Anti-Semitism pushing out Hungarian Jews, Vienna community says

(JTA) — Anti-Semitism in Hungary is causing an influx of Jewish immigrants to Austria, the head of Vienna’s Jewish community said.

“I am pleased people are coming, but the circumstances that force them to leave Hungary due to the political situation, due to anti-Semitism, don’t please me at all,” Oskar Deutsch, president of the Vienna Jewish community, is quoted as telling the Austrian Press Agency, APA.

Ariel Muzicant, Deutsch’s predecessor as leader of Austria’s Jewish community of approximately 8,000, told JTA that his community has begun offering assistance to Hungarian Jews wishing to leave, including language courses and help in finding employment, housing and Jewish education. The community is now assisting some 20 families that are either in Hungary and preparing to leave or newly arrived in Vienna. 

“We are a wealthy community and in a position to help, as we have always helped, our neighboring communities,” Muzicant said. 

Deutsch is quoted as saying that the Jewish community of Vienna is planning to bring more than 150 Jewish families a year from Hungary, which has a Jewish population of approximately 90,000. It is part of a larger plan by Deutsch to infuse the community with 5,000 new members over the coming few years.

“We believe, and statistics also show this, that unless new members join, our community will die out,” APA quoted Deutsch as saying in an article that appeared last week. 

Deutsch is quoted as saying that Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner and Vienna Mayor Michael Häupl have offered "every assistance" in facilitating the community’s immigration plan. 

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