Festival of Joy 2023

View of concert

8 May 2023 was the 78th anniversary of the unconditional surrender of the German Wehrmacht. On this day, already for the eleventh time, Mauthausen Committee Austria (MKÖ) is organised the Festival of Joy to commemorate the victims and to celebrate the liberation from the NS reign of terror. The 2023 Festival of Joy took place on 8 May 2023 at 7:30 pm at Vienna Heldenplatz. Once again this year, the Festival of Joy was streamed internationally and with English subtitles on the online platforms of Mauthausen Committee Austria and broadcasted throughout Austria by ORF III. In 2023, the theme of the Festival of Joy was "Civil Courage".

A speech by contemporary witness Anna Hackl was the highlight of this year's Festival of Joy. In the Nazi era, Anna Hackl and her family saved two people’s lives at great danger to themselves during the "Mühlviertler Manhunt"; they hid two prisoners of the concentration camp at their home. To this day, Anna Hackl practises civil courage.

As the musical programme for 2022 with Konstantin Wecker, was postponed to 2023, there was an international musical programme for the first time in 2023. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Konstantin Wecker as well as Mark Mast played at this year’s Festival of Joy. Once again this year, actress Katharina Stemberger moderated the Festival of Joy, which concluded with a festive performance of "Ode to Joy" by Ludwig van Beethoven.

Anna Hackl

Portrait Contemporary witness Anna Hackl

A speech by contemporary witness Anna Hackl was the highlight of this year's Festival of Joy.

Anna Hackl, maiden name Anna Langthaler, was born in Schwertberg in Upper Austria in 1931. She and her family took in two Soviet soldiers that had escaped their imprisonment at the concentration camp and sheltered them at their home from the SS until the war ended. Risking their own lives, Anna Hackl’s family provided for Nikolai Zimkolo and Michail Rybtschin at their farm and thus saved the soldiers’ lives.

To this day, Anna Hackl practises civil courage and regularly visits schools and other educational institutions to talk about her experience, thus actively contributing to preserving the Nazis’ atrocities in collective memory. Her aim is to convey the significance of civil courage to young people and to encourage them to help when help is needed. For her and for her mother’s work, Anna Hackl received, among others, the human rights award of Upper Austria and the Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria.

Subject Festival of Joy Program 2023

Program 2023

Everything at a glance


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

Social Media Activities

There will be numerous social media activities again this year. Be part of these activities on the thematic focus 2023 "Civil Courage". Information on the Virtual Commemoration 2023

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

A large number of commemoration and liberation ceremonies will take place across Austria at sites of former concentration camps and at other sites of National Socialist terror in 2023.

Further memorial events