Most of the 1,200 Jewish refugees from Ukraine supported by the Jewish community of Vienna, Austria, have decided to remain in Austria, an official in the community told The Jerusalem Post.
"More than 900 Jewish refugees from Ukraine that currently live in Vienna," a spokesperson of the Jewish community said. According to the community, some of the Jewish refugees have moved on to other European cities or to Israel. There are also those who have moved back to Ukraine.
The aid that the Jewish community offers the refugees includes housing aid, psychosocial care, food vouchers, Shabbat meals and other forms of social welfare.
Refugee children attend Jewish community school
In addition, the Jewish community school (Zwi Perez Chajez School) welcomed around 50 children of Ukrainian refugees in special classes after their arrival. The community explained that "as of this upcoming school year, most of the students who have stayed in Vienna have transitioned to the status of regular students and are integrated into regular classes with their peers," meaning that they will no longer be receiving free tuition.
"This means that they will have to pay the fees for the school," the source said. "The kids receive need-based stipends funded through donations," the spokesperson said.
In addition, more than 250 refugees have become official members of the Vienna Jewish community, which consists of about 8,000 members.
"Many [of the refugees] are participating in community life," the spokesperson said, adding examples such as "taking part in the commemoration event in May at the former concentration camp of Mauthausen together with the youth of Vienna's Jewish community."
The Jewish community emphasized that even though the parents of the students at the Jewish school need to now pay tuition, they will be receiving substantial support.
"While this means that they have to pay the fees for the school, almost every child is receiving a need-based stipend," the community assured.
As of February 2023, a bit less than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees received aid in Austria.
The Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien (IKG), representing Vienna’s Jewish community, boasts a membership of approximately 8,000 individuals, though there are around 12,000 Jews living in the area. Historically, the IKG has served as the representative body for the majority of Austria’s Jewish population, with only a few other cities in the country having a large enough Jewish population to form their own communities. It is a democratic body that holds elections and hosts a number of political factions. After World War I, nearly 200,000 Jews lived in Vienna.