Festival of Joy 2024

View of concert

8 May 2024 marks the 79th anniversary of the unconditional surrender of the German Wehrmacht. On this day, the Mauthausen Committee Austria (MKÖ) organised the Festival of Joy for the twelfth time in memory of the victims and the joy of liberation from the Nazi reign of terror.

We were delighted that Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, as the highest representative of the Republic of Austria, was opening the Festival of Joy 2024.

The Festival of Joy 2024 took place on May 8, 2024 at 7:30 pm at Heldenplatz in Vienna. This year's Festival of Joy was once again be streamed internationally and with English subtitles on the online platforms of the Mauthausen Committee Austria and broadcast throughout Austria by ORF. In 2024, the Festival of Joy was dedicated to the thematic focus "Law and Justice in National Socialism".

The highlight of the Festival of Joy was be the speech by contemporary witness Rosa Schneeberger.

Ensembles of the Wiener Symphoniker enriched the Festival of Joy 2024 with music. Actress Katharina Stemberger once again accompanied the Festival of Joy, which came to a festive conclusion with Ludwig van Beethoven's "Ode to Joy".

Rosa Schneeberger

Portrait Contemporary witness Rosa Schneeberger

The highlight of the Festival of Joy was the speech by contemporary witness Rosa Schneeberger. The daughter of Katharina and Robert Schneeberger was born in Vienna in 1936 and lived with her family in Vienna-Floridsdorf.

In 1941, at the age of just five, she was arrested together with her siblings and her mother as a Sintizza and deported to the Lackenbach camp. She was imprisoned for four years in the Lackenbach camp, inhumanely referred to as a "gypsy detention camp", until the Lackenbach camp was liberated by Soviet troops in 1945.

Rosa Schneeberger's father was deported to the Dachau and later Buchenwald concentration camps in 1939 and finally to the Mauthausen concentration camp in 1941, where he was seriously injured during forced labor in a quarry and taken via Vienna to Lackenbach, where he saw his family again. As a musician, he had to play there to entertain the guards.

Rosa Schneeberger's youngest brother Robert was born in the Lackenbach camp. Despite the unimaginable conditions, the family survived. From then on, the Schneeberger family lived in Vienna until Rosa Schneeberger and her husband moved to Carinthia, where she still lives today in the town of Villach.

For many years, Rosa Schneeberger kept silent about the four years of her childhood that she spent in inhumane conditions in the Lackenbach camp. Only recently has she found the strength to tell her story as a contemporary witness. We are grateful that Rosa Schneeberger is breaking her silence in order to remind the younger generation in particular of the relevance of "never again".

Subject Festival of Joy Program 2024

Program 2024

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 2024 "Law and Justice in National Socialism". Information on Virtual Commemoration 2024

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 2024.

Further memorial events