After five years, the restoration of the Jewish cemetery in Baden, near Vienna, has been completed, and at a ceremony this week the cemetery was officially handed over to the local municipality, which will be responsible for its further maintenance.
The cemetery was established in 1873. Expanded several times, it includes the graves of local Jews as well as visitors to the town’s spa. It is owned by the Jewish comma iy of Vienna (IKG) and still used for occasional burials.
Starting in 2017, the extensive work included restoration of the walls, matzevot, and the cemetery caretaker’s house, the Fund for the Restoration of Jewish Cemeteries in Austria said in a statement.
It was also possible to save most of the historic avenue trees. Extensive replanting was carried out, returning to cemetery to its original appearance.
The Fund granted €1,160,000 to finance the work, with the province of Lower Austria contributing around €390,000.
The Fund said another project will be carried out in the coming months, involving students from the University of Applied Arts:
With the financial backing of the Federal Office for the Protection of Monuments, techniques will be tested to determine the extent to which the ornate wrought-iron grave surrounds can be sustainably restored and maintained.
The Fund for the Restoration of the Jewish Cemeteries in Austria (its web site states) was established in December 2010 in implementation of Austria’s international legal obligation set out in the “Washington Agreement” to restore and maintain known and unknown Jewish cemeteries in Austria. For this purpose, the Fund, established under the auspices of the National Council, is allocated an annual sum of one million Euros by the Federation over a period of twenty years; the Law also stipulates that the respective owners of the Jewish cemeteries contribute funds for the restoration work in the same amount.
Last year, the Fund published the bilingual (German and English) Visitors’ guide to the Jewish Cemeteries in Austria
The guide was produced jointly with the Jewish religious communities and grassroots initiatives and for the first time includes all known Jewish cemeteries as well as Jewish sections of cemeteries throughout Austria.
The guide is as handy as it is informative: using QR codes, information on over 60 Jewish cemeteries and completed restoration projects out can be accessed via the website of the Jewish Cemeteries Fund. FOGIS, the geo-information portal of the National Fund, also provides a chance to explore the cemeteries on interactive maps using GPS. In addition to the most important historical facts, information on visiting a cemetery, photos and maps, the guide also provides contact details for arranging guided tours.