Austrian political leadership commemorated the victims of Nazism in a solemn ceremony

On the occasion of the 79th anniversary of the liberation of the Mauthausen concentration camp, the Austrian National and Federal Council held their annual joint commemorative event against violence and racism in memory of the victims of Nazism.

The focus of the event in the Federal Assembly Hall, titled “The Diversity of Remembrance,” was on the challenges of remembrance in a time when no immediate eyewitnesses are available. This presents new challenges for educational work at memorial sites such as the Mauthausen concentration camp.

The speeches at the event were marked by remembrance of the terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, 2023. Austrian National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka emphasised the parliament’s solidarity with the State of Israel and reaffirmed the importance of applying “Never again!” to the present, lest remembrance become an empty ritual. Bundesrat President Margit Göll also criticised the “manifestations of antisemitism” at anti-Israeli demonstrations.

Antisemitism researcher Monika Schwarz-Friesel pointed out the “Israelisation” of antisemitism. According to her, the fusion of hatred towards Jews and Israel reactivates old antisemitic stereotypes under the guise of “criticism of Israel.”

In his opening remarks, Austrian National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka recalled the long history of hatred towards Jews and antisemitism, which culminated in the Holocaust. Already in the 1920s, sciences such as eugenics provided pseudoscientific legitimacy to the later atrocities of National Socialism. Today, there is a danger that, in the spirit of postmodernism, historical and social sciences make facts arbitrarily interpretable. An example of this is when Israel is denounced as a “post-colonial apartheid state” and denied its right to exist.

Sobotka stated that taking “Never again” seriously means showing unconditional solidarity with Israel in the face of the horrific events of October 7. Therefore, he was grateful to the parties and all members of the parliament for unanimously and unequivocally condemning the crimes of Hamas without any reservation. He expressed gratitude for the fact that this fundamental stance has been maintained.

You can read Austrian National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka full speech in the following link:https://eurojewcong.org/resources/austrian-national-council-president-wolfgang-sobotka-speech-at-the-austrian-parliament/

Antisemitism researcher Monika Schwarz-Friesel, a professor at the Technical University of Berlin, addressed the massacre of Jews in Israel by Hamas on October 7, 2023, and the subsequent reactions in her lecture. She noted an increasing “Israelisation” of antisemitism. October 7 showed the quintessence of Jew-hatred, the unconditional desire to extinguish Jewish existence, she emphasised. More than 1,200 people of all ages were tortured, mutilated, and burned by Hamas murderers, “with jubilant cries.”

But not only the massacre itself, but also what followed, was “monstrous” for Schwarz-Friesel. The reactions had dramatically shown that “parts of humanity have actually learned nothing from history.”

You can read antisemitism researcher Monika Schwarz-Friesel full speech in the following link: https://eurojewcong.org/resources/antisemitism-researcher-monika-schwarz-friesel-speech-at-the-austrian-parliament/

related

Subscribe to EJC newsletter

Get EJC's bi-weekly newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Statements

European Jewish Congress shocked by ICC prosecutor’s demand to arrest Israeli leaders

The European Jewish Congress is appalled by the decision of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to request arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant on alleged war crimes charges.