Hannes Richter

Never Again!

Hannes Richter
Never Again!

Top Photo: Book presentation in the presence of deputy Federal Minister Sonja Stessl and Federal Minister Josef Ostermayer. Ernst Weingartner

 

The Austrian Future Fund Celebrates 10 Years

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria, a new book, Zukunftsfonds der Republik Österreich: Entstehung, Entwicklung und Bedeutung (Future Fund of the Republic of Austria: Formation, Development and Impact), describes the emergence of this important Austrian remembrance funding association and takes a retrospective view on the last years.

The book, authored by historans Günter Bischof, Barbara Stelz- Marx and Alexandra Kofler, gives an overview on more than 1370 supported projects: academic research, events, movies, publication, educational initiatives, exhibitions, commemoration and art projects. They contribute to commemorate victims of the Nazi regime, to raise awareness of the dangers of totalitarianism and to increase tolerance amongst each other, in the framework of “Never again!”.

The Future Fund (FFA) was established by the Republic of Austria through federal law in December 2005. Since then, the fund has been focusing on the remembrance of victims of the Nazi regime, the accounting for the past, as well as supporting tolerance, democracy and human rights. In the past ten years, the number of applications has been constantly rising, tripling since the fund was established. While the average funding amount was 27,000 euro in 2006, it decreased to 9,000 euro per project in the last few years, owing to the high number of applications. Around 346 publications, 218 academic research projects, 133 movies, 187 events, 108 exhibitions, 88 educational initiatives, 59 art projects, 43 commemoration projects and digital projects have been realized since then.

Adding the number of publications that were part of some projects, the total number of funded publications would reach 500, including biographies, records and source editions, as well as exhibition catalogues. The FFA was introduced to work with the amount of 20 million euro. The total funding sum between 2005 and 2014 amounts to 18.2 million euro. As the FFA is legally bound to spend 2 million a year, other great projects are expected until funds will be depleted in 2018. So far, the FFA granted around 8.3 million euro supporting young researchers, closing research gaps, and influencing Austrian academia to the better.

The book is the first of its kind to tell the story of the Austrian Future Fund. It shows important steps in its history, analyses its work and highlights its impact on science and society. Interviews with important contributors over time show the development of the fund. Graphics, examples and a complete catalogue of the projects give a great overview of the Future Fund’s sponsorship. The publication also shows how the Austrian Future Fund contributes to a revaluation of Austria’s history.

Stuart Eizenstat, former U.S. negotiator in restitution matters, highlighted the great change in people’s mindset in his speech at the Austrian parliament in 2011: ”no country has developed or was faster […] in recognizing its responsibility and reacting with concrete steps to live with its role during the second World War.” The Future Fund devoted itself to support those concrete steps and contributed a lot in changing the way how Austria deals with its past. The positive development of an open mind towards critical questions as well as democratic thinking was heavily influenced by the Future Fund.