Day of liberation

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May 8, 2022 marks the 77th anniversary of the unconditional surrender of the German Wehrmacht and the end of World War II. On the occasion of the return of the liberation from the National Socialist reign of terror, the Mauthausen Committee Austria (MKÖ) organizes for the tenth time the Festival of Joy on May 8, 2022 at 7:30 pm. The victims and the resisters will be honored on May 8 at the symbolic Heldenplatz, the liberators celebrated. In 2022, the Festival of Joy is dedicated to the thematic focus "Political Resistance".

The highlight of the Festival of Joy will be the speech of the well-known contemporary witness Erika Freeman. The ceremony will begin with the words of Federal President Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen and the welcoming speech by MKÖ Chairman Willi Mernyi. Musically, the celebration of joy will feature contributions from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Lahav Shani and soprano Chen Reiss. The international music program with Konstantin Wecker will be postponed to 2023 due to illness.

On the thematic focus "Political Resistance", a short film will be shown with youth organizations, the Jewish Community, the Mauthausen Committee Austria, the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance and the Memorial Service Association. Before May 8, there will be a mediation offer on the Liberation Day, the history of Vienna's Heldenplatz and the Festival of Joy.

Erika Freeman

Portrait Contemporary witness Erika Freeman

A speech by contemporary witness Dr Erika Freeman will be the highlight of this year's Festival of Joy.

As an unaccompanied minor, Erika, a twelve-year-old Jewish girl from Vienna, had to flee from the Nazis’ terror regime to New York in March 1940. After graduating in psychology from Columbia University, she became a successful therapist in her new home country, and worked mainly with artists and other creatives; Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Woody Allen, and Liv Ullman as well as renowned writers are among her friends. To this day, she is in in regular contact with political icons such as Hillary Clinton. The agile 94-year-old regularly returns to her old home of Austria and fights tirelessly against oblivion, for women’s rights, and for Israel.

Subject Festival of Joy Program 2022

Program 2022

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 and send us your statement (photo and text) or video contribution regarding the Festival of Joy on the topic of "Political Resistance" to

More about the social media activites



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 80 memorial and liberation events around 8th May.

Further memorial events