First Participant in the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service
The first participant of the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service (AHMS) started his work on September 1st 1992 at the Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Since then more than 400 Austrian Holocaust Memorial Servants have been working with major Holocaust memorial institutions in 23 countries worldwide. The intent of the AHMS is to recognize Austria's part of the collective responsibility for the Holocaust.
The Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service (AHMS) is an alternative to Austria's compulsory national military service / alternative service. Its participants serve at major Holocaust memorial institutions in 23 countries.
The AHMS was founded by Andreas Maislinger, a political scientist from Innsbruck ( Tirol, Austria) who adopted the idea from the German Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (Aktion Suehnezeichen/Friedensdienste). Maislinger himself had worked as a volunteer at the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum, where the idea of the program was born.
In 1991 the required legislation was enacted by the Austrian Government and Andreas Maislinger began organizing what became known as the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service, an independent, though largely government-funded foundation. The intent of the AHMS is to recognize Austria's part of the collective responsibility for the Holocaust and the responsibility of each one of us to ensure that it "never again" happens (quote from a speech by then Austrian chancellor Franz Vranitzky, Jerusalem, June 1993).
The Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service is a unique international network that provides assistance to Holocaust-related archives and museums. Since 1992 there have been sent about 400 AHMS interns, mostly in their 20s, either working to study and preserve Holocaust history in lieu of military service back home.
Austrian Service Abroad is the main body of the organization and authorized by the Austrian Government to send the interns to partner organizations worldwide.