Day of liberation

Subject virtual concert

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation from the National Socialist reign of terror, the Mauthausen Committee Austria (MKÖ) is organizing the Festival of Joy for the eighth time on May 8, 2020. Due to the official orders of the Federal Government regarding the Covid 19 pandemic, the Festival of Joy will take place virtually in memory of the victims and the joy about the liberation from the Nazi reign of terror.

On 8 May 1945 the German Wehrmacht capitulated and the Second World War ended in Europe. This year, the Festival of Joy is dedicated not only to the Day of Liberation, but also to "Humanity without Borders". The highlight of the virtual Festival of Joy is the speech of the contemporary witness Erika Kosnar. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra will also be represented with a contribution. Videos on the thematic focus "Humanity without Borders" of the messages of the liberator nations and many others will also be shown. The virtual celebration will be officially opened with a welcome by MKÖ chairman Willi Mernyi and the words of Federal President Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen.

This year, the Festival of Joy will be shown for the first time not at Heldenplatz, but in the live stream here and in the live broadcast on ORF III.

Erika Kosnar

Portrait Contemporary witness Erika Kosnar

The highlight of the ceremony will be the speech by contemporary witness Erika Kosnar. Erika Kosnar comes from a Viennese working-class family of Jewish faith. Her mother converted in 1931 to Judaism. From 1938, Erika had to suffer abuse, harassment and atrocities. Thanks in part to her mother's civil courage, she survived the Nazi terror in Vienna.

For decades, Erika Kosnar did not speak publicly about her experiences. She has been speaking at events since 2000, especially at schools. Even today she is well informed about the political situation and is committed to civil courage and humanity. Solidarity in the small everyday situations is also important to her. "Often only the first person has to dare," she says. "Well, something like that happened and that's something that I like to talk to the students about. I call it civil courage."

More about Erika Kosnar

Subject Festival of Joy Program 2020

Program 2020

Everything at a glance

Subject Wiener Symphoniker

Wiener Symphoniker

Cultural ambassador


Mauthausen Committee Austria

The Mauthausen Committee Austria (MKÖ) has organised the Festival of Joy since 2013 to celebrate the day of liberation.

More about the MKÖ


Visitor information

The concert begins at 7.30 PM and is planned to end at around 9.15 PM.

More infos for visitors

The 8 May

End of II World War

May 8th is the date of the unconditional capitulation of the German Wehrmacht and the official end of World War Two in Europe.

More about the day of liberation

Further dates

Other dates for your calendar

The Mauthausen Committee Austria – in cooperation with partners – will be organising more than 110 memorial and liberation events around 8th May.

Further memorial events