The Jewish Telegraph Agency reported that in a $2.4 million restoration project, Austria is to renovate the site of the Mauthausen concentration camp.
The two-year project includes building a hall of names in memory of the camp’s victims, similar to the one at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and a new display about the Shoah and upgradings of the permanent exhibition.
A statement on the website of the Austrian Interior Ministry said:
“We are sending a signal that the republic is assuming its national and international responsibility to commemorate the victims of the Nazi regime,” Interior Minister Maria Fekter said in a statement. “We are also standing against intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism.”
At least 95,000 prisoners died in Mauthausen; more than 14,000 of whom were Jewish. About 200,000 people visit Mauthausen each year.
On Tuesday, the Austrian government volunteered to pay 20 million Euros â€“ that is $28.5 million for the restoration of the country’s oldest Jewish cemeteries.
“It was a matter of Austrian responsibility, of respect for history, for fellow Jewish citizens and for the cultural heritage of this country,” said Chancellor Werner Faymann. “Delaying the decision even further was unjustifiable.”
According to the deal, the Austrian government will annually channel 1 million Euros into an earmarked fund over the next two decades; and in addition the Jewish community will supplement the government’s pledge with an additional 20 million Euros, raised through donations and agreements with individual communities and districts.
The Jewish Community of Vienna called the funding deal a “belated Hanukkah gift” which sets an exemplary step for Europe.
The restorations are scheduled to begin next year on the country’s 70 Jewish cemeteries, 20 of which in particularly poor condition. Once the Jewish Community of Vienna can ensure that no religious laws were violated, it will compile a priority list and oversee the renovation.
Adolf Hitler annexed the Alpine nation in March 1938 in what became known as the “Anschluss.” An estimated 65,000 Austrian Jews perished in the Holocaust and many others fled.
Jewish history in Austria dates back to the Roman Empire, when Jews arrived there alongside the Roman legions.
Searching for the truth about Jewish History became a game of deceit and backstabbing last week in America. There are two schools of thought regarding the origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Many historians claim that they were written by a scribe from the ascetic Jewish sect the Essenes, of whom it is also claimed inhabited the Herodian fort at Masada.
While others, including professor Norman Golb of the University of Chicago, that in fact the scrolls were the collective work of a larger range of Jewish communities. A harmless, Lawrence Schiffman, a famous Jewish studies professor at New York University. With the phony account, Golb sent messages to NYU students and officials, in which Schiffman admitted to plagiarizing and misrepresenting Norman Golb’s work. Apparently Golb opened other email accounts under other aliases to send emails and post on various blogs, in order to “color the debate.”
According to Golb’s attorney, Ronald Kuby, Golb denies having sent the emails. He explains that they were merely an “intellectual prank”, and that:
An attempt to influence a public academic debate by emails and blog postings authored under assumed names cannot be an object of criminal laws designed to protect people from fraud, threats or physical harm.
The court has yet to rule on Kuby’s attempt to have the charges dismissed.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are dated at more than 2,000-years-old. They were found in the 1940’s, in British occupied Palestine, just before the founding of the State of Israel, by a young Bedouin. The scrolls were placed in clay jars and hidden in a cave in the Judean Desert, most likely around the time of Judea’s Revolt on Rome (66-70 c.e.) near the Dead Sea, hence the name of the scrolls. They are the oldest existing copy of Hebrew scripture, known in the world.