Austria: Peace Road 2017
by Maria Pammer, UPF Austria
UPF Upper Austria, in cooperation with 3 communities and their mayors, took part in the worldwide Peace Road project with a cycling tour from the Peace Monument in St. Ulrich http://www.st-ulrich.at/, through the Enns valley, passing through Ternberg http://www.ternberg.at/, and ending at the Peace Bridge in front of the Forestry Museum in Reichraming http://www.reichraming.at/.
The cycling tour for peace began at 10am in front of the St. Ulrich Peace Monument. The late mayor, Thaddäus Steinmaier, had made St. Ulrich the first peace community worldwide in 1982. The current mayor, who also cycled the 30km to Reichraming with 12 local members of her community, presented Mrs. Pammer with an original St. Ulrich peace dove in recognition of the peace initiative and Mrs. Pammer presented her in turn with a UPF Peace Ambassador award.
At the stopover in Ternberg, the peace cyclists were received from the town’s mayor in the parish barrack. This was previously a Mauthausen concentration camp barrack (1942-1944), which accommodated nearly 400 prisoners that worked for the construction of the Enns Power Station. The mayor then provided the guests with water and bread, in commemoration of the memorial site. At 1pm the peace activists – 40 in total, 25 of which joined the cycling – met on the Peace Bridge in Reichraming.
The welcoming message was given by a local Councillor of Reichraming, who also helps to oversee the Forestry Museum. Mrs. Pammer gave a short report about the Peace Bridge’s origins eight years ago, where young people from Israel and Palestine carried out the symbolic construction work together. She also shared about the first Peace Road project in 2013, which took place on the DMZ between North and South Korea. The Reichraming mayor’s representative gave a very inspiring talk about the different aspects of peace, beginning with the peace in one’s self. She then invited the participants to write their thoughts on peace on the small colorful cards which ordained the bridge.
At the end, the participants regained their strength through a hearty, locally prepared buffet. Contacts were made and plans were forged for the next year.