About Us

 



The Austrian-American Council of North America is a not-for-profit organization which fosters good will and better understanding between the people of Austria and the United States. It sponsors and co-sponsors many Austrian cultural events such as concerts, recitals and exhibits,  Austrian artists and the arts, and supports many humanitarian causes world-wide.

 

Board of Directors

 

Veronika Reinelt, President
Lilliana Popov-Alexander, Executive Vice-President
Fred R. Reinelt, Treasurer
Robert Morefield, Executive Secretary
Yvonne Jurmann, Director of Special Events
Winnie Reitnouer, Special Advisor
Dennis F. Fredricks Esq, Legal Advisor
 

 

Celebrating

30Years

of Austrian Culture and

Social Responsibility in

North America

 


A
Message from the President of the Austrian-American Councils of North America

 

It was thirty years ago that one of Austria’s most prominent citizens, Professor Fritz Molden, author, publisher, film maker and producer, lecturer and businessman, conceived the idea of combining the multitude of existing Austrian clubs, societies and other groups with Austrian heritage in the United States under one umbrella organization to strengthen them and give them an opportunity to create a larger forum in which to promote and share their deep-rooted values and provide opportunities on cultural, educational and humanitarian levels. Thus THE AUSTRIAN AMERICAN COUNCILS were born.

 

Prof. Molden, who at that time was the President of the “Auslands Oesterreicher Werk” in Vienna, first established 6 Regional Councils which very quickly expanded through all 50 states. Cheered on by the support and good wishes of former Austrian President Rudolf Kirchschlaeger, Foreign Minister Alois Mock, and every chancellor and president since then in Austria and the United States, with gentle guidance and strong encouragement from Austrian diplomats and the local American mayors and members of the US Congress, this grassroots organization, through the aggregate strength and diversity of its members, became a formidable tool throughout the land to provide help and support for many needed services to the community in which Austrian expatriates live—their new homeland. The Austrian-American Councils (AAC) became known as these “tireless volunteers with a big heart.” They provide a forum for cultural, academic and business exchanges on the local, state and federal level; countless artist and musicians found their first US performances sponsored by the Councils. ACC is active and provides support in villages, townships, large cities, at universities and business forums, and to hospitals and children’s playgrounds.

 

During national emergencies, the Austrian-American Councils have generously contributed to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the terrible storm which ravaged Louisiana, and also made a sizeable contribution to the victims of  September 11 th, 2001, after the despicable and cowardly terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. We provided funding for special humanitarian causes, saving the lives of many terminally ill children by working closely together with other organizations and bringing them to the United States for life-saving heart operations. From East to West, from North to South, the Councils have been able to make contributions to help build shelters for abused women and children, purchase a van to transport handicapped children, build an additional school building at an Arizona Indian Reservation, provide full- year scholarships for countless university students from Boston, Chicago, Houston, from Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri to New York and New Jersey, and provide funding for the Kidspace Children’s Museum in California.

 

AAC cosponsors a beautiful music festival in Rhode Island, and grand Austrian balls take place in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York and many other places. We have created parks and planted trees, and we were able to bring a tiny little bit of hope to a village in Bosnia after the horror of war by having a church bell made in Austria and bringing it on Christmas Eve to Gornje Dubica. The church was in ruins, most of the township was no longer standing, but the elderly people, living in subterranean holes where their houses once stood, came out and felt new hope for themselves and their country. The SOS Children’s Villages around the globe receive ongoing support from AAC members. We continue to reach out, on a people-to-people basis, by nurturing our transatlantic friendships through Sister Cities such as the one in Newberg, Oregon with Poysdorf, Austria, or Julian, California with Heiligenblut, Austria and Montclair, New Jersey with Graz, Austria and several others.

 

We are proud of our strong Austrian roots, our culture, and it is great that we are able to share it with our American communities. We have raised many millions of dollars to give to the neediest among us. The members of the Austrian-  American Councils are true “Austrian Ambassadors” in their communities throughout the US. Almost 15 years ago we established the first “Austrian-American Day” on September 26, 1997, and as President Clinton proclaimed: “Americans of Austrian descent have helped to nurture the strong ties between our nations; we recognize and celebrate the important contributions these Austrian-Americans have made to our Nation’s strength and prosperity.”

 

The Austrian-American Councils consist of Austrians from all the nine Bundeslaender in Austria and of Americans who love Austria and Austrians. As our logo indicates, we have a close working relationship with our Austrian colleagues in Canada and Mexico. Together we celebrate the 30th anniversary with joy, respect and the satisfaction of accomplishment from Daley Square in Chicago to St. Louis, Missouri, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. With today’s help of high technology we are able to work even closer together, networking, sharing ideas and our valued traditions for at least another 30 years.

