The President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, and his wife Margit Fischer, recently visited Yad Vashem. He was be accompanied by President Shimon Peres and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev.
The President led a large delegation including Austrian Foreign Minister Dr. Michael Spindelegger, Defense Minister Mag. Norberg Darabos, and Minister of Education, Art and Culture, Dr. Claudia Schmeid. The Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Vienna Rabbi Paul Chaim Eisenberg recited El Maleh Rahamim, a prayer for the souls of the Jews killed in the Holocaust, during the Memorial Ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance. At the conclusion of the visit, the President greeted Austrian students volunteering in Israel.
Upon exiting the Children's Memorial, President Fischer inscribed in the Visitors' Book:
On behalf of the Republic of Austria, I have come today to Yad Vashem, the eternal place for remembering the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. They must never be forgotten. From here, we take the message, that we have to work for the education of the young generation towards human rights, human dignity and mutual respect. In this spirit we have also to encourage all human beings to stand up against racism and antisemitism in any form.