Vienna, November 20, 2010 – “Austria has taken a decisive step toward fulfilling its moral responsibility by safeguarding the dignity of Jewish gravesites.” With these words, Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger welcomed the recent unanimous adoption of the National Council’s resolution on the new federal law establishing a fund for the restoration of Jewish cemeteries in Austria.
According to the new law, the fund will be administered by the National Fund of the Republic of Austria. It will be endowed with a total of 20 million euros by the federation over the next twenty years, remaining also open to receiving third-party funds. With these resources, the fund serves to support payments to the proprietors of Jewish cemeteries in Austria provided that that they likewise contribute in ample amounts toward restoring the cemeteries, and the respective municipalities commit themselves to maintaining these cemeteries for a period of at least twenty years following restoration.
“Austria, thus, sends a clear political signal and fulfills its legal obligations toward implementing the Washington Agreement,” emphasized the Foreign Minister. The 2001 Washington Agreement, which serves as a settlement of compensation and restitution for victims of National Socialism, contains a provision whereby Austria is to provide support for restoration and maintenance of Jewish cemeteries in Austria.
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