Thanks for the support
We are very grateful to our cooperation partner the Wiener Symphoniker. The Austrian Mauthausen Committee as the organiser had the invaluable support of a number of organisations, including the Verein GEDENKDIENST, the Austrian Jewish Community, the Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance, as well as the active help of the City of Vienna’s marketing department, the City of Vienna and the Office of the Austrian Chancellor who have helped made the Festival of Joy possible. The support of the Federal Government and the Viennese City Government was also vital in making this possible.
The Verein GEDENKDIENST is an independent NGO, not linked to any religion or political party and run in the main by volunteers. As historically and politically engaged people, the members of the organisation are convinced that there is an individual and societal responsibility to critically examine history and the current political and societal developments. The aim of the Verein GEDENKDIENST is therefore to offer socio-political educational work, to commemorate the victims of the National Socialist politics of persecution and annihilation, and present the Nazi past and its context and continuities in Austrian society and politics critically and – when necessary – to challenge them. As a nationally accredited sending organisation, the Verein has sent young people to memorial sites, research centres and educational organisations that address topics relating to the Holocaust and National Socialism, as well as support and care centres for victims of National Socialist persecution.
The Austrian Jewish Community is the official representative body of the Jewish community, formally founded in 1852 after the revolution in 1848. Before the Shoah the community reached its highest number of members with 185,000. Around 66,000 were murdered by the National Socialists and the rest were forced to emigrate. Very few Jews were able to survive in mixed marriages or hidden. Today the IKG has around 8,000 members. The organisation not only acts in the religious interests of the community, but also sees itself as a political representative of all members, irrespective of religious observance or social background. A particular emphasis is the fight against all forms of anti-Semitism together with civic society and political organisations. The infrastructure of the IKG is further rounded by educational facilities such as the Zwi-Perez-Chajes school and the Jewish vocational training centre, the Jewish old person’s home (Maimonides Centre) and Esra, the psychosocial service. The community’s members directly elect the 24-person board that selects the Presidium.
The Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance (DÖW) was founded in 1963 by former resistance fighters and engaged academics. Since 1983, the DÖW has been a foundation that is supported by the Republic of Austria, the City of Vienna and the Verein Dokumentationsarchiv.
The 8th May represents a threshold in the history of Europe and is therefore important to properly commemorate the victory of the Allies over Nazi barbarism as a day of joy. This day is without doubt a day of liberation for Austria. It is also a day on which to reflect on the causes of a war that raged not only through Europe and cost millions of people their lives. The willingness of people to follow such a regime of terror should also be considered, as well as all those who carried out acts of resistance and, in doing so, contributed to the liberation of Austria.
I would like to thank all of those who have worked to ensure that we can celebrate this day.
The Festival of Joy in Vienna is a celebration of the end of National Socialism following liberation by the Allies in 1945. The day is also an important day of remembrance to all the people who fell victim to the regime of terror and all those who undertook resistance, proving that violence and oppression must not be accepted or tolerated. In doing so, we also consider the importance of solidarity and aid for people who are persecuted and whose lives are in danger through war and terror. The freedoms won – and which we continue to enjoy – should be at the forefront of the celebrations.
Dr Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, Vienna City Councillor for Culture, Science and Sport
For their generous financial support, the Austrian Mauthausen Committee would like to thank:
ORF III "Kultur und Information" will broadcast the Fest der Freude live on TV
For the second time, ORF III presents the television broadcast of the international “Fest der Freude” (“Festival of Joy”) on Sunday, May 8th. The memorial concert, as well as the precedent opening ceremony, will be covered live - starting at 7.40 pm - from Vienna's historic Heldenplatz. The broadcast is accompanied by documentaries and talks with NS-witnesses (3.25 pm) and exclusive interviews from the concert site (6.25 pm).
Starting on Saturday, May 7th, the new ORF-III-trilogy “Mauthausen vor der Tür” recalls the “forgotten” subcamps of the concentration camp. While part one covers “Zwangsarbeit für Rüstung und Industrie” (“Forced Labour for Armament and Industry”, 8.15 pm), part two focusses on “Wiens vergessene Konzentrationslager” (“Vienna’s Forgotten Concentration Camps”, 9 pm). The third part - scheduled for winter 2016 - is going to examine “Das Schicksal der Frauen” (“Women’s Fate”) in the camps.
ORF III Kultur und Information, “ORF III Spezial”, Sunday, May 8th, from 3. 25 pm.