The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/austria/press/bombings-1993

Date: Mon,  6 Dec 93 20:18 +0200
To: Ken McVay 

VIENNA, dec. 5 (AP) - Mayor Helmut Zilk, one of Austria's most
respected and outspoken supporters of minority and Jewish rights,
was seriously injured Sunday in the fifth letter bomb attack in
Austria in three days. Zilk was rushed into emergency surgery
shortly after the letter exploded at his home Sunday night. City
officials who went to the hospital said fingers on his left hand
would probably have to be amputated. But Zilk's life was not in
danger, said Hans Mayr, Vienna's deputy mayor.

Zilk's wife, Dagmar Koller, a well-known stage and television
actress before her marriage, was being treated at the same
hospital for shock, but was not injured, Mayr said. Government
and police officials have worried that the rash of letter bombs,
which began with two attacks on Friday, is linked to rising
anti-foreigner sentiment.

All the letters were the same size and thickness and bore the
same kind of postage stamp, Michael Sika, a senior police
official in Austria, told ORF2 television.

"From what we have seen there is a connection to the other letter
bombs," Mayr said. He urged "all people in public life to use
extra care in opening and looking at their mail." Vienna's city
council went into emergency session Sunday night to discuss the
attack. Austria's President Thomas Klestil, who visited Zilk at
the hospital, said he was "deeply dismayed and appalled" by the
letter bombing. Austria has been spared the kind of xenophobic
violence that has wracked neighboring Germany.

But anti-foreigner sentiment is fueled in part by the influx of
refugees from war-torn Yugoslavia, located just to the south. All
of the letter-bomb recipients have had some links to refugee
groups or minority issues. Zilk, a Social Democrat, was
instrumental in opening the city's first post-war Jewish museum
and has argued for understanding and moderation on such issues as
immigration, which have polarized Austria's body politic.

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