Linz, Austria, 26. June 2014
Upper Austria, could welcome the Angels of Peace from Russia on their Austrian Tour for reconciliation. Upper Austria from 1945 to 1955 was divided along the Danube into a Russian and American Zone. People living south of the Danube who wanted to marry in the Basilica of Pöstlingberg – the most famous sight of Linz – needed a special permission of the Russians, which contrary to the Americans were not welcomed by the people.
In one of the city’s district community centers “The Angels of Peace” performed a lovely program of songs and dances conveying various aspects of the rich culture of Russia and her different peoples. The charming appearance of the 14 young artists soon reached the hearts of audience of some 80 who joined in with clapping along familiar tunes.
Olga Vakulinsky, initiator of the Angels of Peace and President of the WFWP in Russia expressed her concerns about the wounds Russians and Austrians brought to each other during the two World Wars and conveyed her sincere desire for forgiveness and reconciliation from the part of the Russians.
Toward the end of the event was given place to respond to her desire by taking part in the Bridge of Peace Ceremony. In pairs 8 Russian and 8 Austrian mothers and 14 young people of both nations asked for forgiveness, voiced their commitment to peace, bowed down to each other entering the bridge and met (hugged) in the middle of the bridge. This ceremony and especially the physical embrace moved the hearts and created a remarkable bond and peacebuilding energy, not only for the
participants of the ceremony but to all present.
The program was concluded by an appreciative remark of Mrs. Mag.a. Marie-Edwige Harting from the Linz city council and flower presentations. Then the floor was open for gathering which especially the young people enjoyed very much sharing experiences and playing music together.