Day of liberation

Subject free concert

On the occasion of the 75th return of liberation from the National Socialist regime of terror, the Mauthausen Committee Austria (MKÖ) is organizing for the eighth time the Festival of Joy on May 8, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. at Vienna's Heldenplatz. The Wiener Symphoniker will again conduct a free open-air concert in 2020 under the direction of conductor Alexander Liebreich and soprano Julia Lezhneva. On May 8, however, the liberation from National Socialist rule is not only celebrated. It also commemorates the millions who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis. On this day, the victims and the opponents are to be honored at the symbolic Vienna Heroes' Square, and the liberators are celebrated.

In 2020, the Festival of Joy will be devoted to the focus on "Humanity without borders". The festival begins with the greeting of MKÖ chairman Willi Mernyi and the words of Federal President Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen.
The highlight of the ceremony will be the speech by contemporary witness Erika Kosnar.

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