Federal Chancellor Faymann: “Never forget, never remain silent!“

Austrian Federal Chancellery (02/01/2010)

To mark the International Holocaust Rememberance Day and the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland, leading Austrian politicians condemned the horrible crimes of the NS regime and called for vigilance against anti-Semitism and racism. “The terrible crimes against humanity, which were committed by the murderous regime of the Third Reich based on an inhumane ideology, must never be forgotten”, emphasised Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann in a press release.

On the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration and annihilation camp Auschwitz, the world commemorated the 6 million Jews, among them 1.5 million children. Especially in times of economic crisis in which hopes were deceived by making false promises, it was crucial to react vehemently to demagogues and Holocaust deniers and to call on young people to engage in democratic vigilance. It was indispensable to fight against the first signs of reemerging Nazism and to protect democracy using all possible means available to a state governed by the rule of law, said Faymann.

Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger underlined that today Auschwitz was a worldwide “symbol of the National Socialist genocide“ and the “negation of human dignity”. Spindelegger urged to be highly vigilant against new forms of anti-Semitism. Austria was aware of its responsibility for the victims and survivors of the Shoah, stated Spindelegger in a press release.

At the official commemorations at the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where more than 1.1 million people had been killed, Austria was represented by Speaker of Parliament Barbara Prammer, who paid a three-day working visit to Poland. We do not only owe the preservation of the memorial site to the victims but also to future generations as we have “to counteract worrying developments that can already be observed at present“. It was “indispensable” that Austria made a financial contribution to the memorial site, said Prammer after a visit to the Austrian exhibition at the museum of the former concentration camp.

Her talks in Poland had shown that Austria’s activities of the past, including the establishment of the National Fund and the General Settlement Fund, had been clearly recognised. The redesign of the Austrian pavilion, which has already been approved, was just another step, stated Prammer. But many other steps were still necessary to raise awareness, especially among young people, that the Holocaust and its emergence would always remain a topical issue, said Prammer.