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2004 – 2014
Ten years rescuing a witness to history

 

 

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The damage to the defensive fortifications and the outside of the parish church could no longer be overlooked by the start of this century. And so it was that, in 2004, mine councilor Harold Umfer established the “Association for the Rescue of the St. Oswald Fortifications and Parish Church” . “After retiring as mine director with VOEST ALPINE Erzberg, I want to dedicate myself to rescuing this architectonic jewel”, he once promised former Erzberg parish priest, Alfred Nikolini. This promise was kept, as a program was drawn up to renovate St. Oswald church and its fortifications.

Step by step since 2004, roofs were restored, masonry dried out and shored up, non-original walls removed, rooms such as the St. John’s Chapel refurbished and refunctioned, surfaces plastered, while glass windows, statuary and old gravestones have also been restored.

During the 10 years of building activity, mine councilor Harold Umfer managed, through his untiring and judicious efforts, to bring in the 1.2M Euro in private donations, subsidies and public funds necessary to complete the project. In 2013, this church-castle was officially declared a “Styrian Landmark” (“Steirisches Wahrzeichen”).

 

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Owned by the Borough of Eisenerz, once the rescue of this historic building had been completed, the goals of the association shifted from “rescue” to “preservation”. For his dedication, mine councilor Umfer received an award of appreciation from the “Denkmal Steiermark” association, as he did the Diocesan Declaration of Honor from Bishop Dr. Egon Kapellari.

 

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In 2014, mine councilor Umfer handed over the reins as chairperson of the rechristened “Association for the Preservation of the St. Oswald Fortifications and Parish Church” to Gregor Ruckhofer.

 

Here is a brief retrospective in pictures