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In Memoriam Dr. Maria Bruckmüller

A drawn portrait of Maria Bruckmüller by Lisl Spurny. Her face is angled towards the right hand side, her hair is brown, and she has a neutral expression. She is wearing a colourful scarf with green, yellow and red colours being the most prominent.

Dr. Maria Bruckmüller's obituary by Dr. Germain Weber, Honorary President of Lebenshilfe Austria.

Today, we sadly announce the recent death of Dr. Maria Bruckmüller, who passed away peacefully on 18 October 2023 in the retirement home of the Barmherzige Brüder Kritzendorf near Vienna at the age of 97.

Maria Bruckmüller worked with Lebenshilfe Austria for decades, where she was the first president from 1989 to 1996, and where she was subsequently appointed honorary president for life – but she also was, and did, so much more. She was a pioneer and visionary, as well as a tireless fighter for a fairer world for people with learning difficulties and intellectual disabilities in Austria, as well as throughout Europe.

In addition to all her work for the benefit of people with disabilities, Maria Bruckmüller also tirelessly cultivated other areas of interest and hobbies. Her recreational passions included her long-standing hobby of planning and leading demanding cultural tours for a renowned cultural travel agency, as well as her many years of work as an organist in the St. Johann-Nepomuk Chapel in Vienna’s 9th District.

Dr. Bruckmüller has been honoured by politicians and society for her diverse achievements with prizes or awards throughout her career, such as the Hans Asperger Prize of the Austrian Society for Curative Education (1988), the Lifetime Achievement Award of the EASPD (2008), the Golden Cross of Merit of the Republic of Hungary (Budapest) and the Golden Doctorate of the University of Vienna (2015).

With Maria Bruckmüller’s passing, Lebenshilfe and Austrian society have both lost a leading advocate for people with intellectual disabilities and learning difficulties and a prudent fighter for social justice, whether it be fighting injustices in Austria, Europe, or elsewhere in the world.

Maria's legacy is, among other things, her remarkable, positive influence on developments in the field of dignified accompaniment and promotion of people with intellectual disabilities and their place in society. We can be proud of the fact that Lebenshilfe has been one of her platforms for decades.

We will greatly miss her lively spirit and her never-ending commitment to a more just world.

Written by Dr. Germain Weber, Honorary President of Lebenshilfe Austria