2018 Progress Report
The spring of 2019 has arrived at last, and the time has come to update you on new developments in the association and its activities.
The association was founded in 2017 under the leadership of Günther Havranek and Ariel Muzicant, and its activities began with great enthusiasm in 2018.
Efforts were focussed on the goal of collaborating with the Jewish Community Vienna, the Federal Monuments Office and the National Fund to deploy available funds towards the long-delayed renovation of the dilapidated cemetery. The cemetery is testimony to a period in Vienna’s history when Jews and non-Jews lived together successfully.
Did you know..
Mr Spock of the Starship Enterprise has left his sign all over the cemetery?
Almost everyone knows the V-fingered hand greeting used by Mr Spock, the Chief Science Officer who sailed the universe alongside Captain Kirk.
This symbol displayed on a gravestone indicates that a Cohen, a descendant of the Jewish priesthood, is buried there.
“Most people to this day still don’t know what it’s all about”, says actor Leonard Nimoy. “People don’t realise that they’re blessing each other…“
Looking back on 2018
Over six weekends, a total of 325 volunteers dedicated 1,625 hours to clearing the rampant vegetation in the cemetery. This work, together with the efforts of volunteers escorting guiding tours through the site, has been accepted by the National Fund as our co-contribution, representing a total value of around €36,000.
Over five weekends, guided tours of the cemetery were conducted by experienced and knowledgeable volunteers. Around €2,000 was contributed by tour participants.
In an effort to draw attention to the precarious situation of the cemetery, journalists were invited onto the site to witness the deterioration of the structure and grounds.
Very detailed articles in various well-known publications have helped to bring the Jewish Cemetery into the forefront of both public and political awareness.
An appeal for donations generated a further €19,500 in funds
A very important element of the association’s efforts is the search for supporters who can assist the project with their specialist knowledge, networks or financial assistance, and 60 prominent individuals in business, culture, art, religion and politics have already come on board.
Cooperation agreement with the Jewish Community:
A contract of cooperation has been concluded with the Jewish Community, incorporating agreements on a suitable approach to restoration works.
The association would like to advise that a Facebook site entitled “Rettet den jüdischen Friedhof Währing” [Save the Jewish Cemetery in Währing] will be used until a dedicated website can be set up.
The association has secured approx. €23,600 in donations and sponsorship, out of which expenses of approx. €1,300 have been disbursed, in addition to an in-kind contribution from volunteers valued at approx. €36,000.
There is a lot to discover at the cemetery, for example interesting epitaphs:
He who knows to honour the love of a mother, value the virtue of a woman and revere goodness and wisdom; let him stand quiet by this grave.
Plans for 2019
- Set up a website.
- Negotiate a lease agreement with the Jewish Community for the space on the ground floor of the cemetery gatekeeper’s house.
- Establish an on-site museum in this space, containing exhibitions about the Jewish Cemetery in Währing.
- Continue the monthly volunteer days (dates: 10th March, 14th April, 12th May, 2nd June, 14th July, 4th August, 8th September, 6th October, 1st November).
- Increase the number of cemetery tours (already set: 10th March, 14th April, 12th May, 2nd June, 14th July, 4th August, 8th September, 6th October, 10th November and 8th December. Tours depart at 11am and 1pm).
- Apply for inclusion on the list of preferred donation organisations published by the Federal Finance Minister, so that donations will become tax deductible.
- Seek out and approve cultural sponsorships of individual gravestones, either in memory of a distant ancestor or as a demonstration of cultural responsibility.
- Collect donations towards restoration works on the Jewish Cemetery in Währing from both within the country and abroad.