Parliament commemorates November pogroms 70 years ago

Austrian Federal Chancellery (11/17/2008)

Parliament commemorates November pogroms 70 years ago

On 9 November 2008 the Austrian Parliament commemorated the November pogroms 70 years ago in a ceremony held at Palais Epstein. The events of the “Reichskristallnacht“ – the “Night of Broken Class” – on 9 November 1938 had marked the climax of a year of anti-Semitic riots. In her speech Speaker of Parliament Barbara Prammer vehemently called for an end of further debates about the abolishment of the “Prohibition Act”. “More than ever” this Act was to be considered a constitutional reaction to Austria’s role during the NS period, and as a clear no to the belittlement of the Nazi atrocities it was of a high symbolic value. “This should not and must not be called into question in Austria“, Prammer underlined.

In 1938 the hostility towards Jews in Austria had clearly exceeded that in Germany. “Even if many Austrians do not like to hear that“, Prammer stated in the presence of more than 100 guests, among them Israeli Ambassador to Austria, Dan Ashbel, Secretary of State Andreas Schieder and the Vice-President of the Constitutional Court, Brigitte Bierlein. Prammer emphasised that the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism would not be “dismantled“.

The President of the Jewish Religious Community (IKG), Ariel Muzicant, demanded that a “clear line“ had to be drawn from right-wing extremism. Muzicant thanked the “official Austria that young people could learn about the past in more than 1000 events commemorating the November pogroms throughout Austria.

In the early morning hours of 10 November 1938 in Austria alone 30 Jews were killed, 7,800 were arrested and 4,000 were immediately deported from Vienna to the Dachau concentration camp.