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300 Jewish Leaders Pay Tribute to Herzl, Jewish Victims of Nazism

Three hundred American and Canadian Jewish leaders of the 1978 Prime Minister’s Israel Bond Conference, on their way to Israel, stopped off here this week for two days of ceremonies to join with members of the Vienna Jewish community in paying tribute to the unique place in Jewish history of Theodor Herzl, the founder of political Zionism. The ceremony was the first in a series of events to mark the observance of Israel’s 30th anniversary. The Israel Bond delegation was led by Sam Rothberg, general chairman, and Michael Arnon, president and chief executive officer of the Bond Organization.

As part of their visit yesterday the Israel Bond leaders traveled by special train to Mauthausen for a memorial service to their brethren who died in this and other Nazi camps. In bitter cold weather and as the snow began falling the 300 Jewish leaders vowed that a major responsibility of every generation must be the teaching of the Holocaust to children so that the treacherous acts of the Nazis against six million Jews and others will never be repeated again.

“Today we saw with our own eyes the remains of the death apparatus Hitler set up for mass extermination,” Rothberg told the gathering at the concluding banquet in the presence of members of the European Jewish community and the Bonds group. “For our brothers and sisters who died at the camps there was no Israel.” Jacob Doron, the Israeli Ambassador in Austria, stated: “The horrible experience of the Jewish people in Europe during the Holocaust must serve as a lesson for our people everywhere–the teaching to children of what befell Jews and to do our utmost for Israel constitutes a principal responsibility of our generation.”

On Sunday, at the Theodor Herzl House, the Bond leaders placed a commemorative plaque in the front of the building. The tablet inscribed in Hebrew and German stated: “This tablet, commemorating Herzl’s unique place in Jewish history, was dedicated by members of the Prime Minister’s Conference of Israel Bonds in observance of the 30th anniversary of the independence of the State of Israel.” Alleck Resnick, general chairman of the Baltimore Israel Bond campaign, reminded the group that prior to 1938 the Theodor Herzl House served as the center of Jewish life in Vienna.

CALLS FOR END TO SILENCE

Sunday afternoon, the group participated in a special meeting with members of Vienna’s Jewish community at Vienna’s Central Synagogue, the Seitenstettengasse Temple. Rabbi Leon Kronish, national chairman of the Israel Bonds Rabbinic Cabinet, delivered the main address before the gathering, which included leaders of the Vienna Jewish community.

Kronish recalled some of the Nazi crimes against the Jews of Europe and declared that “Israel’s rebirth 30 years ago was the point counterpoint to the Holocaust.” He called upon “the governments and the peoples of Europe not to be silent as they were 40 years ago, but rather to speak out boldly for the inalienable rights of the Jewish people to live freely in their historic homeland–and to live peacefully with all its neighbors in a peaceful Middle East.”

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