“During WWII my mother smuggled food and drink to a Jewish couple daily,” Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern revealed yesterday (Sunday) while visiting Israel.
He recounted this to Israel President Reuven Rivlin and added: “It started when my grandmother was a maid in the home of a Jewish family in Vienna. When the Nazis came into power the family was forced to go into hiding and my mother who was 11 at the time would bring food and drink to them daily. This continued until she came to the hideout one day only to find Gestapo agents who shooed her away from there. She never saw the Jewish couple again.”
The chancellor stressed that his mother repeated this story to them often. “I retell this again today since in our times the direct line of memory is broken and the witnesses of this era are diminishing and dying.”
The Chancellor also related that when he was head of the Austrian railway system he helped encourage the official recognition of the infamous role the railway had in giving logistic support to the Nazis during WWII. “It is our responsibility to intensify our efforts to make sure the memories stay alive. We do this not just to honor the memory of the victims but I am convinced that we must do this for ourselves and the future generations.”