Vienna (Aug. 31)
About 2000 people took part in a rally today to mourn the death of Ulrike Kohut, 25, and Lotan Fried, 68, who were killed Saturday during a terrorist assault on the synagogue here. The rally was held in front of the Jewish community center in the inner city of Vienna where the synagogue is located.
Deputy Prime Minister Fred Sinowatz and several Ministers represented the Austrian government. The Mayor of Vienna, Leopold Gratz, opposition leaders, Israeli Ambassador Yissachar Ben-Yaacov, and Baron Alain de Rothschild took part in the mourning march through the city.
The Supreme Rabbi of Vienna, Akiba Eisenberg, criticized the Austrian government for not having properly expressed its sympathy for the victims, but he later withdrew his criticism. The letter of condolence sent by the government had been lost during the preparation of the rally.
Other letters of condolence came from Austrian President Rudolf Kirchschlaeger, from all Austrian party headquarters, from Arab Embassies in Vienna, and from religious leaders. Cardinal Franz Koenig of Vienna received a letter of condolence from Pope John Paul II and was told to pass it on to the Jewish community here.
Ben-Yaacov delivered an official note of protest at the Foreign Ministry today in which he referred to recent remarks of Chancellor Bruno Kreisky. Kreisky had said in a newspaper interview that the intransigent Israeli policy towards the Palestinians favored terrorism. Austrian Foreign Minister Willibald Pahr rejected the protest as an intrusion into internal affairs.
Kreisky was asked by Austrian television whether he though Israel was responsible for the attack. Kreisky answered: “No, I would not say it like that. I do not want to make the same generalizations as the Israeli press does. I, for my part, say only that the bad, unqualified treatment of Palestinians in Israel is one of the causes for these extreme actions.”
Asked why he had not immediately expressed his sympathy with the victims of the terrorist assault, Kreisky said that he had done so but that he also had to defend himself against attacks in Israeli newspapers which said he was responsible for the terrorist attack. Kreisky also said that he saw no reason to change his policy towards the PLO.