NEW YORK – World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder hosted Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern for a special reception at his Neue Galerie on Tuesday evening, and called him “a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people.”
Lauder specifically thanked Kern for spearheading an exhibition during his former tenure at Austria’s Railway company, ÖBB, addressing its role in Nazi operations during World War II. “It was a very controversial show and it showed real courage,” Lauder said. Kern was awarded the ‘Marietta and Friedrich Torberg Medal’ in 2013 for this initiative by the Vienna Israelite Community.
The Austrian chancellor told Lauder, before the more than 90 guests gathered at the Neue Galerie, “I honestly and deeply admire what you have achieved in your life and more than appreciate your contribution to Jewish life in Austria.”
On Wednesday, representatives of the U.S. and Belorussian governments will gather at the World Jewish Congress headquarters in Manhattan at 1 P.M. to sign an agreement to preserve burial places, places of worship, memorials, historic sites, and archival material in the former Soviet state, with a focus on those who were victims of the Nazi genocide. The agreement will be signed by Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makai and U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad Chair Lesley Weiss.
The World Jewish Congress has met with dozens of world leaders visiting New York for the 71st United Nations General Assembly, including Polish President Andrzej Duda, Norwegian State Secretary Tone Skogen, Argentina President Mauricio Macri, Egyptian President Abdelfattah el-Sissi, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, Croatia Minister of Foreign Affairs Miro Kovač, Polish President Andzej Duda, Monaco Minister of State Serge Telle, Georgian Foreign MinisterMikheil Janelidze, Senegal President Macky Small, Czech Minister of Foreign AffairsLubomír Zaorálek, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, Malta Prime MinisterJoseph Muscat, and Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev and Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov.
The WJC has close to 40 meetings scheduled with presidents, prime ministers, and foreign ministers over the course of this week.