Spindelegger: It is Imperative Not Only to Commemorate But Also to Take Action

Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (05/04/2010)

Austrian Foreign Minister on Memorial Day against Violence and Racism

“The commemoration of the Nazi genocide and the commitment to a tolerant and humane society are both tasks that cannot be done justice with words alone: They also require action,” stated Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, commenting on the Memorial Day against Violence and Racism on May 5. Introduced in 1997 by a resolution of the Austrian Parliament, the Memorial Day commemorates the victims of the Nazi regime on the anniversary of the liberation of the Mauthausen concentration camp.

“Austria has undertaken numerous activities to commemorate the victims of the Nazi regime and intensify education as well as the provision of information on the history of the Holocaust,” continued Spindelegger. The most recent examples cited by the Minister include the renovation of Jewish cemeteries in Austria, the provision of a substantial contribution to the refurbishment of the Auschwitz Memorial, as well as the re-design of its exhibition documenting the fate of Austrians detained and/or killed there.

The Foreign Minister also referred to the Salzburg Seminar Conference to be held in June, which is co-financed by the Austrian Future Fund. It will illuminate the contribution of educational measures aimed at the dissemination of knowledge on the Holocaust in order to avoid genocide and crimes against humanity in the future. “By observing the Memorial Day, we pay tribute to all those who were forced to experience and suffer the agonies of the Nazi regime in the form of persecution or detention, including those who are today committed to the fight against violence and racism. We must learn from the past in order to effectively counter today’s violence, racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia,” concluded Spindelegger.