorial Service was permitted by the Austrian Government to be an alternative to the civilian service. The needed funds were supported by the Federal Ministry of Interior until a defined frame.

Superior Abroad Service - Development Association 2001[edit]

2001 under Minister of Interior Ernst Strasser a Service Abroad development association was established, which left the funds to independent sponsoring organizations, fore example the Austrian Service Abroad.

Acknowledgments[edit]

"As a former polish political prisoner of a fascistic Concentration Camp and historian of World War II, I want to take the honoring opportunity to speak in front of the high house. I want to thank all the young Austrians, which work so hard for the remembrance of the past. Here I specially think of the people lf the documentation archive of the Austrian resistance under the leadership of Prof. Wolfgang Neugebauer, the Austrian Camp Community Mauthausen, the Holocaust Memorial Service, und also the local initiatives of the communities Gusen, Langenstein und St. Georgen in Oberösterreich, the working circle for homeland-, memorial and history care."

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski

"I thank you for the information about the positive result of the from you accomplished holocaust memorial service."

Rudolf Kirchschläger

"The holocaust memorial service is very impressive initiative."

Thomas Klestil

"I feel very close to this organization and I have great respect for the servants, because what they achieve is the right way for Austria – to look the past directly into the eyes and to do something against it. Not to say, we were the first victims."

Walter Kohn

"I often claimed there is no Austrian association which sends young people to Israel, like the German organization “Aktion Sühnezeichen”. It touched me to read there is now, thanks to your afford the possibility to perform the Austrian civilian service within the framework of the Holocaust Memorial Service."

Teddy Kollek

"I like to support and recommend the initiative Austrian Holocaust Service. It is a real service which can be and should be provided by young people."

Christoph Kardinal Schönborn

"Many people have no idea what those young Austrians achieve for them, that they straight up their backbones, so they can walk straight again, also myself, who belongs to this generation."

Dietmar Schönherr

"I consider the project Holocaust Memorial Service as an important and valuable initiative in the service of peace and the peoples' communication."

Wolfgang Schüssel

"Holocaust Memorial Service is remembrance work, which is also a bridge between “Yesterdays World” and the modern and democratic Austria. It also is a reminder that also nowadays values like sense of responsibility and moral courage did not lose their importance."

Michael Spindelegger

"Each Generation has to be aware of the horror of the past, to be able to build a new world of peace and respect for the human rights. The project Holocaust Memorial Service serves this important challenge of sensitization in sense of the words “Never forget."

Franz Vranitzky

"I follow the works of the Holocaust Memorial Service in great interest and the organization has my full support."

Simon Wiesenthal

Supporting associations[edit]

The Holocaust Memorial Service since 1992[edit]

Walter Gruggenberger (SPÖ), Andreas Hörtnagl (ÖVP) and Andreas Maislinger (independent) founded the association of the Holocaust Memorial Service in 1992. The association wanted to enhance Holocaust awareness, including its causes and consequences. The association is responsible for the assortment and care of social service volunteers before, during and after their service. The volunteers have the possibility to apply for one of the 20 partner organizations. In addition to that the role of the Austrians as offenders, victims and bystanders is very important. Also women have the possibility to provide a one year long holocaust memorial service as part of the European Voluntary Service (EVS). Female volunteers were sponsored for the first time in the year 2008 by the “Geschwister-Mezei-Fond”, which was created with the goal to give women the possibility to accomplish the holocaust memorial service under the same conditions as civilian servants.

Association “Never Forget” since 1994[edit]

The association provides positions on all in all 19 memorial sites in Germany and Poland. It distinguishes itself from other organizations because of the relatively uncomplicated process of the assignment and because it generally isn’t as run over as other associations. The association “Never Forget” takes an active part in youth work against forgetting and is involved in the organization of the Hermann Langbein Symposium – Ideologie und Wirklichkeit des Nationalsozialismus (Hermann Langbein Symposium – ideology and reality of National Socialism), which is taking place since more than ten years for further training of teachers.

Austrian Service Abroad since 1998[edit]

Andreas Maislinger and Andreas Hörtnagl were deselected as presidents of the Holcoaust Memorial Service. In 1998, after long debates with the board of directors of the organization, they founded the organization “Austrian Service Abroad”.

The Austrian Service Abroad is characterized due to its employees’ personal initiatives. It also holds the possibility for the volunteers to establish their own partner organization, which means a much bigger effort, but also more autonomy before their assignment. Therefore a big network over four continents and all in all 37 countries has been established since 1998. Since 2009 this network is supported by an International Board under the presidency of Ernst Florian Winter.

The Austrian Service Abroad offers in addition to the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service, the Austrian Social Service and the Austrian Peace Service.

