Edward Serotta honored by Austria

Austria bestowed a special honor on Edward Serotta, the American photographer and director of Centropa, a Vienna-based institute dedicated to preserving the memory of Jewish life in central and Eastern Europe.

At a ceremony Feb. 21 at the Austrian Parliament in Vienna, Parliament President Barbara Prammer presented Serotta, a native of Savannah, Ga., with the Grand Decoration of Honor for Services to the Republic of Austria.

Speakers at the ceremony included Vienna Chief Rabbi Chaim Eisenberg and U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who was in Vienna for meetings of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Established in 1997, Centropa — the Central Europe Center for Research and Documentation — has conducted interviews with hundreds of Jews from eastern and central Europe and uploaded them as a searchable database along with an archive of family photographs of the interviewees.

Centropa uses these materials for exhibitions, films and books and also as the basis of educational programs about Jewish life, culture and history. — jta