Van der Bellen on Requiem: “Bierlein will always be a role model for us”

The Federal President described Pearline as a “faithful servant of the Republic” and a very courageous woman. Taking over a government without a parliamentary majority in a politically heated situation days after the release of the “Ibiza video” was audacious. She was highly regarded by her government, van der Bellen recalled, insisting: “What she did, she did with heart and brain, with strength and calm, with expertise and empathy, with self-confidence and self-criticism.”

Speakers who followed her, such as Chancellor Karl Nehhammer (ÖVP) and President of the Constitutional Court (VfGH), Christoph Grabenwärder, recalled their commitment to equal rights and equal opportunities for women and girls. “Take chances, don’t say no,” Pearlin once replied when asked what he could learn from his biography, says van der Bellen. He believes Peerlein knew how he inspired others.

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A call for a “humanitarian pact”.

The large crowds that gathered in front of the trade show showed just how high Pearleen’s reputation was. Up to an hour before kick-off, hundreds of people took the opportunity to say goodbye to Pearlin and sign books of condolence as the coffin lay in St Stephen’s Cathedral.

“To talk about Brigitte Pearline is to talk about law, justice and the rule of law. He embodies these words in an excellent way,” said Cardinal Schonborn in a political sermon. He praised Bierlein’s “lifelong struggle for law and justice.”

This sense of justice served her well through impressive phases of her career. Schönborn also called for a “Covenant of Mankind”. “Clear positions, clear approach and clear language are compatible with an appreciation of other viewpoints,” Schonborn said.

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A request for Brigitte Pearlin

The funeral of Brigitte Bierlein, Austria’s first female chancellor, began with her coffin draped in an Austrian flag at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. As part of the state funeral, all heads of state attended the requiem led by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.

“Wrote History”

“Bearlein’s heart beats especially for equality and freedom of choice for women,” Nehhammer said in her speech. She was ready to take on the responsibility and thereby “make history”. He admired Bierlein’s impartiality with people: “He not only lived the conversation, but sought it.”

Grabenwarter also touched on Pearlin in his farewell speech. He was a communicator with courage, which was humility before his tasks and poise in the face of criticism and headwinds. Bierlein was persistent and disciplined and tenacious – and “she had style”. She had a strong sense of aesthetics, not just outwardly – a good sense of proper behavior.

Many politicians were among the mourners

Among the guests were Vice Chancellor Werner Kögler, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (both Greens), Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka (both ÖVP) and ÖVP Labor Minister Martin Kocher.

State governors including Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP, Lower Austria) and Michael Ludwig (SPÖ, Vienna) were also represented. Federal Presidents a. Among the mourners were D. Christian Kern (SPÖ) and Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP) as well as former federal president Heinz Fischer (SPÖ). Mass is accompanied by the Vienna Cathedral Orchestra and St. Stephen’s Choir.

Next to the coffin stood representatives of the institutions that shaped Bierlein’s life: including the High School in Gundmanngas, the Juridicum of the University of Vienna, the VFGH, the Federal Chancellery and the women’s initiative Let’s Empower Austria (LEA).

Honorable grave in Vienna Central Cemetery

After the Mass, the coffin was escorted from St. Stephen’s Cathedral to the Giant’s Gate and escorted to the Vienna Central Cemetery. Burial will be in the Honorable Cemetery there. There the funeral was conducted by the spiritual adviser of the former chancellor, Ober St. Veit’s priest, Father Stefan Reuffurth, will be officiating.

From the Constitutional Court to the Chancellor

Bierlein is considered a pioneer. She was not only the first head of government, but also the first woman to top the Constitutional Court of Vienna. He once described himself as having a “specific ambition”. He was also General Counsel in the Attorney General’s Procuratorate.

He was a member of the VfGH for about 16 years, vice-chairman for almost 15 years and chairman from February to June 2019. On 3 June 2019, after the government was dissolved as a result of the “Ibiza scandal”, he was appointed president and headed a cabinet of experts. On June 3rd, just before his 75th birthday, Pearlin suffered a short, severe illness.

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