Partner organizations[edit]

Synagogue next to Auschwitz Jewish Center

 Argentina

  • Buenos Aires – Centro de Atencion Integral a la Niñez y Adolescencia (1998)

 Australia

 Austria

 Belgium

 Brazil

 Bulgaria

 Canada

The Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre was founded by a group of Holocaust survivors and opened to the public in 1979. Through its Museum, its commemorative programs and its educational initiatives, the Centre aims to alert the public to the dangers of anti-Semitism, bigotry and hate, while promoting respect for diversity and the sanctity of human life. The field of activity of an ‘Austrian Holocaust Memorial Volunteer’ at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre is very diverse. The duties range from helping with tasks in the office, to translations (German-English) as well as to research assistance or to the description and digitization of collection artefacts. Another essential part of the work schedule is covering the museum front desk. In doing so, the volunteer interacts with Holocaust survivors, students, teachers and visitors to coordinate tours and to ensure a proper daily routine. Furthermore, the volunteer is involved in several projects and events including “Witness to History”, “A Bar &Bat Mitzvah to Remember”, “Kristallnacht Commemoration”, and others.
  • Montreal - Kleinmann Family Foundation Montreal (2002)
The Austrian Holocaust Memorial Servant at the “Kleinmann Family Foundation” digitalizes and archives artifacts, documents and photographs as well as maintains and improves the database and the website. The volunteer gives presentations in high schools and colleges about the Holocaust and Moral Responsibility. The servant also interviews Holocaust survivors for "Oral History"-projects.
  • Toronto - Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre / Hillel Canada (2010)
This internship is a joint partnership between Jewish Federation of Canada-United Israel Appeal of Canada's University campus Hillel Canada and United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto's Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre. The intern's primary responsibilities will be to complete projects that have been assigned by the two agencies. The intern will be supporting students in developing new education programs in terms of the Holocaust with the center and on university campuses. Other tasks are: support for the organization of the education trip to Vienna for Canadian, Jewish students, outreach to, and maintaining connection with local schools in terms of Holocaust education related activities.

 China

 Croatia

 Czech Republic

  • Prague - Jewish Community of Prague (1998)

 France

 Germany

 Great Britain

 Hungary

 Israel

 Italy

 Latvia

 Lithuania

 Macedonia

 Netherlands

 Norway

  • Oslo - Jewish Community (2000)

 Poland

 Russia

 Slovenia

 Sweden

 Turkey

  • Istanbul - Jewish Museum Istanbul (2012)

 United States

The Austrian Holocaust Memorial Servant at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust serves as tour guide, facilitates seminars and lectures by survivor docents an work with teachers to schedule and coordinate tours. The volunteer interacts with Holocaust survivors, students, teachers and visitors to the Museum on a daily basis. The servant also works with primary documents and artifacts, which he translates, reviews and interprets.
The Austrian Holocaust Memorial Servant at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust serves as tour guide, facilitates seminars and lectures by survivor docents an works with teachers to schedule and coordinate tours. The volunteer interacts with Holocaust survivors, students, teachers and visitors to the Museum on a daily basis. The servant also works with primary documents and artifacts, which he translates, reviews and interprets.
The Virginia Holocaust Museum features 28 exhibitions including “The Ipson Saga,” which documents the story of Museum Director and Founder, Jay M. Ipson and his family from pre-war Lithuania, through their escape to liberation. The Nuremberg Trials Courtroom exhibition is the only existing replica of the famous courtroom that set the standard for modern international law. The tasks for the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Servant are manifold. Duties at the Virginia Holocaust Museum range from giving tours through the permanent exhibit to translations (German-English) to assisting in research or helping at the reception desk among other things.

Austrian Holocaust Memorial Award[edit]

Andreas Maislinger also initiated the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Award (AHMA), rewarding people who actively contribute to the remembrance of the Holocaust. On October 17, 2006 the Chinese historian Pan Guang was awarded the first AHMA prize.[3] Further recipients were the Brazilian journalist Alberto Dines, French Robert Hébras, who was one of only six people, who survived the Massacre of Oradour and Lithuanian-American Holocaust survivor and co-founder of the Virginia Holocaust Museum Jay M. Ipson. In October 2010 Eva Marks was honored with the AHMA by Austrian Ambassador Hannes Porias in Melbourne.

Honoring[edit]

In 2005 the founder of the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service Andreas Maislinger received the Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria in Silver from the president of Austria, Heinz Fischer, and the Medal of Merit of the state of Tirol from Herwig van Staa and Luis Durnwalder.

On November 8, 2009 Maislinger was awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award for "his 10 year fight to obtain official recognition of alternative, philanthropic service" at the Annual Dinner[4] of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust together with Holocaust survivor and producer of Schindlers List Branko Lustig.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The New Righteous: Austrian youth serve the memory of the Holocaust abroad (Paloma Friedman)
  2. ^ Ainetter, Bernhard (October 1997). "Mehr als nur Pflicht...Der Gedenkdienst als Alternative zum Zivildienst". Unipress (Innsbruck). 
  3. ^ Professor Pan Guang received Austrian Holocaust Memorial Award (cjss.org.cn)
  4. ^ L.A. Holocaust Museum Announces Honorees for 2nd Annual Dinner (lamoth.org)
  5. ^ LA Museum of the Holocaust honors AHMS Founder Andreas Maislinger (Embassy of Austria)

External links[edit]