I had just arrived in Vienna and was looking for an apartment to rent on the internet. I viewed a few apartments but did not like any of them. Finally, I found the one and only that was meant for me and I fell in love with it at once. I chatted with the then current owner who was cutting his lease short and so had to find a new tenant. He told me some information about the apartment and everything that I needed to know.
Do you like Jews?
As we were winding up, he asked me a question I found strange. He asked “What do you think of Jews?” I did not pay attention and just talked about the apartment. He let me talk and as I was saying bye, he asked again: “What do you think of Jews?”. (I had taken it that he meant Jews as a religious group and not a nationality).
I got a call the following day from the estate agent who manages the apartment and said I had got it and asked me to go over to his office. I went over and we discussed all the details, etc. As I was leaving, the estate agent asked me “What do you think of Jews?” This was an interesting question, again, and I asked if he was serious. He assured me that he was, because one of the criteria for being a tenant was that they should accept Jews and not want to harm them. He further said the apartment is owned by the Israeli Government and they want ‘friendly’ people in their property.
I gave him the same response I had given the first guy who had asked which was “I think of Jews the way I think of Christians, Muslisms and other religions. I mind my own business and I expect them to mind their own business” He was happy with the answer and confirmed that I could have the apartment. I thought “that was easy.”
Police on duty at my apartment building
I moved into the apartment a couple of weeks later and I like the apartment and area it is in. I went grocery shopping the first Saturday morning and found two policemen at the main door and there was a lot of activity. I got a bit worried and asked the policemen what was going. They said nothing was going on. I found them again on Friday evening, but this time I did not ask them. It was only later I learnt that the police were there to protect the Jews who came to the synagogue (they have space on one of the floors) on Fridays and Saturdays.
Jews were taken to Auschwitz from my building
A friend brought to my attention the memorial plaque outside my apartment building showing Jews that taken from the building to Auschwitz and Latvia. I know from history that Jews had a dark period during WWII, but it was distant to me and so to see the plaque and live in an apartment where someone may have been taken to Auschwitz really brought it home to me. I wrote a post earlier about the the memorial plaque here: https://zambianlady.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/13/
Having this new piece of information made me say to myself “No wonder the landlord wants me to accept Jews!”