ROME (Aug. 20)
The Anti-Defamation League has opened an office in Vienna — its first in Europe — to serve as a base for fighting anti-Semitism, prejudice and bigotry in Central and Eastern Europe. “We put up the mezuzah,” said the Anti-Defamation’s national director, Abraham Foxman.
Foxman said the two-person staff will carry out traditional ADL operations, including media monitoring, security training for Jewish organizations and victim advocacy.^..TX.-“Vienna traditionally has been a window on the region,” he said. “From here, we can reach out.”
He said the office will be underwritten by the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation for the first three years of its operation.
He added that the Austrian government was eager to have the office as part of its efforts to fight anti-Semitism and racism.
The government’s support for the ADL reflects its concern over the rise in Austria of the anti-immigrant Freedom Party, which is one of the strongest far-right parties in Europe.
Austrian government officials, diplomatic representatives and a high-level ADL delegation attended Wednesday’s opening ceremony, during which an Austrian Justice Ministry official gave a speech stressing the need to fight prejudice.
Ronald Lauder, explaining his commitment to the ADL office, said in a statement, “We look forward to strengthening the ADL’s ability to serve the newly revitalized Jewish communities of Eastern and Central Europe.”
Through the foundation that bears his name, Lauder has sought to help revitalize Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe through the establishment of schools and a broad range of communal programs.
The opening of the ADL office in Vienna marks a further expansion of American Jewish organizational efforts in Europe.
Last month, the American Jewish Committee opened an office in Berlin.