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Small golden stones on paths remind us of the people who became victims of the Nazi regime.

On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the founding of SI Austria, four “stumbling stones” were laid for the first displaced and murdered Soroptimists at the last address of the Club in Vienna. More than two thirds of the 55 club members with a Jewish background had to flee. One of them is among the victims of the Holocaust: At the age of 69 Rose Silberer was murdered at the concentration camp in Theresienstadt on 23rd September 1941.

 

How can one commemorate a group of women one never met? One very gracious way is to lay “stumbling stones”. This was the reasoning behind the suggestion to Union President Marcella Sigmund-Graff that the Union together with the Club Vienna I lay “Stones of Remembrance” to honour the memory of these first Soroptimists.

 

In cooperation with the “Stones of Remembrance” organisation in Vienna, the laying of our four “stumbling stones” took place on 19th September 2019. Union President Marcella opened the event with a short speech. President of Club Vienna I 2017-2019, Katharina Fritze, spoke about the last Club President in 1938, Wilhelmine Löwenstein-Brill (the Club was re-established after the war). The Austrian author ended her speech with remarks about and with thoughts by Rose Silberer. Dorly Kapeller provided the musical accompaniment to the ceremony with her saxophone.

 

President of SI Israel Dalia Weiler and Union President elect Daniela Stern attended the moving ceremony. They came all the way from Israel to participate in this special commemoration.

 

It was a particularly touching and unifying moment when, to commemorate our founding members, Dalia and Daniela sang in Hebrew the song, “Eili, Eili“ written by the Hungarian Jewish resistance fighter Hannah Szenes, in the presence of Austrian Soroptimists from Vienna, Graz, Linz and Klosterneuburg. With this gesture a very special honour was bestowed on our Soroptimists.

 

We would like to sincerely thank Dalia and Daniela for attending our ceremony and showing their appreciation.

 

On behalf of SI Union Austria

 

© Karin Haas-Trummer, Graz – Austria – karin.haas-trummer@gmx.at

Photos: Daliah Hindler 2019 and Marcella Sigmund-Graff 2019

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