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A Support Group of Austrians

The Austrian support group in Vienna has met several times now. We work on positive and negative feelings about our heritage. Some positive feelings for us are about nature and the culture in Austria. We are also proud of our social system and that in Austria no atomic power station has ever been in operation. There have been personalities in Austria we value very much.

Difficult for us has been our past, especially the time of National Socialism. All of us were surprised at how much this time has been influencing our present lives, although we did not personally experience that era. I, for instance, discovered that I much prefer French or Hungarian folk music and folk dances to our own. It was also striking that all of us in the group like to travel abroad and that we are very interested in other people and their cultures. I imagine that many people in Austria have these feelings.

One of the reasons that many of us may find it difficult or feel it is not important to come to our support group is our common patterns. Often the feeling of powerlessness comes up.

We started work with the draft commitment for people of German-speaking heritage, and we spent a lot of discharge time on the first two sentences: "I am Austrian-a German-speaking human. I am inherently fully human in every way."

It seems difficult for Austrians to speak about our past. It seems particularly difficult for people who lived at the time of National Socialism, because they have often had the experience of being heavily attacked. I think the wording of the commitment for German-speaking people is therefore very suitable-that we denounce every wrong that was done or participated in by German-speaking people during the Nazi period but that we don't denounce the people.

Lately I've read books about this topic. I've also started to talk to friends and peers about it and have had good experiences doing it.

Vienna, Austria
reprinted from the newsletter for German-Speaking RC

(Present Time No. 110, January 1998)

Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00