Secretary General Hannah Lessing on the Death of Moshe Hans Jahoda: “We Have Not Only Lost an Important Partner but Also a Dear Friend”

This obituary is taken from the Parlamentskorrespondenz Nr. 1109 vom 19.10.2016:

Professor Moshe Hans Jahoda passed away last night in Israel. Jahoda, who was born in Vienna in 1926, played a leading role in the negotiations leading up to the Washington Agreement as representative of the Claims Conference, Member of the Board of Trustees of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism and of the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria.

For Holocaust survivors originating from Austria, Moshe Hans Jahoda was an important source of support. For decades, he was a dedicated advocate for the victims of Nazism and in Austria he repeatedly called for them to be afforded the help that was due to them.  

“His life was forever shaped by political vigilance. Until the very last, Moshe Hans Jahoda continued to fight for justice. With Moshe Hans Jahoda’s death, a strong, chastising voice has fallen silent forever. “His death is a great loss for Austria,” commented the National Council President Doris Bures.  

In addition, Moshe Hans Jahoda was an important partner for the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism for over 20 years, and a key contact in Israel. “Thanks to his tireless work we managed to provide many survivors with the help and support that they desperately needed in their twilight years. We have not only lost an important partner but also a dear friend,” said the Secretary General of the National Fund, Hannah Lessing.

Hans Jahoda was born to Jewish parents in the 15th District of Vienna in 1926. In March 1938, at the age of twelve, he saw the “Anschluss” of his country to the German Reich and witnessed the Nazi mob burn down the Turner Temple during the November Pogrom of 1938. In 1939 he managed to flee alone with the Youth Aliyah to Palestine. His family was murdered in the Holocaust.

Moshe Hans Jahoda found a new homeland in Israel, for which he fought with unwavering energy – as a young man in the kibbutz, in the Workers’ Youth and in the Haganah. He fought in the War of Independence; later he held influential positions in Israel in the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Health Service and on foreign missions for the American Joint Distribution Committee and the Claims Conference. 

In his book “Hier, dort und andere Welten”, which was presented at the Austrian parliament in May 2013, Moshe Hans Jahoda recorded his memories in a compelling and very personal way. His childhood experiences had a lasting effect on Moshe Hans Jahoda. In his book he describes the November Pogrom as “that night in 1938, after which nothing was ever the same again”.

In recent years Moshe Hans Jahoda often visited Austria, where he tirelessly reminded us of the need to learn from history. On the Boards of Trustees of the Future Fund and the National Fund, he made a valuable contribution towards supporting the survivors and safeguarding the remembrance of the Holocaust. In November 2013 the then Federal President Heinz Fischer awarded Moshe Hans Jahoda the title of “Professor” for his services – a well-earned honor from the Republic of Austria.  

The President of the National Council and the Secretary General would like to offer their condolences to his wife Schula and his sons Ilan and Raz and to all friends and colleagues of the departed.