Fest der Freude
On 8 May 2019 at 7:30 p.m., Mauthausen Committee Austria (MKÖ) will host the Festival of Joy for the seventh time with a concert by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra on the Heldenplatz in Vienna. The festival commemorates the victims of the Nazi regime and the joy of the 74th anniversary of liberation from the Nazi reign of terror. In 2019, the Festival of Joy will be dedicated not only to the Day of Liberation but also to the main themes of Europe and human rights. The highlight of the ceremony will be an address by eyewitness and concentration camp survivor Shaul Spielmann.
The festival will start with a greeting by MKÖ Chairman Willi Mernyi and the words of Austrian President Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen.
The Wiener Symphoniker (Vienna Symphony Orchestra), in 2019 with Finnish conductor Eva Ollikainen and star violinist Pekka Kuusisto, will once again perform a free open-air concert. As in previous years, the Festival of Joy will conclude with the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which Conchita will sing together with the audience. Katharina Stemberger will moderate the event.
Statements by ambassadors of the liberating nations and by representatives from Europe, the Jewish Community, the organization “Gedenkdienst” [memorial service] and the Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance will open the Festival of Joy.
In the past six years, more than 58,000 visitors to the Festival of Joy have sent a strong message for the establishment of a worthy commemoration on 8 May as the Day of Liberation. ORF III (Austrian Broadcasting System) will broadcast the Festival of Joy live.