Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer sign a multi-year strategic agreement enhancing Holocaust remembrance, education, research and documentation
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04 September 2022
Last week Dani Dayan traveled to Austria for the first time since assuming the chairmanship of Yad Vashem a year ago. During this historic visit, Dayan met with several high-ranking Austrian officials, including the Chancellor, H.E. Mr. Karl Nehammer, the President of Austria, H.E. Mr. Alexander Van der Bellen, the President of the National Council of Austria, H.E. Mr. Wolfgang Sobotka, Minister of the Federal Republic of Austria Karoline Edtstadler, Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research Dr. Martin Polaschek, and various leaders of the Austrian Jewish community.
On his first day in Vienna, Dayan started by visiting Holocaust memorial sites and Jewish community centers in the city. Later, Dayan attended and spoke at the opening of an international conference of the Austrian Service Abroad (a non-profit organization that includes Gedenkdienst, which sends young Austrians to work in partner institutions worldwide addressing Holocaust commemoration) in the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, along with notable international personalities, such as US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, President of the Austrian Jewish Community Oskar Deutch and Hanna Lessing. During this four-day trip Dayan also was a keynote speaker at a reception hosted by President of the Austrian Parliament Wolfgang Sobotka, who recently visited Yad Vashem.
In addition, Dayan and the Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research signed a joint agreement in order to further strengthen Holocaust education and awareness across the country.
Perhaps most notable was Dani Dayan's meeting with Austria's Chancellor, H.E. Mr. Karl Nehammer, and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Chancellery and Yad Vashem solidifying Austrian support in the fields of Holocaust remembrance, documentation and research. This agreement was first announced during Chancellor Nehammer's visit to the Mount of Remembrance in July. Over the years, the Austrian Chancellery has shown its firm support of Yad Vashem's activities, particularly Yad Vashem's new Collections Center, which will house the world's largest collection of Holocaust-related artifacts, documentation and artwork in a new state-of-the-art facility slated to open in the coming months.
Chancellor Nehammer tweeted:
"Austria always strives to fulfil the historical responsibility in maintaining an active culture of remembrance and fighting decisively against all forms of antisemitism. The excellent cooperation with Yad Vashem plays an essential role in this endeavor."
Dayan also met with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen for the first time. President Van der Bellen last visited Yad Vashem in January 2020, to attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum.
Yad Vashem Chairman Dayan stated:
"As I embarked on my first ever trip to Austria, I bore the collective weight of the six million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. When I met with the Austrian Chancellor on the Mount of Remembrance in July, he courageously acknowledged the complicity of the Austrian people in the atrocities of the Holocaust. The strategic partnership with Austria is critically important to our ongoing efforts to remember the not-so-distant past, and ensure that Holocaust education and awareness reaches new audiences in Austria and around the world."
In addition, Dayan signed two agreements with the President of the Austrian Parliament, H.E. Mr. Wolfgang Sobotka: The first with the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism, and the second with the Parliamentary Department of Democracy Education. Both agreements solidify Austria's long-standing dedication to Holocaust remembrance, documentation and education.
"We hope that these first-ever agreements will provide a solid foundation of cooperation with the Austrian Parliament, promoting our common goals to safeguard the historical record and educate about the dangers of racism and antisemitism."