Austrian Speaking Tour

     Dorit B. Whiteman was invited to speak and conduct a workshop in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Gedenkdienst [In the Service of Memory].  This organization was founded by young non-Jewish Austrians who wished to make amends for the misdeeds of the Austrian Hitler generation.  Although already three generations removed from the perpetrators and participants of Hitler�s Austria, they have dedicated themselves to serving in various Holocaust institutions, such as Yad Vashem, the Anna Frank House, Auschwitz, and the Leo Baeck Institute. They also acquaint the current Austrian generation with the dark past of Austrian Nazi history. In addition, they research the contributions of Jewish Austrians  to Austrian culture.  (For instance, on the lighter side, their research revealed that Johann Strauss had one Jewish grandparent, much to the chagrin of former Nazis and contrary to the sentimental view that only Aryan Austrians were able to write waltzes.) 

      In connection with interest generated by the anniversary celebration, Dorit Whiteman spoke at a press conference and delivered a speech in Vienna about the current state of mind of former refugees.  She was interviewed on Austrian radio and television. 

     The meetings, filled with mostly young and highly motivated participants, had discussions and coffee �mit Schlag� deep into the night.  The Gedenkdienst members� intense dedication, idealism, and earnest endeavors to help rectify a terrible wrong are inspirational.