Halina Askanas emigrated from Poland in 1968, together with her husband Benedykt Askanas. Both were driven out of the country by the antisemitic campaign in Poland at that time. Halina started to work as a statistician, first at the Department for International Economic Comparisons at WIFO and, after 1973, at the newly founded Vienna Institute for Comparative Economic Studies (wiiw).
Statistics was a very different activity from what it is today. Halina had to painstakingly assemble data about the COMECON countries from newspaper articles and official speeches that were often rather murky and indirect. She recorded whatever she found on filing cards and slowly assembled time series from the bits and pieces of information she could find. We have come a long way since! Happy birthday Halina from the wiiw team!