Spindelegger: „Yad Vashem poses obligation to fight resolutely against anti-Semitism, hatred and prejudices“

Vice chancellor Spindelegger expresses his thanks to Austrian Friends of Yad Vashem for their commitment.

Vienna, March 12, 2012 – “Every well – intentioned person who, like me, visited Yad Vashem, understands that fighting anti-Semitism, hatred and prejudice is imperative. This is consistent with the essential message of Yad Vashem, and I may use this occasion to thank all of you, who foster and advance the mission of Yad Vashem in Austria.”

Vice chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger directed these clear words at the General Assembly of the Austrian Friends of Yad Vashem on March 12,, which marks the 74th anniversary of the rise to power  of the National Socialists in Austria. Yad Vashem is Israel’s national memorial site for the remembrance of the persecution and assassination of six million Jews during the Holocaust.

The vice chancellor alluded to amoving personal experience of a visit at Yad Vashem on February 17, 2010, which has made a lasting impression on him. During that visit, Mr Spindelegger had put down a wreath in the hall of commemoration, honoring the victims. He had been joined by Holocaust survivors, Austrian memorial servants and a group of the Austrian friends of Yad Vashem.

Spindelegger expressed his appreciation for the achievements of the Austrian Friends of Yad Vashem. He emphasized that the catastrophe of National Socialism and the Holocaust are part of Austrian history and identity. The vice chancellor stressed that  the resulting responsibility not only requires the passing on  of historical facts, but also the creation and safeguarding of corresponding values, which counteract anti-Semitism and xenophobic resentment and create an awareness for constructive intercultural dialogue and tolerance.

Furthermore, the vice chancellor pointed to numerous activities, which are continually being implemented by public bodies as well as by civil society in Austria. This includes comprehensive Holocaust education, Austria’s involvement in the International Holocaust Task Force, the work of Austrian memorial servants in Israel, the cultivation of contacts between educational institutions in Austria and Israel, the safeguarding of the good bilateral relationship between Austria and Israel and their peoples as well as a dedicated participation of Austria in intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

In his closing remarks the vice chancellor called for joining and supporting the work of the Austrian Friends of Yad Vashem.

Source: Austrian Foreign Ministry