Farewell to Brigitte Bierlein: A Role Model for Generations

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: June 16, 2024; 23:42 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austria has bid farewell to Brigitte Bierlein, the country's first female chancellor, who passed away at the beginning of June. The funeral services began with a solemn requiem in St. Stephen's Cathedral and ended with the burial at Vienna's Central Cemetery. Bierlein was not only honored as an outstanding lawyer and politician, but also as a courageous and far-sighted woman who was always ready to take on responsibility.

Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen paid tribute to Bierlein in his speech: "She will always remain a role model for all of us." / Picture: © Österreichische Präsidentschaftskanzlei / Peter Lechner/HBF

The requiem began at 11 a.m. and was presided over by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. In his address, Schönborn emphasized that Bierlein had always understood her duties as serving the law and justice. He emphasized that clear positions and clear language were compatible with an appreciation of other points of view and praised Bierlein's lifelong commitment to these values.

Highest recognition from the head of state

Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen praised Bierlein as a "loyal servant of the Republic" and emphasized her role as a courageous woman who had led the country to a new election in a politically heated time following the Ibiza scandal. Van der Bellen recalled that Bierlein had enjoyed a high reputation not only for her competence, but also for her empathy and composure. "She will always remain a role model for many women and girls and for all of us," said the Federal President.

Impressive political career

Brigitte Bierlein had an extraordinary career, which took her from the first female Advocate General in the Procurator General's Office at the Supreme Court to the first female President of the Constitutional Court and finally to the first female Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria. Her successor as President of the Constitutional Court, Christoph Grabenwarter, described her as an "outstanding lawyer" and "connector" who had shown courage, discipline and perseverance.

Prominent mourners

The requiem was attended by almost all of the country's leaders. In addition to Federal President Van der Bellen, Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP), Constitutional Court President Christoph Grabenwarter and former Federal Presidents and Federal Chancellors, including Heinz Fischer (SPÖ), Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP) and Christian Kern (SPÖ), attended the funeral service.

Other high-ranking guests included National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP), Vienna's Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) and Lower Austria's Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP). FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl was also present. The federal government was also widely represented, including Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (both Greens), Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) and Labor Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP).

A lasting legacy

Hundreds of people took the opportunity to bid Bierlein farewell at her coffin in St. Stephen's Cathedral. In addition to the entire head of state, the mourners included former federal presidents and chancellors as well as prominent representatives from the judiciary and politics. Musical accompaniment was provided by the Vienna Cathedral Orchestra together with the St. Stephen's Vocal Ensemble.

Brigitte Bierlein will be remembered as a pioneer who not only set legal milestones, but also impressed with her human and professional attitude. Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer described her as a "great Austrian" who made history with elegance and determination. Her commitment to equal rights and equal opportunities is seen as an essential part of her legacy.

The life of an extraordinary woman came to an end with her burial in a grave of honor at Vienna's Central Cemetery. Brigitte Bierlein leaves behind a legacy that will shine far beyond her time in office and will continue to inspire future generations.

Austrian Federal Chancellory

Presidential Chancellory