Rome, 12 March 2010 – Today marks the anniversary of the Anschluss, Austria’s annexation by Germany in 1938. Upon the invitation of Riccardo Pacifici, President of the Jewish community in Rome, Austria’s Ambassador in Rome, Christian Berlakovits, visited the synagogue and the Jewish Museum in Rome. In their talks they were also joined by the President of the Fondazione Museo della Shoa, Leone Paserman, the head of the Jewish community archives and special envoy of the Lord Mayor for Jewish commemoration, Claudio Procaccia, Gianni Ascarelli, director of cultural issues within the Jewish community, and the historian Marcello Pezzetti. The visit was rounded off by a lunch hosted by the Jewish community.
The visit by Ambassador Berlakovits was warmly welcomed by the Jewish community, and the talks were held in a very friendly atmosphere. The Austrian Ambassador took the occasion to inform his audience about recent measures taken by Austria, such as the allocation of six million euros for the repair of the Auschwitz-Birkenau International Memorial and the new design of the Austrian exhibition launched last year at the memorial site. He also explained the endeavours of the National Fund for Victims of National Socialism, of the General Compensation Fund and the Fund for the Future, adding that Austria’s Federal Government was earmarking twenty million euros for the restoration of Jewish cemeteries in Austria.
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