 

- Juliana Belcsak, National Chairwoman

 


 

For 30 Years dedicated
 to Austrian Culture
 & Humanitarian
Causes worldwide


 

Message from the President of the Austrian-American Council West

 

The Austrian-American Council West comes together for fellowship, intellectual opportunities, enjoyment, and fundraising. Several levels of membership are offered, with corresponding privileges. The Council has organized and/or sponsored many artistic performances featuring excellent concert pianists, Austria's greatest living violinist and leading harpist, and receptions for orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, plus many other events by internationally acclaimed actors, sculptors, and entertainers from Austria, and gives young talents opportunities for exposure. We have organized recitals, operettas, exhibits, and lectures.

 

We enjoy both casual and formal gatherings, and appreciate the communications that keep us informed. Our Council was one of the major fundraisers for an Austrian cultural monument, the Chapel of Mariazell in the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. The Council also organizes responses to natural disasters and humanitarian causes wherever they might occur. In addition, patron opportunities are presented for outreach to children who are ill or have special needs. SOS Children’s Villages was founded in Austria following World War II,  to provide loving homes for orphaned children; there are now 456 villages in 133 countries. S.O.S. Children’s Villages -USA is the winner of the Council's 2011 Annual Award. Members and friends are encouraged to become patrons for the September events, at which time the Annual Award is presented. Past very grateful local recipients include Hollygrove Home for Children, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (now called ‘”Learning Ally”), Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, City of Hope, Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children, Kidspace Museum, and The Huntington Hospital.

 

A fabulously unique and elegant gala celebration on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Austrian-American Council is held on Saturday, September 17, at the Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles. Because the pearl is the symbol of a 30th anniversary, it was chosen as the theme, thus the name “Pearls and Presence”. The new annual "Extraordinary Service Award" to deserving members and a the tribute to late composer Walter Jurmann will be part of the program. Looking forward to greeting you at some of our upcoming events.

 

On behalf of the Board of Directors I send you all best wishes.

 

Veronika Reinelt, President


 


Proclamation 7027 - Austrian-American Day, 1997
September 25, 1997

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

For more than 200 years, the life of our Nation has been enriched and renewed by the many people who have come here from around the world, seeking a new life for themselves and their families. Austrian Americans have made their own unique and lasting contributions to America's strength and character, and they continue to play a vital role in the peace and prosperity we enjoy today.

As with so many other immigrants, the earliest Austrians came to America in search of religious freedom. Arriving in 1734, they settled in the colony of Georgia, growing and prospering with the passing of the years. One of these early Austrian settlers, Johann Adam Treutlen, was to become the first elected governor of the new State of Georgia.

In the two centuries that followed, millions of other Austrians made the same journey to our shores. From the political refugees of the 1848 revolutions in Austria to Jews fleeing the anti-Semitism of Hitler's Third Reich, Austrians brought with them to America a love of freedom, a strong work ethic, and a deep reverence for education. In every field of endeavor, Austrian Americans have made notable contributions to our culture and society. We have all been enriched by the lives and achievements of such individuals as Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter; Joel Elias Spingarn, who helped to found the NAACP; psychiatrist and educator Alexandra Adler; lyricist Frederick Loewe, who helped to transform American musical theater; and architects John Smithmeyer and Richard Neutra.

Americans of Austrian descent have also helped to nurture the strong ties of friendship between the United States and Austria, a friendship that has survived the upheaval of two World Wars and the subsequent division of Europe between the forces of East and West. On September 26, 1945, a conference was convened in Vienna among the nine Austrian Federal States that helped to unify the nation and paved the way for recognition by the United States and the Allied Forces of the first postwar Provisional Austrian Government. Setting the date for the first free national elections, this important meeting laid the foundation for the strong, prosperous, and independent Austria we know today.

In recognition of the significance of this date to the relationship between our Nation and the Federal Republic of Austria, and in gratitude for the many gifts that Austrian Americans bring to the life of our country, it is appropriate that we pause to celebrate Austrian-American Day.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 26, 1997, as Austrian-American Day. I encourage all Americans to recognize and celebrate the important contributions that millions of Americans of Austrian descent have made—and continue to make—to our Nation's strength and prosperity.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON

 


INTERESTED IN RECONNECTING TO YOUR AUSTRIAN ROOTS OR SUPPORTING THE AUSTRIAN-AMERICAN COUNCIL WEST’S WORK?

CALL AUSTRIAN-AMERICAN COUNCILS THROUGHOUT THE U.S.:

LOS ANGELES 818.507.5904
NEW YORK 973.731.1837
CHICAGO 312.685.1481