April 4-9, 2013: Austrian delegation headed by Margot Klestil-Löffler - Austrian Ambassador to the Russian Federation visited the city of Taganrog. The goal of the Ambassador's visit was to establish close cooperation with the Russian side in search for information on former Austrian prisoners of war (WWII) and their graves in Taganrog.
Among delegation members was Mr. Herbert Zachl
, member of the German Chekhov Society (Deutsche Tschechow-Gesellschaft) from the Austrian town of Wartberg an der Krems. Herbert Zachl's father, Alois Zachl, died in the Taganrog-based camp of prisoners of war in 1945. In the first stage of his long research he was assisted by Professor Dr. Stefan Karner, Head of Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research on War Consequences and co-chairman of the Austrian-Russian Commission of Historians who also came to visit the city.
The visit was covered by ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk) - Austrian national public service broadcaster. The Austrian journalist Dr. Markus Müller-Schinwald and his crew will be releasing a special report on the visit to Taganrog and on destinies of Herbert Zachl's father and Michael Schuckert - former prisoner of a WWII work camp, which used to be in the territory of the former combine-harvester factory.
The fact of how Taganrogers showed their understanding and support to the son of the former war prisoner and helped him in the research in the archives gave a boost to extensive cultural cooperation and exchanges between Taganrog and Wartberg an der Krems.
"We would like to thank Taganrogers for their friendly attitude. This is a unique case when a city is trying to help in research work on a single person. We know that a lot of our citizens were in the Taganrog-based war prisoners camp. Many relatives of these persons still try to find information. With the help of the Russian side we would be able to clarify many facts." said Ambassador Klestil-Löffler.
Mayor Prasolov confirmed that Taganrog Municipality is ready for cooperation: "Taganrog has always been an international city where people of all nations and religions are respected. If our archives have the documents that you need, we would be ready to provide them".
After the meeting with the Mayor, Austrian delegation went on a city tour, visiting Taganrog Museum of Art, Taganrog Drama Theater, Chekhov Memorial Birth House, Literary Museum "Chekhov Gymnasium" and a concert given by municipal choir "LIK" at Alferaki Palace.
The whole delegation participated in the Catholic service which was held at the Old Cemetery for Alois Zachl and at the Orthodox service held in front of the Eternal flame monument in the Taganrog's Gorky Park.