Holocaust Studies Conference: “Labor and Extermination“

Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (06/27/2007)

Well-known researchers of National Socialism and the Holocaust invited as guests in Vienna for a conference held by the Vienna Chamber of Labor  and the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) from June 27 – 29.

From June 27 - 29, 2007 the Vienna Chamber of Labor (AK Wien) together with the soon-to-be Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) are organizing an international conference entitled “Work and Extermination.” The event is under the auspices of Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer and will be opened by Federal Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer. It will take place in close cooperation with the University of Vienna’s Institute for Contemporary History and the Jewish Community of Vienna (IKG) which is also responsible for concept and content.

Over the last few years public debate over the issue of NS forced labor was closely allied with the question of compensation for survivors consisting of some ten million people with foreign citizenship who were dragged into forced labor for the German Reich. In contrast, the conference strongly concentrates on the interconnection of economic exploitation and racist-motivated mass extermination during the National Socialist regime that was primarily directed at Jews, Sinti and Roman, Soviet war prisoners, but also partly at political enemies and groups of people stigmatized as being “asocial” and “criminal.” Special focus is on topics such as “extermination through labor,” extermination of people who were considered “unfit for work” and “unworthy of living,” “extermination as work,” and the hope of victims for “survival through work.”

Over a period of three days, twenty reputable experts from both within and outside of Austria will present and discuss latest insights gathered from research on the topic of National Socialism and the Holocaust, whereby a particular wish of the organizers is to reach the broadest audience possible. Simultaneous translation into German will be offered for lectures given in English.

The conference will be held in the training center of the Vienna Chamber of Labor located in Vienna’s 4th district in the Theresianumgasse 16 – 18, which housed one of the NS “aryanized” agencies in the Rotschild Palace.  A new brochure printed for the conference informs the Vienna Chamber of Labor that important sections of NS bureaucracy – namely logistics and organization – were housed in the building, from where much of the terror was carried out.

Those unable to attend the conference can go to website of the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute at: www.vwi.ac.at where the event will be carried live and individual contributions and discussions will be accessible by way of the video archive.