A survey revealed that almost half of the respondents believe that another Holocaust could take place in a Western democracy.
“Austria bears shared responsibility for the Holocaust,” said President Van der Bellen. “Many Austrian citizens took part, and we bow our heads in memory of the victims in humility and respect. We admitted our shared responsibility too late and that caused problems in our relations at the beginning.”
Called Mishkan Shmuel (“The House of Samuel”), the house of prayer was presented with a Torah scroll more than a century old that survived the Holocaust in Romania, unlike the Jews who read from it and were murdered by the Nazis. The scroll was repaired with new parchment and brought to the new synagogue under a blue marriage canopy, as celebrants sang and played music, according to tradition.
According to an interview earlier this year with Tablet magazine, Loinger and his group gathered the children, many of whose parents had been murdered or sent to concentration camps, under the guise of a summer camp and played sports with them, teaching them to run and retrieve a ball. “I threw a ball 100 meters towards the Swiss border and told the children to run and get the ball,” explained Loinger. “They ran after the ball and this is how they crossed the border.”